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HTF REVIEW: "Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets" (with screenshots)


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#1 of 74 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted March 27 2003 - 08:41 PM


 

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#2 of 74 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted March 27 2003 - 09:22 PM

Great review, Ron.

I thought the first film was great, and so I was very pleased when I saw CoS and liked it even more (though I expect I am in the minority here). Posted Image

Hopefully my cash flow will allow the immediate purchase of this disc, but with the Beatles Anthology and Ran: Masterworks Edition, I may have to wait a bit on Harry Potter. Posted Image

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#3 of 74 OFFLINE   Tony Stirling

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Posted March 27 2003 - 09:53 PM

Thanks for the review, Ron!

Brandon, I don't know that you are necessarily in the minority. I, too like CoS better than the first one. That said, I still have found both of the films... lacking something. I can't say what. Oh well. In any case, this DVD won't find it's way into my collection just yet--I'm afraid my April DVD budget will be taken up by certain Miyazaki DVDs...Posted Image Posted Image
Maybe in May...

Hope everyone enjoys this DVD, though. It's really nice to hear that we won't have to jump through hoops to see the deleted scenes, etc.

till later

tony
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#4 of 74 OFFLINE   David Lambert

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Posted March 27 2003 - 10:10 PM

Brandon, I expect you are less in the minority than you think. Well...maybe "here" at HTF, you may be right...but overall I think this film will be more appreciated. Here's why: From Ron's Review:
I'm the first one to say that movies should be taken at face value, and that if they are translated from a book that the fact of the book should be ignored. They are two different entities. But making that distinction becomes hard - VERY HARD - when the movie is just so darn faithful to the book as this one is. I discovered the Harry Potter books before they became a big fad, and re-read CoS right after seeing the film in theaters. As my memory told me, they cut out a few minor sidestories and compressed events a bit for time, but the heart and soul of that book was in the film. Period. Just like the first movie in this series. One of the supplements focuses on the author's involvement in the film: "In a Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves, we learn how the author and screenwriter came together to render the adventure from page to screen." You can tell that Ms. Rowling made sure that this film WAS The Chamber of Secrets. Now, Ron's comments about the darkness and scariness compared to the first film are also appropriate to the novels. CoS is darker/scarier than "Stone". The 3rd book, Prisoner of Azkaban, gets "worse" in that regard. And #4 involves several deaths, including one of a character that has become very well regarded by that time. Rowling pulls no punches in her stories that are really intended for young adults and older, and not so much for the 7- and 9- year old crowds you often see on the news. To her credit, she hasn't compromised her vision to "adjust" the stories to the kiddie crowd...Book #5 promises to be even darker than ever (it's certainly the longest of the stories!). The 2nd story sets the stage for things to come in later school years at Hogwarts...but at the time of it's release, fans were just hungry for more Harry, and devoured a more than passable story and thought it was brilliant at the time (I'll raise my hand and be included in that). I believe that, in the end, people will look back on the second STORY - book and film - and realize that Ron's right, and this it WAS overall a more "mundane" chapter in Harry's life. It won't be the story you'll be going back to re-read again and again. This film is probably going to be the same way... ...years down the road. For now, Harry fans discovering him via the movies - or fans of his book who just plain and simple want more of him on the screen - will eat this up and consider it brilliant as well. Rowling's done better than BOTH of the first two stories as time went on. The challenge that lies ahead is fitting those thicker-and-thicker books into a relatively short amount of running time for the screen. If anything ruins this film series, it will be that...not the aging of the kids or the changing of directors. In the meantime, as with the 2nd book, I expect the public will find the 2nd DVD to be quite satisfying enough for now.

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#5 of 74 OFFLINE   Joshua_Y

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Posted March 27 2003 - 10:27 PM

I liked the first one somewhat...it was a decent enough film...but I hated COS completely...I found it to be just really boring...nothing happens for 2 hours...thats just lazy movie making and I counted like 30 scenes that didnt need to be there...Columbus needs to get an editor...

#6 of 74 OFFLINE   James Reader

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Posted March 27 2003 - 10:29 PM

Ron, does the disc feature an audio descriptive soundtrack for the visually impaired? An audio descriptive version of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" was certified by the UK BBFC and I'm hoping it will appear on the disc like Moulin Rouge! (although it is possible this could be for a special limited audio descriptive release). I think audio descriptive soundtracks are a wonderful use of DVD technology, and I know a couple of people who would love for this to be included.
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#7 of 74 OFFLINE   James Reader

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Posted March 27 2003 - 10:32 PM

[quote] thats just lazy movie making and I counted like 30 scenes that didnt need to be there...Columbus needs to get an editor... [quote]

Well, some of those scenes could be included as JK Rowling's insistance. And knowing JK Rowling, perhaps some might have more relevance once later installments have been viewed.

