I don’t like this movie very much. I used to think it was better than Sorcerer’s Stone, and in some ways it is (a better story at the base), but all in all, it’s a lot worse, too.
To be entirely fair, Radcliffe deserves a few props here for interacting fairly successfully with Dobby the CGI-effect. Dobby also is about five-hundred less times annoying than Jar-Jar Binks, which makes him still fairly annoying, but at least tolerable for the few appearances he has. This movie made me a serious non-Ron fan for the longest time, due to the 100 goofy faces, thanks to Rupert Grint (who has gotten progressively better with each movie, thank you, Goblet of Fire). There is more to acting than goofy expressions, I am sure of it.
Things I enjoyed: the Weasleys, especially the Burrow, Lucius Malfoy (only at Flourish and Blotts), the effects of the Cornish pixies, the Quidditch was better.
About the Parseltongue – I was expecting something a lot more menacing. This is minor, I know.
Dear Warner Bros,
Can we fix how goofy Parseltongue sounds in time for book six? For that matter, can you ask Kloves to leave it in the movie? I can see where he might feel compelled to leave it out, and it’s properly needed there.
Please and thank you.
Going to the movie anyway,
Aragog wasn’t sufficiently creepy enough. The basilisk was just fine.
Also improved in acting is Emma Watson, although she had to be put out of action at the end (not that Ron was much help, malfunctioning wand aside). JK Rowling has a tendency to take turns with the ‘main sidekick’ role, and Hermione drew the short straw on Chamber of Secrets. She gets her turn in Azkaban.
The kids are given a small break (but not much) by allowing others to appear as Harry’s world expands in scope. Lucius Malfoy and Professor Lockhart come to mind. Chris Coulson did an excellent turn as Tom Riddle, and I hope they ask him back for Half-Blood Prince.
This movie is sugary, bright, and sweet, and way too much so for this book. The story however is darker and parts of that come through, and I like when it does, but it could (and should) have gone further. I do realize the first two movies were designed as kid movies, and try to forget that the adults with them might want something with a bit of depth. Of course it took all the way to book six to realize just what book two was really up to, and I almost wish they would have waited to make the movies after the series was done. In the future if some studio revisits the series, I can see a darker, deeper twist to this film.
By the way, Chamber of Secrets ties with Prisoner of Azkaban for the most mangled and worst ending ever, although I literally cringe more at Chamber of Secrets. Actually I cut it off right before the very end if I manage to remember in time. Chamber of Secrets’ ending takes the bowl of sugar you’re already sitting in and drops it inside a 5lb sugar bag, and it hurts the teeth to watch.
I must admit I feel bad smacking on the movies a bit, since they follow the book so closely, but I have to say where they do not, it is a genuine disaster in the making. Pick up the DVD, but don’t torture yourself with it unless you’re with something stronger than a butterbeer.