Gypsy's Movie Review & Analysis

< >Spoiler Warning! Before reading this page, you may want to watch the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie first. Please return to the Chamber movie page if you do not want to read stuff about the film before you watch it.

< >This is most definitely a page of spoilers, discussing the finer and drearier aspects of the movie. I anaylize the prominent actors, both the children and the adults, and talk about their performances. If I sound like I don't like the movie, I apologize vehemently. I really enjoyed the movie, but that won't stop me from pulling it apart.

< >The actor analysis is in alphabetical order by last name.


David Bradley: Probably my favourite actor from Sorcerer's Stone - he was closest to his character next to Robbie Coltrane with Hagrid. Playing Argus Filch seems to suit this man and I love him to death. I disliked a seen where he takes a Hufflepuff student's line, "Caught red handed, Potter" and where he chants, "You're dead, you're dead," etceteras, because it seems too vindictive for a Hogwarts staff member to say these things. I still love him! And he cuddles his cat at the end and I think I could have burst out laughing, had I not worried the reporter Glenn Whipp, my mother, and the people around us would have looked at me strangely.

Kenneth Branagh: The funniest part of this movie, for sure. I was slightly perturbed to learn Kenneth would be playing the role of Gilderoy Lockhart, and I still think they could have picked someone younger. However, as soon as he appeared in his forget-me-not blue robes in Flourish and Blotts, I was hooked. He is incredibly amusing throughout the movie - I loved the picture he was signing while with Harry - and I loved him. Kenneth is just too funny and brings a bit of heart and comedy to the movie, which otherwise seriously lacked in humour (or was just dull with the jokes). Almost perfect-to-the-book lines that our favourite, most handsome Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher of the year has are great. Watching him shout, by the way, "It's just like magic!" and look totally mystified was hilarious.

Sean Biggerstaff: Really, he and Chris are just friends. Well, he had approximately the same amount of dialogue here as he had in Chamber of Secrets and I swear he looks odd in those Quidditch robes. His accent is less thick and you can understand him better, which is a plus. Hilarious guy if you ever visit his website, though, and I think he's cool (though I don't swoon). Last thing I'll say is that I felt extremely bad for him during the Quidditch match.

John Cleese: Very few words and thankfully not as annoying as last time. Granted, I like John Cleese a lot, but I was happy we didn't have to endure him much.

Robbie Coltrane: He wasn't as amusing this time - I'm still debating with myself whether or not this is a good thing - but we also don't see Hagrid much in this film. I noticed his bear was shorter at certain times, which I thought was weird. Props for once, though, to Steve Kloves: Robbie's lines are fairly close to the canon again. I really liked the scene in Hagrid's hut when Cornelius Fudge, Albus Dumbledore, and Lucius Malfoy come in and have a long discussion. I was disappointed yet again, however, because Hagrid doesn't shout. The man's a very emotional half-giant, for heaven's sake, but he barely snaps at anyone when he should be yelling. But go Robbie Coltrane - best man for the role!

Christian Coulson: The thing I really need to complain about is his hair. It's plastered to his head and is not even realistic looking for fifty years ago. I don't think Christian is the best choice they could have made for Tom Riddle - the boy they needed should have been lankier and a bit sharper in the features. Christian almost looks a bit too soft for the role. His lines were good, though I winced at his usage of them several times, but as I mentioned in my bit on Daniel, the scene between the Gryffindor and himself is excellent. It's forceful, almost word-for-word from the canon, and he has the nonchalance about him that makes up the young Lord Voldemort. And hey! I think someone realized they spelled Tom Riddle's name wrong on that plaque I've been ranting on and on about - it did not show up in the film and the words spelled out correctly when he wrote his name in the air. He also spoke almost directly out of the canon, which was nice.

Warwick Davis: No words at all. I saw him once, maybe twice, in the whole movie. I actually didn't remember he was there. That's a bit sad because I like Warwick, and it's too bad he didn't have much of a part.

Alfred Enoch: Dean Thomas with no role. I would say he wasn't there, had it not happened that I saw him credited.

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Fawkes: Another amazing work of graphics. He looks fake in a few parts, but there are several instances - especially when sitting before Daniel in the Chamber of Secrets - that he looks so real you feel as if he's a living, breathing bird.

Thomas Felton: The reporter, Mr. Glenn Whipp of the Los Angeles Daily News, who I attended the preview with, does not like Tom. At all. He was laughing at him most of the time and I at first thought he appreciated his performance (apparently not!). I won't tell you what he said. Anyway, my opinion of Tom? Iffy. The hair distracts me more than anything because it's so fake looking and again it's a production/costume problem. (Damn those adults who mess everything up.) Tom does a better job in Chamber of Secrets, however, and I liked his lines when he appears in the bookshop, although it should be noted that the scene where Draco and his father go into Borgin and Burkes after Harry roles out of the fireplace has been cut. He's vicious in the bookshop and plays his subtle role as a forcefully dutiful son to his father (played exceptionally well by Jason Isaacs). His lines in the slug and writing on the wall scenes are not very forceful, if not cheesy, but on the whole he did a good job. I liked his acting in the Slytherin common room; he stretches out on a couch with an arrogance that befits a Malfoy. Unfortunately, while he's an okay-looking actor for the role and is fair in the acting realm, the most important part of Draco Malfoy is his usual subtlety and Felton doesn't pull it off.

