on May 26, 2004
This movie is great-especially when you have read all the books and want more Harry Potter fun! Th cast is wonderful and Alan Rickman is awesome as Professor Snape. But the 2nd disk is difficult to use(that is why I gave this boxed set 4 stars). Once you get to the brick wall before Diagon alley you must find the combination so you can even see the "never before seen footage". I found help here from a review on Amazon so I could actually figure it out! Once you get to the deleted scenes they are fun to see-especially the extended sequence with professor Snape. This is what helped me:
Hit "Diagon Alley" and enter on your remote.
Next is finding the correct bricks.
left, up, up, enter
down, down, enter
Next you need to go to the bank.
Highlight the sign "Gringotts" and hit the down arrow key on the remote to highlight the key. You will need that for the bank.
Hit right and then enter on the remote. The vault is now open and you can exit.
Next you need school supplies. Highlight "Ollivanders" and enter. This is where you purchase your wand. Eventually you will get the wand upon trying each box. Once you find it, you can leave the store.
Go to the main menu and hit "classrooms" and from the next screen choose "Potions." Then highlight the mortar and pestle and hit enter.
There are three potions you will need to make when asked.
Sleeping Potion: Asphodel and Wormwood
Alternative Name for Aconite: Monkshood and Wolfsbane
Cure for a boil: Snake Fangs and Porcupine Quills
Next you need to get the right key for the door. This is the room with the flying keys. You need to hit:
right, up, up, right, enter
This will have you select the small key with the broken wing.
Next you have to choose the right potion from seven of them.
Choose the yellow bottle (right, right enter).
From that point, you will get to the mirror of Erised and the Sorcerer's Stone. Highlight the stone and hit enter. Now you can see the hidden clips! There are tons of other hidden things on this disc. You just have to play around with finding the items.
There is also another hidden part on Disc 1.
When you get to the main menu, hit right arrow on the remote to highlight the owl and enter. This gives you your own invitation to go to Hogwarts!
on May 22, 2004
About 6 months after purchase and on the third usage the DVD developed the noise which is evidently hitting a small, but significant fraction of these products. I wrote to Amazon hoping that they might have a longer warranty than the 3 months offered by a few manufacturers. I would have been comfortable if they didn't.
However there was no sympathy. Instead a form letter stating that the product could only be returned within a month, and indicating that the (defective) product could only be accepted if in perfect condition (!!!???) even within this month and also advice that I sell the (defective) product!
It was clear that the outsourced customer service couldn't parse my 3 sentences of simple English.
A second message to Amazon was clearly misunderstood with an insistence that I include the original order number (which is supposed to be optional) and which I included in the first letter thus making it possible for any supervisor using a half competent computer system to follow the chain of events (I'm logged into Amazon when I'm writing these things, there have to be links and easy searches!)
But they couldn't. And it's clear by the canned text added that the second letter was also misunderstood and I was subjected to more irrelevant paragraphs which referred to my problem in the vaguest of terms while promising fevered concern! Amazon has created a situation where they are going to lose customers. I hoped but did not expect Amazon to replace a DVD which distorted due to manufacturing flaws (it was properly cared for,) but after 2 letters I had failed to reach anyone who could even grasp the situation.
Thus I write here hoping it will be reviewed by someone who reads English and actually cares enough about the company to know they have a serious problem. This new system may reduce the number of settlements the company makes because customers give up in frustration. But those customers and their friends will not be back. We want someone who can read email.
As I stated earlier, the second book in the series has become my least favourite. Which should translate into my least favourite movie as well. But it doesn't. More on that later.
With Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets we are treated to our three favourite Hogwarts students coming back, or at least trying to come back. Which brings up the absolute best part of the movie, the introduction of the best house elf ever, Dobby.
