Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets–After You See It

                                                                                                                                          3:29 a.m.   12/7/8/04
I watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets tonight, and I realized one thing.  It is better to watch the Potter movies long after you’ve read the books so you don’t remember what the hell is going on.  Come on, Harry Potter fans!  Admit it.  You know it’s true.  Once you read one of those books, it’s ancient history.  At least, that’s the way it is for me.  You have to know that I’ve read thousands of mysteries, and I can recite the plot to eighty percent of them.  While I was watching HP & the COS, however, I remembered perhaps a fourth of what was happening.  I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and she could have cut that sucker by half.  I enjoy her writing, though I don’t think it’s brilliant, but she needs a stern editor.  Also, she needs to stop her books about ten pages sooner than she ever does, but that’s an essay for another time.

Back to HP & the COS.  I liked it better than the first movie.  I’m trying to decide why, and the best I can come up with is that I know the characters and vaguely remember the plot, which means I have a modicum of investment in the movie.  When I saw the first movie, I had never read the books so I didn’t really get what was happening on screen.  This movie confused me with its scene changes as well, but at least I knew enough of the background not to flounder too much.  It’s best to watch this movie without really thinking of anything much or else you come up with questions such as the one my friend asked when the message from the heir of Slytherin showed up in blood.  Whose blood is it?  Even when we find out who wrote the message, we never find out from where the blood comes.  As my friend asked, ‘Her menstrual blood?’  As the girl (Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley) is about nine, that’s pretty unlikely and grotesque besides.

Ok.  First of all, it must be said.  Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy is…well, dare I say it?  Oh, I dare.  He’s fucking hot.  I know that is so wrong in so many different ways, but I can’t help it.  With his white hair pulled back and those oddly light eyes, he looks like a seventeenth century vampire, and we all know how I love me some vampires.  I love the name Lucius as well, but that’s not the point.  The point is that I would watch this man just stand there and look haughty the whole time if that’s all he chose to do.  I know, it’s a kid’s movie, and I know he’s the right-hand man of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, but still.  He’s so fucking hot.  Let’s dwell on that a second before moving on.  Lucius Malfoy…hot.  The other thing I noticed is that he and Snape (Alan Rickman) make a matched set.  Salt and pepper.  Black and white.  Ebony and ivory.

Ok, I’m off Lucius Malfoy for now.  Oh, final word on him—bad, bad man.  Like his son, but much bigger.  By the way, am I the only one who thinks Draco looks like Spike’s child (Spike, from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series)?  I think Tom Felton has too many tics as Draco, but I suppose he’s suitably menacing.  He’s a bit too small to be seriously threatening, but I suppose that’s why he has his two henchmen with him wherever he goes.  I can’t wait to see him turn into a—oops.  Mustn’t give it away for those who have not read HP & the GOF yet.  I just find him distracting, and I wished he wouldn’t try so hard.  He needs to take a leaf from his father’s playbook and be ice-cold.  Hm.  I seem to be back to Lucius again.  So sorry about that. 

I wish there was more Quidditch, but I guess you’ve seen one match, you’ve seen them all.  Also, I know Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson )is supposed to be annoying, but really, does she need to be that annoying?  I wanted to slap her myself, which I guess is the point.  I find it interesting that she’s supposed to be a schoolgirl—albeit a dead one—and she’s nearly forty in real life.  Thanks, IMDB.com!  Love that website.  I also can’t help mourning the loss of Sir Richard Harris as Dumbledore.  He is Dumbledore.  I have a hard time imagining anyone else in the role and sadly, Sir Michael Gambon is just not up to the enormous task of filling Harris’s shoes.  Harris is regal, calm, all-knowing.  Gambon is impish, slightly daft, and not commanding in the least.  A moment of silence for Sir Richard.  I know he is in this movie, but I can’t help wishing he would be in the rest.

I love the three main characters, though truth to be told, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is my least favorite.  He is bland and really, not so heroic.  A friend of mine who has read the newest Potter book—book five which I’ve yet to read—says Harry makes her want to smack him in it because he has such attitude.  My response was, ‘Good.  It’s about time.’  With Ron (Rupert Grint) and his red-haired goofiness and brilliant Hermione (Emma Watson) by his side, Potter needs something other than the scar to make him stand out.  Oh, I know, he saves the school and all that, but that’s not enough in my mind.  Ron, who is my favorite, should have died in the first book during the chess game scene, but no way would J.K. kill him off that quickly.  In this book, Ginny should have died but no, she lives.  I wish the movie had managed to show the Percy (Chris Rankin)as prefect angel, but I understand why they didn’t.  There’s only so much they can show given the time constraints, and the Percy story is mere filler.  I call the movies the Cliff Notes for the books because they are really boiled down to their essences.  I think Chris Columbus did a great job with this movie, regardless of how much he got panned for it.