I'm gutted the "de-gnoming" isn't included - either in the film or as a deleted scene. Posted Image
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#8 of 74 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted March 27 2003 - 11:30 PM

Thanks for the review, Ron. I'm glad to hear the transfer is better than Sorcerer's Stone.
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#9 of 74 OFFLINE   Adam_WM

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Posted March 28 2003 - 12:27 AM

[quote] Thanks for the review, Ron. I'm glad to hear the transfer is better than Sorcerer's Stone. [quote]

I was just going to type the same thing!!!!
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#10 of 74 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted March 28 2003 - 12:43 AM

I found COS to be a bit disappointing as well - Ill pick up the DVD though and give it a second look.

#11 of 74 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted March 28 2003 - 02:04 AM

Nice review Ron. I agree with your Film review of COS. I'll buy the dvd though. Liked it enough for that. Sometimes movies can grow on you. Here's hoping that this one will. Posted Image

#12 of 74 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted March 28 2003 - 02:36 AM

Just remember this book is a setup for the next 2. Here's to the new director continuing the no-blasphemy style Columbus has started (but hopefully with some more dynamic less syrupy filmmaking)

#13 of 74 OFFLINE   John_McKittrick

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Posted March 28 2003 - 03:44 AM

Having read all the books the order of preference so far to the series in order of preference is 4,2,3, and finally 1. I'm sorry but the first Harry Potter was far more boring that the second ever could be. And as the story continues with the 3rd and 4th year they just get better and better. I consider the first film to be nothing more than an introduction. The second film on the other hand translated the book perfectly. If you've read them you'll see that there can be no other way to make the film and not disappoint. I'm eagerly getting this DVD when it comes out. If you want to read a funny review check out DVDFILE's. John
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#14 of 74 OFFLINE   Eric F

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Posted March 28 2003 - 04:15 AM

This one should be widely available for $10 at the larger retailers. I can't wait.

#15 of 74 OFFLINE   Matthew_Millheiser

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Posted March 28 2003 - 04:49 AM

What a flip-flop in fantasy movies for me last year... 2001 -- LOVED Fellowship of the Ring, and I liked Sorceror's Stone (with reservations). 2002 -- LOVED Chamber of Serets, and I liked The Two Towers (with reservations). I'll be first in line to pick up this DVD (with reservations).
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#16 of 74 OFFLINE   Kenneth Cummings

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Posted March 28 2003 - 04:53 AM

While compare to the other three books, Chamber of the Secrets is the weakest. But that doesn't mean I like it. So I will get this good, but not great chapter of Harry's life when it comes out proudly. Thanks once again Ron.
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#17 of 74 OFFLINE   Stephen Orr

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Posted March 28 2003 - 05:14 AM

We liked the second more than the first, and since it's only $13.00 at Toys r Us, a bargain. (We paid a total of $50 for four of us to see it and get popcorn, drinks, etc. We gotta stop doing that!)

#18 of 74 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted March 28 2003 - 05:29 AM

I too prefered the film (and book) COS to the first. The book is a pretty classical Agatha Christie style mystery, and as with that author, I knew who the culprit was (sorta, I got Ginny but didn't figure out the Tom Riddle connection) but figuring out how it was done was half the fun of the novel. The film didn't caputre this aspect as well as it could have, but it was still an excellent and brilliant rendition of the book, Lockhart was phenomenal. I can't think of anything more to say except that I think Dave pretty much nailed it. There is a lot of stuff that happens here that sets up important things later, stuff in two or one that don't pay off until four or three, and later books will also proably have interesting connections to the earlier books that no one would have guessed would be as significant as they turn out to be
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Personally I can hold off on the DVD (my mom will get it for my little sisters so I can watch it when I'm home for summer break, but what is achingly far away is the release date for Order of the Phoenix. Personally I hope that they start principal photography on Goblet of Fire this fall or winter (after a break from when PoA photography wraps). If you think about it, they can only film about four hours a day anyway with the kids, figure another four hours of set up and prep before hand (which the director doesn't HAVE to be there for all of), and that still leaves quite a lot of time to supervise the ongoing post for POA. THis would also solve the problem of the children supposedly aging too fast (although I've yet to figure out how this works, they age a year in the book, and if you look at principal photography times those are pretty much exactly a year apart, but somehow they're aging toooooo fast according to Warner Bros. so they'll have to be replaced with new actors that Warners will only have to pay a fraction of salary to, a dirty deal, imo). Adam
 

#19 of 74 OFFLINE   Chris M

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Posted March 28 2003 - 05:53 AM

It's sad that there was no tribute to Richard Harris since he died shortly after the filming of this movie. And obviously won't be in the next movie. Chris.

#20 of 74 OFFLINE   Steve_Tk

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Posted March 28 2003 - 07:44 AM

I found that after repeated viewings and reading the first book, the first movie really grew on me. I expect the same will be with the second. I'll pick up and definately glad to hear about better PQ.




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