Volumes could be spoken of Dobby. His character, what he represents, how he (and every house elf) applies the codes of servitude they labour under, and the true magical might his kind truly possess. J.K. always hinted and implied many things about this secret history and how it worked and came about. Due to obvious time limitations, we only get a small taste of this storyline and theme here. But every inclusion of Dobby in this film, whether slightly comedic with horrific undertones or showing bravery in the face of mortal danger, made him a favourite of mine. He is the loyal friend who inspires loyalty. We can all learn so much from Dobby. And the little guy packs quite a wallop.
Also this movie does a very good job of transferring Draco to the big screen. What started as vile jerkiness of in the first book became outright villainy of the worst kind in the second book. And Chamber follows suit. Hearing Draco's dripping racist diatribe and hoped for next victim is sickening, and Tom Felton who did not impress me much the first time around, really brings the nasty here. I really hated him. That's how good Felton is.
One moment towards the end struck me as odd. I am not against scary fights with giant monsters with much dangers, but for a movie designed to be for younger kids, the snake versus sword battle seemed to be pushing the age range here. Maybe this is my old man self talking, but this ending would have scared seven year old me into a week's worth of nightmares. Maybe it is just my dislike of snakes.
Chamber of Secrets is the last film in the series directed by Chris Columbus. His child like touch was required to launch these adventures of our favourite boy wizard, but as the story is about to turn a bit darker, different hands will take charge. And then the ride gets even more interesting.
on June 27, 2004
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" pulls off something that only "The Empire Strikes Back" has done. It's better than the first film! Not only is the story more interesting(though the first was tops as well), it's packed with even more wonder and imagination than the first as well. The castmembers of the first flick return, as well as Kenneth Branagh in a superb performance as Lockhart, the bumbling, vain writer of "Magical Me."
I'm sure the naysayers had a wonderful time bashing this sequel for its evil undertones. Students get "petrified" and the basilisk takes shots at Harry, but all in all, Harry prevails. He makes the right choices, does the good deeds and fights a good fight. How dare he promote such horrible values!
Please folks, I used up a lot of space harping on how kids need to have fun in my review of the first film. The same applies to this movie as well. Don't worry about your kid becoming a warlock or praying to Satan, just let them have a little fun. If you raise them right, you won't have to worry about any of that anyway.
The "Potter" books encourage kids to read and use their imagination. That's a good thing in my book. The movies encourage kids to use their imaginations as well.
You've just got to love something that promotes so many good things. We need more heroes like Harry. He's a good character to let your kids read about and watch on the big screen. He's caring to others, takes his studies reasonably serious(you might want to promote Hermione's study habits to your kids, though) and he always tries to do the right thing.
Overall this movie is fun and enjoyable for the whole family. Some of the scenes might scare the little ones, but this movie is worth explaining those scenes in order to get the message across.
Watch this one and have a ton of fun. It's great for everybody. Highly recommended.
on June 23, 2004
Although I think that the third installment is atleast twice as good as this one,if not more,and about four times as good as the original,I'd still have to say that when it all boils down to it,that they're all very,very amazing movie's,and they all deserve a five star rating if not more.So be smart,and just decide for yourself.I wouldn't be mad if someone thought the second one is better than the third.As long as they don't do something stupid,and give part three one star or something.Because I do like,and think that this one has a much deeper storyline than the first,and intern show's Harry in a more heroic light,and not to mention that the end of the film was very,very moving.I remember after I got done watching it,I thought that there is no possible way that J.K Rowling,and her amazing crew could ever top this movie.Than I saw the third installment,and was litterally blown away.I mean those kid's are better actor's than an awful lot of adult's that I've seen.Plus I was worried what with the new director it wasn't going to be as good.But to me it was a much more lush,and beautiful film altogether.With an amazing storyline!Where everything that happen's in the story for no reason at all comes back at the end of the film to have a very important purpose.I mean it must be EXTREMELY hard to write something that has that many twists,and at the very same time has a huge amount of depth,and imagination.I think that people should definately buy all the film's.Especially part three.But it would be a huge loss to cut out any from the series!So buy this one the Chamber of secret's,and you won't be disappointed!!!!
on June 23, 2004
Another year at Hogwarts, another round of trials, mis-steps, and tribulations for Harry at the hands of his various tormenters. This movie builds on the first to provide more insight into the school, its inhabitants, and the world of magic -- and dark intrigue -- that follows Harry into his unexpected world. But at the edges of what is still a fairly fluffy* movie, a real darkness is beginning to appear, a portent of the impending evil that destined to entangle Harry and his companions sooner than later.