Oh!  I like Dobby (Toby Jones, voice).  The friend I watched the movie with says she likes Dobby, too.  We must be the only two people because he’s been compared to Jar-Jar Binks, which is completely unfair.  Not that I’ve actually seen Jar-Jar in action.  Besides the point.  When Dobby starts whomping on himself, well, it makes me howl.  I think it’s the funniest thing ever, and he has got to come back for HP & the GOF.  I’m not so sure how I feel about Winky, though, because she really annoyed the hell out of me.  Oh well, I guess I’ll have to wait for the next movie to see how they deal with her.  I just wanted to weigh in on the Dobby debate because he gets the thumbs up from me.

I love Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) and McGonagall (Dame Maggie Smith).  My only problem with the latter is that they don’t use her enough.  I know she’s not very prominent in the books, but I love Dame Maggie Smith.  She needs her role beefed up.  Oh, I almost forgot Kenneth Branagh, who is hysterical as Gilderoy Lockhart, a pompous author who steals other wizards’ stories of bravado as his own.  It is nice to see Branagh doing comedy as he tends to get bogged down in Drama (with a capital D) sometimes.  There could have been more of him as well, but that might have been too much.  The one thing I really appreciate about this movie is how seamless it is.  Scenes flow together—sometimes to their detriment—and the actors work well together. 

One negative is the monsters.  The huge spider and the even huger basilisk just aren’t very frightening.  I know this is a kid’s movie, but still.  I find myself laughing at the spiders and the basilisk than feeling any modicum of horror/terror/fright.  I realize I’m not the target audience, but Columbus could have ratcheted up the fright quotient.  The basilisk chasing Potter scene doesn’t do much for me, either, but that’s quibbling.  I like the phoenix, Fawkes, very much, and I hope to see more of him in the future.
Overall, this is a good movie.  It’s not great, and it won’t stick to you for long, but if you’re a Potter fan, then it’s a must for your Netflix Queue.  You’ll enjoy it while you watch it, even if you don’t remember a thing of it afterwards. 

                                                                                                                                          2:38 a.m.   12/17/18/04

One addendum.  After borrowing the DVD from aforementioned friend so I could obsessively watch Lucius Malfoy, I began to notice something disturbing.  Something seriously disturbing.  It’s about Snape.  Give me a second to compose myself before I reveal my dastardly secret.  Ahem.  Ok.  He, um, well, let’s just say he grew on me and leave it at that.  What?  I can’t leave it at that?  Ok, damn it.  He’s fucking hot, too.  There, you happy?  Yeah, I said it.  Oh, I know, that greasy hair and that dour expression.  I know he’s twenty-five years older than I.  I know that he’s a Slytherin and that he might or might not be a baddie.  I know that he has it in for Potter and has taken Malfoy Junior under his wing.  Who, by the way, gets on my nerves less.  I began to feel sorry for him because his father—the yummy Lucius—is so mean to him.  Also, I notice how he looks to Snape for approval, which Snape withholds from him.  It’s sad.

Anyway, back to Snape.  It is during the Dueling Club scene that I first notice how commanding Snape is.  I love his wardrobe—of course.  Mostly black with a few deep purples thrown in.  He should wear green and silver, however, to support his house.  When Snape stands there with his wand aloft and spells Lockhart, well, that’s when he had me.  In that moment, I fell for Snape, and I started watching his scenes obsessively as well.  How could I not notice how sexy he is?  I do not know, but now I’m going to borrow the other two movies from the same friend so I can watch him at work.  I’ve also put other Alan Rickman movies on my Netflix Queue, and I bought Dark Harbor at Half.com, unseen.  His performance as Snape is spot on, and I can’t believe I said a little Snape goes a long way.  Now, I think you can never have enough Snape, and I can’t wait to see if he is for or against Voldemort in the end.  I have a hunch he’ll die fighting Voldemort, but I’ll just have to wait and see.  At least I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Now I know why Snape hates Potter so much.  Poor Severus!

2 Responses to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets–After You See It

  1. Okay, gotta comment. Hot. Hot. Hot. You seem to have an amazing mental capacity to sit for 3 or 4 hours in front of this movie, or any of the HP movies, and actually notice characters other than Snape or Lucius. Sorry, but I was so focused on these two incredibly sexy, fabulously sexy men, that all I noticed of the other characters was that they were taking up precious screen time away from those two hot men. They were the only thing that got me through all of these HP movies, that I sat through with my sons.

    But to be perfectly honest, I thought that first I did in fact enjoy the films. Having read the books and seen the films with my sons, it was a family affair and I was excited sharing these tales with them. If not for them, I would not have made it through the books. I did enjoy the films, but in my case only because I had read the books and thus could understand and follow the films. But they were engrossing, the special effects were great, and they were pretty exciting.

    But let’s get back to the two hot men…..

  2. Well, considering that they don’t show up in the movie much at all, I had to do something with my time. I agree that the HP movies should be Alan and Jason all the time, but they are purportedly kids’ movies. I get more into this gripe when I review the fourth and fifth movies, but I know I am just spitting into the wind.