Flashback Review: Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets

After Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone became a monster hit, Warner Bros. (WB for short) immediately commenced development of a sequel titled “The Chamber Of Secrets” based on the second book of the Harry Potter series. Before Youtube existed, many fans and movie goers purchased their tickets for the live action adaptation of Scooby-Doo in order to witness The Chamber Of Secrets’ trailer. I pity every single person seeing Scooby-Doo. I was one of the fans who had to see Scooby-Doo in order to get a peek at what’s yet to come in the Potterverse.

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets was released in 2002. (same year Richard Harris passed away from Hodgkins) It received positive reviews from critics and fans alike. Plus, it made a bunch of money at the box office.

Now that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindlewald is officially out in theaters worldwide, I would like to share my real thoughts on The Chamber Of Secrets.

The following review contains no SPOILERS. If you’ve never read the book or seen the film, feel free to look at my non-spoiler article.

Magical & Unmagical Aspects

Magical: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson & Rupert Grint reprise their role as The Trio & they all did a fantastic job for their respective performances.

Returning Cast Members from the first film such as Alan Rickman, (may he rest in peace) Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Tom Felton & Richard Harris, (god bless his soul) all did a great job for their respective performances. Mr. Rickman totally deserves Bonus Points for his unforgettable role as Snape.

Kenneth Branagh did a decent job for his performance as Gilderoy Lockhart.

Jason Isaacs makes an appearance as Draco’s dad Lucius. He did a great job for his performance.

Action Sequences kept me entertained. A duel scene to call out a spell, felt similar to Dragon Ball Z & Pokémon, a Quidditch match & a Climatic Battle.

Chris Columbus did an excellent job for directing his last Potter film.

John Williams orchestrated music for the film.

Cinematography felt decent without suffering from any camera issues.

Practical Effects were used to bring certain things to life such as Set Pieces, creatures and Hogwarts’ environmental locations.

The second movie has numerous pop culture references, in-jokes from 2002 and real-life subtexts. Here me out. Some of ’em are coincidental. Here’s the list.

  • Hermione paraphrases FDR’s “Fear Itself.”
  • If you have a keen eye, Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok, Leprechaun) can be seen wearing a green cloak. He resembles a human Yoda. He had to change his appearance in the third film as a conductor to prevent WB from getting their butts sued by George Lucas.
  • Dobby is the equivalent of Yoda & Gollum. What do they all have in common? They’re down to Earth C.G.I. characters who aren’t obnoxious as Jar Jar Binks.
  • Both Harry & Ron use a flying car. Speaking of flying, Men in Black II also used a flying car. Both Harry & Ron’s chemistry is similar to Jay & Kay. Attack of the Clones also had a flying car scene.
  • Lockhart’s blue creatures wrecking havoc reminded me of Stitch. You know the blue alien from Lilo & Stitch?
  • One of the blue creatures rides a skeleton like the nuclear bomb scene from “Dr. Strangelove.”
  • A character is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Wait a second! Tom Cruise’s character John Anderton, from Minority Report has the same arc as the former character.
  • A ghost girl named Myrtle is kinda similar to Samara from The Ring. You know, the latter ghost character is played by the same girl who voiced Stitch’s best friend Lilo? Don’t believe me? Look her up.
  • One character said Doc Brown’s catchphrase, “Great Scott!” I almost forgot, The Weasley’s car flies like The DeLorean. Somebody’s been watching Back To The Future.
  • Spiders are used as a plot device. Speaking of which, Spider-Man & Eight Legged Freaks both came out the same year as Chamber of Secrets. Spiders were a trend in 2002.
  • The Trio transform to infiltrate. Wait a tic! The Master of Disguise & The Hot Chick both have something to do with transforming. Adam Sandler must’ve visited a table read for The Chamber of Secrets by giving the writers some tips. The live action Scooby-Doo film also involved switching bodies.
  • Without giving too much away, a girl ends up like the victim from the Nolan Brothers’ Insomnia. Plus, a character is similar to Robin Williams in Insomnia. I would assume Christopher & Jonathan Nolan both did a bit of uncredited writing to craft a cohesive mystery thriller. Again, it’s coincidental.
  • Someone mentioned that Quidditch is in full lock down, sending the students back to their quarters. A possible reflection to The Patriot Act after 9/11. The Potter films were around during The War On Terror as they parallel real life events.
  • An epidemic at Hogwarts is kinda based on The 2001 Anthrax Scare.
  • A reptilian creature plays a huge role. Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course had a crocodile (counts as a reptile) playing a big role.
  • omeone conducts a potion using various ingredients into a cauldron. WB, would you care to explain the opening scene from The Powerpuff Girls Movie? By the way, Emma Watson is a fan of The Powerpuff Girls.
  • A spell is used to erase a person’s memory. Men in Black’s neuralizer in a nutshell.
  • A magical blade is the only way to battle a monster. Coincidentally, Kingdom Hearts featured a magical weapon to slay enemies and the video game was released in 2002.
  • A character quoted Hal 9000’s “I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Somebody’s been watching 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Harry fights a creature associated with the color green. Just like Spider-Man fighting Green Goblin and he has to rescue a certain redhead. It’s not Ron.

Dumbledore mentioned his pet bird can resurrect itself. The seventh book and last movie foreshadows an important element.

Dumbledore gives an eloquent speech about heritage, skill and choice. They serve as primary themes.

John Cleese has a small role as Headless Nick.

One scene surprisingly brought up a racist theme. Don’t worry, it’s not in the same level as any sitcom’s “Very Special Episode.” It was done subtlety.

A Plot Twist reveals who was responsible for opening The Chamber of Secrets.

The second movie has spy elements. To me, the first and second installments feel like spy movies. Speaking of which, spy movies were a trend in 2002. So, here’s a list.

  • The Sum of all Fears
  • Collateral Damage
  • Lilo and Stitch
  • Die Another Day
  • Bad Company
  • The Tuxedo
  • Clockstoppers
  • The Master of Disguise
  • Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
  • I Spy
  • Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
  • The Bourne Identity
  • xXx
  • Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

If you’ve read the book or seen the film, Ron has a phobia just like me. Relax, it’s not over-the-top as in Billy from The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy.

A post-credits scene reveals what happened to one of the characters.

Unmagical: C.G.I. has not aged pretty well. Look fellas, this was back when C.G.I. was slowly growing like an infant before reaching a stable age.

An optional con involving giant spiders. If you have a fear of spiders like I do, be prepared.

The Final Verdict: A-

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets is my second favorite Harry Potter entry while my all-time favorite is The Deathly Hallows. If you’re a fan of the series like me, I highly recommend it. The Potterverse was on a roll, until The Prisoner of Azkaban nearly destroyed the whole series.

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