The movie does take liberties with the book, but unless one is willing to sit through a 5-hour marathon, the trimming was required; the core and intent remain intact.
The Potter movies have become a replacement for the "continued next week" serial installments popular with kids in local theaters (not so) long ago.
Certainly there is same anticipation, even if you've read the books: will the hero win this round? How can we wait for the next installment?!
(*Cognoscenti may say "Fluffy" was not the best choice of descriptions.)
on May 29, 2004
J.K. Rowling has created an unprecedented worldwide phenomenon with her Harry Potter series; books that were written mainly for kids are loved by people of all ages. The only logical continuation was for the movie industry to follow suit and come out with the movies. At first, I was afraid that the films would not be even close to the quality shown in the novels, but the director Chris Columbus and the screenplay writer Steve Kloves have done an amazing job with the adaptation of the books so far. The movie shows a high degree of fidelity to the book and I am sure fans everywhere are extremely pleased with the output.
School's out and Harry is having a hard time making it through the summer since he has not received any messages from his friends, Ron and Hermoine. One day, when Uncle Vernon is getting ready for an important visit, Harry receives an unexpected visitor himself. A house elf called Dobby shows up and warns him about the dangers waiting for him at Hogwarts, and urges him to stay away from Harry's beloved school. Dobby has been trying to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts and continues to do so through several passages in the film.
After there are some problems with Uncle Vernon's important visitors, Harry ends up locked in his room and has to be rescued by his friend Ron and his twin brothers Fred and George, who pick him up in a very special transport. From then on, Harry embarks in his journey to Hogwarts, where he will have to face a myriad of dangers, will meet a new professor that has an ego problem, will reunite with his fellow students (friends and foes), and of course will participate in Quidditch, his favorite game.
The main danger Harry has to face is the opening of what is called the Chamber of Secrets. He continuously hears voices talking about death and murder that nobody else can hear, and when students and other creatures start appearing petrified in the corridors, the school becomes a dangerous place to be in and everyone is weary and distrustful.
The movie overall is great and everyone that has read and liked the book will have a good time with it. For those that have not read the novels, I recommend you do that before watching the films, since it is much better to picture the settings and characters in your head without having the input from the movie creators. The actors playing the Hogwarts students have improved considerably since the first episode, appearing more at ease and natural in their performances. It is a real shame that we will not have Richard Harris playing Dumbledore in the next installments of the series, since besides being a great actor, he was exactly as I had imagined the professor when reading the book. Nevertheless, I am really looking forward to "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"!
on May 27, 2004
Year Two at Hogwarts finds a perfect cast still intact, with even more cool characters joining in the fun! It seems that the chamber of secrets has been opened and something is loose! Danger and dread build up to an epic battle between good and an evil that just won't stay dead! I'm a huge monster fanatic and absolutely went ga-ga over the basalisk (titanic snake monster) and Aragog (titanic spider monster)! They would have been enough for me right there! HPATCOS is a feast for those who are starved for good stories that don't pander to kids or insult their intelligence. There's mystery, horror, adventure, humor, warmth, and the deepening bond between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). We also get to meet Dobby the house-elf and Lucius Malfoy (like father like son). Even the minor characters are interesting and help flesh out the story. I wish the HP books / movies had been around when I was a kid! Oh well, at least I can enjoy them with my son. Highly recommended...
on May 25, 2004
These people who give these movies 1 star must not have read the books. The books are fantastic. The movies are extremely fantastic. Chris Columbus ("Home Alone 1+2") is a great director. The special effects are amazing! They are way better than the first movie's. I only have one complaint or two:
1: WHERE'S PEEVES?!?!?!
