Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets (2002)
Main cast: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart), Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall), Richard Harris (Albus Dumbledore), Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle), and Christian Coulson (Tom Marvolo Riddle)
Director: Chris Colombus

Spoilers are everywhere in this review. Don't read if you want to remain unspoiled.

Allow me to say this: Chris "Talentless Moron" Colombus and screenwriter Steven "Wonder Boys must have eaten all my brain cells" Kloves deserve to be tarred and chased out of LA. In a sewer of talentless hacks, these two manage to shine like stinky pus on a Miss Universe's face, and they single-handedly turned JK Rowling's book of same name into a perversion of humanity.

I'm not a Potter fanatic, and the day you see me shamelessly lusting over Emma Watson (shame on you, Ebert, you fat lech) or Daniel Radcliffe will be the day you see me happily committing myself into an asylum. But while watching this movie, I am outraged at the sheer amount of rubbish that appears on the screen.

For one, if I haven't read the book, I would have no idea what the heck is going on. This movie isn't a movie as much as it is an expensively filmed series of episodes from the book with little attempt to make sure that these scenes fit. Plot holes, big plot holes, are everywhere, and the final message is one insulting tribute to elitism.

The story, basically, is Harry Potter going back to school only to find that the school is being troubled by the opening of one "Chamber of Secrets". In the meantime, we have yet another tedious Quidditch match (it still doesn't make sense, the rules of that game) compounded by a sheer insane plot loophole and the appearence of the hugely irritating creature named Dobby "Die Dobby Die DIE DIE!", Jar Jar Binks' more irritating bitch. Harry saves the day, Dumbledore and the whole school practice open discrimination against the poor, poor Slytherins in favor of the overrated Harry Potter, and my IQ goes down to the pits after watching this very dumbed down piece of crap. To Colombus, his audience may as well be mentally handicapped creatures, judging from the effort he takes into making this movie.

Shall I start with the whole premise? No where in this movie is it explained why Potter's step-family wants him to not go to Hogwart school again. No, this is a badly done angle designed just to make the audience go "Aww! Sad!" at poor Harry, damn the logic behind the scene. If the Chamber of Secrets is so dangerous, why doesn't the school evacuate the kids? Wait, this is the same bunch of admins who (a) openly discriminates against the Slytherins, a quarter of their student population (no wonder the Slytherins turn evil, those poor poor kids) and (b) just watch as a rogue Quidditch ball almost kills Harry. Hogwart is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Then we have the plot. I know this show is about magic, but can anyone tell me how a fifty-foot serpentine basilik can travel around in pipes around the school and remained unnoticed? And why is it that Hermoine, this movie's favorite deus ex machina device, can discover secrets about the Chamber from the ever handy library when our esteemed teachers and professors fail to do so? And is Salazar Slytherin a pervert? The Chamber of Secrets is in the ladies' washroom, after all. Does he spend his time there enjoying the view? Or is the "Chamber of Secrets" a Freudian term to describe Harry Potter's fascination with the female genitalia?

And oh, the deus ex machina devices! Flying phoenixes from nowhere (unless we assume that Dumbledore keeps a close watch on Harry, even when he's bathing and sleeping and - eeeuw)! Hermoine knows everything! Serpent talk out of nowhere! Kids and teachers walking in like amateur stage extras on Harry on crucial moments (I can easily see Colombus frowning as he tries to figure out how to get out of his bed - gee, which leg should he place on the floor first, hmm?)! The magic blade from nowhere! Magic car from nowhere to save the day! Whee! Who cares about logic? Kiddies are stupid and they just want to see Harry Potter naked!

How about the amateur pandering to stupid fanboys and fangirls? Anyone cares that Hagrid practically sends Harry and Ron to their deaths at the hands of huge crazy spiders? Do we even know why everybody is giving Hagrid a standing ovation at the end, a scene not in the book but one clearly added it for some brainless happy moment?

There are so many insane loopholes that any decent script should try to address in this movie. I'm shocked that nobody cares to even try.

Add Richard Harris' dying away before my eyes on the screen and Maggie Smith's wide-eyed "WTF am I doing here?" look and I have a grade A plane wreck in my hands.

But the kids have improved. Radcliffe is still the weakest link, but at least now he has tampered down his blank stare look somewhat. Watson's diction has improved, and while Grint overuses his effectively plastic face for comic moments, he's still the true Harry Potter in my book. Tom Felton, however, should never try to do that horrible Snidely Whiplash crap ever again.

But what's the point? This movie is so badly written and badly directed that it takes nothing less than a divine miracle to make the underused cast's abilities shine. It is a good thing Colombus is out from further Harry Potter movies. At how shockingly bad this movie compares to the first one, I can only imagine the damage he will inflict on the third one.

Wait, I forgot Christian Coulson. Mmmm Tom Riddle. Now that's one hottie. He can be the snake in my bathroom anytime, not that you hear me say that. Where did they find this sexier, younger Ioan Gruffudd? Riddle me this, riddle me that, I will read Tom Riddle's diary anytime, I'll tell you that.

In the meantime, Chris Colombus should be banned from coming near a movie set ever again.

Rating: 06

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