Viewed – 27 December 2016 Blu-ray
Young student-wizard Harry Potter finds his imminent second term at Hogwarts overshadowed by the news that a horrible scheme is afoot, when an Elf tries to prevent him attending school. However despite the continued reluctance of his mean aunt and uncle, Harry is quickly rescued by best friend Ron Weasley. Yet upon arrival at Hogwarts a series of strange goings on revolving around a mysterious ‘chamber of secrets’ has everyone on edge and fearing an old evil has returned.
This second outing of the fantasy franchise finds Daniel Radcliffe and co settling into their roles with what appears to be a bit more confidence to their performances (with an improved Emma Watson). The who-dunnit plot is at first intriguing but plods along rather slowly, making unnecessary room for various disposable sequences. The plot here seems somewhat padded out, like the movie was struggling for material and tries to over-complicate a simple storyline just to extend the running time. Also compared to the sheer magical ‘wonder’ and energy of The Philosopher’s Stone, the budget here felt rolled back with some god-awful green-screen (Qwiditch) and considerably less flair to the cinematography. Also unlike the last movie this world is now established, so I was hoping for a gripping narrative, which despite best efforts, the movie failed to deliver, even ushering in some blatant deja-vu in the final act.
With that said we get a fun appearance from Kenneth Branagh and performances across the board are all decent (with a stand-out Rupert Grint as Ron). The opening flying car sequence, a brief wizard-off and a chase involving an army of spiders were good fun too. I like these characters and the world they inhabit, but for me this second instalment felt like a concept running out of ideas when it has only just begun. Here’s hoping what follows is an improvement or I may not make it all the way to the end!
Verdict: 2.5 /5
For what it’s worth, that one is usually considered the weakest of the series, both the book and the film.