2: They could've had Madame Pomfrey in for more of the movie.
The casting is superb. A complete cast list follows:
DANIEL RADCLIFFE as Harry
RUPERT GRINT as Ron
EMMA WATSON as Hermione
(the late) RICHARD HARRIS as Dumbledore
MAGGIE SMITH as McGonagall
ALAN RICKMAN as Snape
ROBBIE COLTRANE as Hagrid
KENNETH BRANAGH as Gilderoy Lockhart
RICHARD GRIFFITHS as Uncle Vernon
FIONA SHAW as Aunt Petunia
JASON ISAACS as Lucius Malfoy
MIRIAM MARGOYLES as Prof. Sprout
GEMMA JONES as Madame Pomfrey
DAVID BRADLEY as Filch
TOM FELTON as Draco Malfoy
JULIE WALTERS as Mrs. Weasley
MARK WILLIAMS as Mr. Weasley
TOBY JONES as Dobby
JOHN CLEESE as Nearly Headless Nick
JULIAN GLOVER as Aragog
Perfect casting. I'm sad that Richard Harris died. He was a great Dumbledore. Well, let's hope the new guy (Michael Gambon) is as good. I have a fitting sentence to end my review:
EAGARLY AWAITING "PRISONER OF AZKABAN"!!!!!!!!!!
on May 5, 2004
"Chamber of Secrets" is a worthy second installment in the film versions of J.K. Rowling's fantastic Harry Potter series. Building on the foundation so expertly laid in "Sorcerer's Stone," "Chamber" delves deeper into Harry's journey of discovery and danger.
"Chamber" opens with Harry back with his loathesome "family," the Dursleys, the most hilariously despicable collection of Muggles one could imagine. Frustrated by lack of any news from his friends from Hogwarts, Harry learns that Dobby the House Elf (a bizarre CGI creation second only to Peter Jackson's Gollum in execution) has been stealing Harry's letters in a vain attempt to keep Harry from returning to Hogwarts -- if Harry goes back for his second year, dire consequences await.
Not to be denied, following a daring escape, a spooky visit to Knockturn Alley, a near-collision with the Hogwarts Express, and a rude introduction to the Whomping Willow, Harry returns to the beloved grounds of Hogwarts. The new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, the vainglorious Gilderoy Lockhart, leaves much to be desired, but the good news is Harry is home.
But something is amiss . . . students are attacked and paralyzed, creepy graffiti mars the walls, the professors are spooked, and to top it off, Harry is hearing voices. Once again, Harry learns that his fate is intertwined with the sinister Lord Voldemort, murderer of his parents and foe to all that is good and true. Accompanied by his faithful friends, Ron and Hermione, Harry seeks out to discover just what is attacking the students, eventually discovering the hidden Chamber of Secrets.
"Chamber" is a more mature work than "Sorcerer's Stone." The special effects are better (the Quidditch match is amazing!), and the tale is much darker. Younger viewers are likely to be scared in several scenes, especially a horrifying encounter with monster spiders in the Dark Forest. But they will also be delighted by the introduction of new characters, including the aforementioned Dobby and Gilderoy, as well as Moaning Myrtle, Professor Sprout, and the sneering Mr. Malfoy. While you may wish that Professor Snape and everyone's favorite groundskeeper, Hagrid, had more screen time, the story is a delight.
The more militant Harry Potter fans may quibble about the slight changes from the book to the movie . . . but most of the changes are reasonable given the time limits involved. (These fans are likely to be even more frustrated as the series goes along, since the books get longer and it's doubtful anyone is going to make a four-hour Harry Potter film.)
All in all, a worthy adaptation of a great book.
The DVD is lots of fun, too, and is packed with deleted scenes, games, and behind-the-scenes features. The games may be a little amateurish for all but the youngest fans, but they are still a hoot.