003797Reviews & Counting
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
DVD disk
10.05.2004 By: Indiana Sev
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets order
Chris Columbus

Daniel Radcliffe
Rupert Grint
Emma Watson


star Printer-Friendly version
In the second installment of J.K. Rowling’s obscenely popular Harry Potter books, our hero is once again stirring shit up at Hogwarts, the secret wizard school that he attends. This time around, the kid is warned by a house elf (yes, a house elf!!) named Dobby (think Gollum from LOTR but retarded!) who warns Harry that his life is in danger.
Damn, this is one long movie! I’m a huge movie freak and don’t mind if a film goes on and on, in fact, I wouldn’t care if MAGNOLIA or FIGHT CLUB for example had another 2-3 hours tacked onto them respectively, but a kid’s fantasy/adventure movie shouldn’t go past the second hour unless it’s got Michael J. Fox and a crazy time-travellin’ car in it . Getting past the film’s two and a half hour length, this movie has a few positives including its good storytelling (for kids, mind you), its great villains (Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman) and goofy Ken Branagh, its very imaginative and flawless special effects (except for the Quidditch match sequence in which the effects are laughably bad) and let's not forget the fact that Harry Potter’s female friend Hermione finally bares all (sorry perverts, I’m kidding on that one). Also, you Harry Potheads out there will once again be serenaded by John Williams’ familiar theme and you film buffs will be treated with the late, great Dick Harris in one of his final film roles. But in the end, I can't heartily recommend this film to anyone over the age of 15 because the truth is that I felt very silly watching it.

I don’t care what anybody says about the “sacred” Harry Potter books and now the film versions of them, but they're for CHILDREN. Will adults enjoy it? Maybe, but I certainly don’t want to hang out with any adults that had a blast watching Harry Potter. I mean, it’s great to watch with your kids and it’s got many positives messages that it shoves down your throat, but it’s certainly not intellectually or emotionally fulfilling for any human being that’s graduated from high school. I can’t help it if I felt like a jackass watching it, but I did and it certainly didn’t help seeing the once brilliant John Cleese make a jerk of himself again in yet another unfunny cameo appearance. Also, this is one of those movies where all the bad people in it are so obviously vicious and evil-minded in front of everybody and yet nobody cares a damn about it; "hey, wake up this guy’s a dick, do something!" That’s so frustrating to see in a movie, and most of that boils down to lazy writing if you ask me (and I know you didn’t). Unless your bratty child has been pulling at your goddamn shirtsleeve all week, skip this sucker and read the boring book instead…it’ll take less time.
This is a 2-disc set so your little Jimmy or Suzie will wet themselves with glee.

Disc one has a two and half hour movie on it as well as cast and crew listings (yo, isn’t that what the end credits are for?), the theatrical trailer as well as a mini-preview called Year One at Hogwarts which is a basic re-cap of the first Harry Potter movie (HP AND THE SORCERER'S STONE). This is quite useful to the parent or boyfriend out there who was lucky enough to escape the viewing of the first Harry Potluck movie.

Disc two includes plenty of things to keep busy with. Let’s start off with the activities feature. These are four “games” your kids can play if their playstation2 or X-BOX gets stolen.

1.The Chamber Challenge: This game consists of you trying to get into this chamber by answering numerous questions which you can answer by choosing pictures. The dumb thing is that if you get an answer wrong, you keep getting chances ‘til you finally pick the right one. Um, Donkey Kong, it ain’t. Your tots might like it but guess what...I didn’t.

2.The Forbidden Forest: This was kind of strange. It’s sort of a 3D run through the dark forest featured in the film, with arrows popping up once in a while and asking you where to go. It’s quick and wild and I don’t know what happens at the end, because I exited to the next game before I could find out (I couldn’t ruin it for you anyway). This gets points for at least trying to be fun.

3. Colin’s Darkroom: A photoshop game in which you cut and paste different characters' pictures from the film and the DVD makes a sort of a collage for you. Boring and complicated even for a 20-something year old (*ahem*).

4. Tour Dragon Alley: Like it says, you travel through the alley in the movie and visit different characters and shops from the film. Kids will love it, adults or Indiana Sevs will not!

Next is a feature called Spellcaster Knowledge in which a scene from the film is shown and a spell is about to be cast. Before the spell occurs, they freeze frame it and provide you with multiple choice to decide what happens. Um, yeah, unless you’re a caveman it’s pretty easy to guess…YOU JUST SAW THE MOVIE! This isn’t fun, in’s insulting to kids.

Then we’re treated to Gilderoy Lockhart’s Classroom. This extra takes us to Kenny Branagh’s character’s classroom in which a British narrator cracks a few lousy jokes about the teacher’s certificates, books and takes us through a (ugh!) photo gallery of Gilderoy dressed in many different garbs. Yaaaawn.

Behind Hogwarts is probably the one feature adults might want to sneak a peak at before popping another DVD into their player.

It includes Conversations with J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves, a 16-minute sit-down interview with the famous author as well as the screenwriter of the film in which they discuss their relationship and how they worked together to get to the finished product. It was okay but the moderator was getting on my nerves near the end. Next you have Interview with Students, Professors and More in which you get to choose somebody from the film and they share their thoughts on many aspects of making the film; the set-up is kind of childish because you choose the question with your remote for each person and then they answer it after it loads. God, just play the whole interview already, does everything have to be a game on this DVD?

Dumbledore’s Office gives you the choice of seeing a behind-the-scenes "making of" feature that includes interviews from the filmmakers on the production design of the film, particularly the office. Another option has you guide your way by use of arrows through the man’s office (another game of sorts!). Finally, there is a gallery of production sketches, this is pretty self-explanatory and fun for you Harry Potsmokers, but not for anyone else I’m afraid.

Holy damn, there are 16 additional scenes that weren’t in the film as well and could you imagine if they were??? We’re talking a possible 4 hours of Harry Potter casting spells and shit. You genuine HP fans will surely enjoy these scenes although your friendly neighborhood reviewer thought there were 16 to 20 additional scenes too many to begin with in this film. Meh, to each his own.

Oh, in case you still want to spend more money on Harry paraphernalia, this DVD shamelessly has a game preview of the famous wizards video adventures. Mommy, I want the Harry Potter barf bag as well, pleeeeeaze!

There is also a DVD-ROM trailer that showcases the tons of stuff available to your toddler if he or she slips the disc into the computer. I have to admit, they didn’t skimp on the treats for these Potter maniacs. I would’ve checked it out on my PC except the memory on my hard drive is full of porn, oops...I meant porn.
The die-hard Potter followers won’t be disappointed by the two-punch movie/extras this DVD offers but any human being over the age of 16 will feel pretty silly watching this dud. There are plenty of films out there nowadays (SHREK) that offer entertainment for both the Mr. and Mrs. as well as junior, and our buddy Harry Potsmoker and his pals certainly do not. Skip it!
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