Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Review

If you're going to steal a character from the Star Wars movies, why would you steal the annoying one that absolutely nobody liked?  Man, that Dobby was annoying just like that idiot, Jar Jar Binks.  And he really set the stage for me in this one. From the outset, it seemed kind of ridiculous.  It was as if they were saying, "hey, look at all the cool new magic things we've added to this."  I know it's based on a book so I cannot blame it solely on the film makers.  But I don't know how much of it is JK Rowling's fault because I have not read the books.  I can only critique it as a movie.  So, rather than just tell a story, they keep all of this other, superfluous stuff and wind up with a movie that is really about 40 minutes too long.

Once they finally get the story moving (which, after two movies, would appear to be a common thing with these), it moves pretty slowly.  But I could have handled the slower pace if it had made any sense.  For the most part, this story is really convoluted and confusing.  As a result, there are times when they seem to have painted themselves into a corner.  Then, there's a way too convenient fix for the problem (ie. Phoenix tears).

I have yet to understand why Christian groups got their nuts in a knot over these stories.  Yes, I will concede that the magic goes against most Christian beliefs.  But there's no underlying attack on Christianity or religion that I can detect yet.  Maybe as the movies go on, I might piece some of that together if it exists.  But, if it isn't there, I won't try to force an analogy.  The religious groups need to start realizing that not everything is an allegory.  Sometimes this stuff is just a story.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I'd actually be more concerned about some of the action and story points being aimed at kids.  These stories seem to be pretty dark.  It's not the magic theme.  It's the giant talking spiders and evil snakes, etc.  In fact, I am finding that I will forget I'm watching a "kids" movie until Dumbledoor says something like "all exams are cancelled."  Then I just roll my eyes and try to remind myself that, when I was 12, I enjoyed things like the Hardy Boys and the Judo Yell (look it up) and thought they were mature reading.

I will say this though: the kids all grew as actors from the first one.  The effects were much better too.  It seemed like they took a bit more time and effort to make everything seem much more realistic.  But that is all overshadowed by, not a weak story, but a very poorly told one.

Finally, I just have to say that JK Rowling should have researched more what would make a good sport.  Quidditch makes absolutely no sense and, in the movies, it is just an excuse to have the kids fly around on brooms and flex the film maker's CGI muscles.  It's chaotic to the point of Aussie Rules Football.

If you want to follow the whole Harry Potter saga, you'll have to see it.  But, if you just want a decent fantasy movie, don't see it.  There's other fantasy movies out there that are better.  And I have to assume that, out of six more to go, there will be better ones in this series.