Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The Book:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1998, by J.K. Rowling.

I can't sugar-coat this at all; this one is my least favorite of the all the books and all the films. There are some good things about it, but I think in the novel, Dobby and Gilderoy Lockhart just take up too many pages. If you're going to write annoying characters, don't get carried away with them, because who wants to read about DOBBY AND LOCKHART?

That said, I think it's made quite clear early on, in this book, especially, that Harry is no ordinary wizard. I mean, yes, he's a bit dense about things, and seems to always make the wrong decisions, but most of the other wizards seem to have a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to other magical beings such as house elves, the Hogwart's ghosts, centaurs, goblins, etc. Harry seems to always take everyone at their word, and to extend the old golden rule, as it were. Good work, and good alliance-building for later, too! Isn't it Dobby that throws himself in front of Bellatrix's golden knife to save Harry in the last novel?

Some nice passages:

"When Filch wasn't guarding the scene of the crime, he was skulking red-eyed through the corridors, lunging out at unsuspecting students and trying to put them in detention for things like 'breathing loudly,' and 'looking happy.'"

"But Lockhart's disgusting cheeriness, his hints that he had always thought Hagrid was no good, his confidence that the whole business was not at an end, irritated Harry so much that he yearned to throw Gadding With Ghouls right into Lockhart's stupid face."

"The sides of the car were scratched and smeared with mud. Apparently it had taken to trundling around the forest on its own."

The Film:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 2002, directed by Chris Columbus.

161 minutes is way too long. What I said above about Dobby and Lockhart applies here, too. Cut every one of their scenes by at least half and this film is right back on track. They got it right by giving us more Weasleys, more Snape, and (hello, delicious) Lucius Malfoy. Wonderful, just wonderful. Dueling scene, good (close up on Snape when Harry reveals he's a parsel-mouth?!). The chamber scenes and Tom Riddle, good. Ron's contorted grimace all the time got a little tired, but still love him.

I debated going to the midnight showing of Deathly Hallows tonight but seriously cannot justify it, especially considering it'd probably be sold out, and it's a bit on the chilly side. I'm heading over to SLP tomorrow night. Anyone in?