Movie Review Harry Potter and

Movie Review

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Kenneth Branagh, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Warwick Davis

Directed by: Chris Columbus

“Harry Potter must not come back to Hogwarts this year!”–Dobby the House Elf.

Of course, however, after the first movie became the second highest grossing film of all time behind that flick about the sinking boat, there was no question that we were going to return to Hogwarts again. Unlike the first movie, however, I did not read the novel before seeing the movie, and so perhaps this review is a little more biased toward looking at the movie as a film rather than an adaptation of a book. I probably will obtain and read the book at some point, however.

The basic milieu of Harry Potter is likely very well known to the readers of this Blog. To recap in the shortest space possible, Harry Potter, in the first film discovered he was the child of magical parents, and the first movie documents his adventures in the first year at a boarding school that provides a magical education, Hogwarts. In this second movie, there are immediate parallels with the first movie. Harry’s muggle parents try to precent him from going to school, there is a visit to Diagon Alley. The details of the second movie are different, of course, and there are a couple of interesting sequences before we even get to the school, including a look at a more seedy area of the famed Diagon Alley.

Once inside Hogwarts, which Harry has maintained time and again is his real home, things rapidly turn bad for our hero. A Quidditch game turns even more violent than usual, and Harry is the target of an apparently tampered blodger ball. Harry’s rival in the first movie, Draco Malfoy, gains in power, both in the presence and personage of his father, and the fact that he has joined his own House’s Quidditch team. He does seem to be Harry’s counterpart now, a true rival.

We get a couple of new Professors as well, a botanist with a specialty in Mandrake root by the name of Professor Sprout, and, more notably, Kenneth Branagh as the bombastic and undertalented Professor Lockhart. The visual gags in his office, in his classroom were amusing, as well.

The basic plot of the movie is a mystery…Where is the titular Chamber of Secrets, Who can open it? and What is inside it that is apparently petrifying people in the school? I do not want to divulge spoilers here, but needless to say, at a running total of 2 hours and 40 minutes, we have plenty of time in the movie to discover and solve these questions. The length of the movie is a factor in the first half…in the third act, the movie changes into very much an action film,and that does help dilute the running length. Its not that gratiuitous, the action sequences, although it does stand in marked contrast with the ultimate villain and his passivity in the final scenes, which I found rather strange even given his nature.

As far as the actors, Harry and his friends do well in their roles, as does their nemesis Draco. Of the older actors, the frailty of Richard Harris is evident. Maggie Smith is not given enough to do, and Alan Rickman seems bored with Professor Snape. I would have liked more contrast between Snape and the elder Malfoy, they seemed too similar for my taste.

Final rating: 3 and a half popcorn kernels out of five.

It’s Friday! What that means

It’s Friday!
What that means is I do not have to go to the salt mine tomorrow…and so in a fit of activity, I’ve decided to participate in this week’s WISH.
Game WISH #22
The typical party of PCs appears to be composed of equals. They may have Nodwickian henchlings or distant authority figures, but in most of the games I’ve played, the PCs are equal with respect to each other.
Is this generalization true for you as well? What other group dynamics have showed up in campaigns you have played? What other group dynamics might be workable? What isn’t workable, and why?
I admit freely to be of the Equals School. All other things being equal, I prefer to start players on an even footing, and I do try to take pains in Strange Bedfellows to narrow the gap, somewhat, when the most prolific players (contributions wise that is) threaten to throw their compatriots into extreme shadow.
I’ve played in games, though, where the power levels were more hierarchial. Karen Francis Groves THY KINGDOM COME, for instance, where I played Laertes, Crowin Prince of Rebma. He started off, and by the game end was, part of the newest crop of players, a definite couple of “ranks” below characters such as Lucifer and Erin and Sabre. The way I saw it was that they moved in bigger spheres, and had larger plans and ideas, than the smaller fry…which included my good friend Arref (as Kirwyd), and TGFKAB (playing an Angelica, Ceasarea). What we did counted, and our plans affected the game and story, sometimes strongly, but there was definitely a sense that the older and more established players had a bigger influence and impact in the game. The implication was that, given time and power, the newer players, too, would advance to that level someday. Laertes, for instance, started off as a relatively innocuous Trump Artist, and by the time the game ended, had been named Moire’s Heir, had his appearance altered, walked a Pattern (mind you, he was Rebman, not Amberite), and obtained a rather significant artifact of power.
So the egalitarian approach is not the only one…but the hierarchial one takes a lot of work. The players have to be given the chance to advance, and the players lower on the rungs must still count. I can’t say this highly enough. No one wants to play a character whose every plan is overwashed, overmatched and ignored in favor of the clash of the Titans.

Okay, this is now getting

Okay, this is now getting annoying. Unable to load template file, eh?
Popularity has its downside. I mean, Blogs are hitting the mainstream in a big way. Many of the news websites have Blogs, now (part of the motivation for me getting back into the game, so to speak–Blog envy.)

AND YES, I do intend

AND YES, I do intend to return to discussing things roleplaying related, etc. etc.
My imagination and such has taken a hit in the aftermath of the painful breakup with TGFKAB. I do not wish to dwell upon it, because frankly it would get dull for you and depressing for me. I am alone, and single and by myself, a strange in a strange land, in the city of Anaheim, California.
But I am still standing. I’m bloody, oh, yes, but I am not dead yet.
Stay tuned for more exciting entries (hopefully) in the days and weeks to come.
–Just what have I been reading lately?
–My ideas for games I might run at ACUS 2003 (assuming I can afford to go)
–Roleplaying ideas, and other things that come on my plate, too.
Until and if I get one of those comment things a la most other Blogs, please feel free to email me.
You didn’t think I’d be gone forever now, did you?

I’m back. Like Osama, or

I’m back.
Like Osama, or even Poindexter(!), I’ve resurfaced for air and returned. I also didn’t want to be delisted by Arref. 😀
Blogging from work, no less! Its not precisely legal…but work has been light in the shadow of Thanksgiving. Besides it does give me a chance to communicate again to all of you.
I’ve missed it. Much has changed, some for the good, not all of it however. Its like a Native American medicine bundle…good with the bad, and one cannot unmix the two.