Scott Fern: A peculiar but excellent Marcus Flint. Thank all that is possible, though, that we didn't have very many shots of his mouth. My stomach still flips when I think of how ugly those teeth looked in Sorcerer's Stone.

Julian Glover: The voice of Aragog might as well be the voice of God. All right, I won't go that far, but I love this man's voice inflections, which were dark and odious and perfect. Outstanding choice on the filmmakers' parts for choosing Mr. Glover.

Richard Griffiths: Not what I would call an excellent Vernon Dursley, but it's fine for the movie. I loved the first part of the movie; it's much better than the beginning of Sorcerer's Stone. They even include a mention about the Japanese golfer joke! (I admit it, I let out a high-pitched giggle over that one.) Richard did a good job as Vernon and I applaud him, and the filmmakers, for putting so many details into his role and actions.

Rupert Grint: I'm incredibly disappointed with his performance. It's as if the director (Chris Colombus) wanted to make Rupert as amusing as he was last time and tried way too hard. Rupert was whiny - far above what book Ron Weasley will ever be - and not really that funny, although the comment about butterflies was amusing. The use of "bloody hell" at times was a blatant throwback to the first movie and was thrown in at awkward, inappropriate times. He was also too cowardly - granted, Ron does fear a lot of things, but I was surprised at point that Rupert didn't burst into tears and ask somebody for a hug. Despite the entire conversation leading up to and proceeding afterwards was boring and as unemotional as a frying pan, Rupert did a wonderful job with the slug scene and I shudder every time I think about it. My mother was squirming in her seat and eventually stopped watching; I don't believe I helped calm her stomach when I reminded her they were flavoured. Overall, Rupert didn't really have many lines that showed what a good child actor he can be: he looked extremely wimpy, crybaby-ish, and like I said, I was disappointed and I don't think it was his fault.

Richard Harris: On a strictly objective basis, I still don't think he did a good job, and I again believe it is because of the filmmakers. Richard Harris was always known as a rowdy guy and yet all through Sorcerer's Stone I felt he was just going to keel over and die on us. I know that sounds coarse, but it's true. Albus Dumbledore is an old man, yes, but he is also very active. The filmmakers had Mr. Harris moving very slowly, not speaking very clearly, and he almost seemed senile in a bad way; there was also very little humorous about Dumbledore in either movie. Mr. Harris' acting skill only shows up near the end and it also dissipates very quickly.

Shirley Henderson: An excellent Moaning Myrtle. She doesn't look what I think of Myrtle, but that doesn't matter. She sobs, she sprays water everywhere, and she is extremely and bitingly sarcastic. Shirley is not the girl playing the ghost - at least I don't think so, but I'm often wrong about these things - but I loved her most of the time and she even invites Daniel to share her toilet (insert, though, his odd smile I was talking about earlier). She would often go off, as if, "Oh, it's time for me to cry now," and this is just absolutely hilarious.

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Jason Isaacs: The only complaint I have is that his eyebrows are a shade too dark for his hair and complexion, and that whoever the person is who worked the cinematography in the last minutes of the scene in Dumbledore's office needs to be shot. (What in the world is up with those black shadows across his face?) Honestly, I thought I was going to be completely disappointed with Mr. Isaacs' acting of Lucius ("Loo-cie-us") Malfoy. How completely wrong I was! I loved Jason Isaacs in this movie. He scared the living daylights out of me, embodied the aura of evil and darkness and sick beauty that surrounds Lucius at every turn, and was so incredibly creepy I wanted to squeal in delight. Listen carefully to and watch the scenes in the hallway with Harry Potter and Dobby - his cane with the snakehead handle is especially cool and he begins to shout a curse. Isaacs is wickedly good in the Chamber of Secrets film, definitely illustrates the tension between father and son, and is so evil . . . oh my God, what really can I say? Jason Isaacs is the best damn actor in this movie. He speaks almost directly from the canon, has a wonderful mastery of tones and expressions, and truly I can't say enough about this man's part. I need to take a cold shower after simply thinking about Jason Isaacs' performance, which was, if it couldn't be inferred, superb.

Gemma Jones: Interesting and amusing choice for Madam Pomfrey. Some nitpickers - like me - will point out there was a different woman in Sorcerer's Stone playing Madam Pomfrey (who had no lines and was just walking around in the background) and that the infirmary is different. It doesn't really matter; I thought Gemma was good.

Toby Jones: To note, the CG projection of Dobby is astounding. He is so amazingly real-looking that you think you can reach out and touch him. The details on him are wonderful and just little things he does while he's talking are just great. Toby Jones' voice for Dobby is also fabulous, along with the interacting between his Dobby and Daniel. Great acting and a great voice over whenever the two are put together. Toby has a great handle on the house-elf and it's just a pleasure to listen to his voice become one with the creature. Dobby came to life!

Matthew Lewis: Am I mistaken when I heard Chris Columbus say our bumbling buddy playing Neville Longbottom would get more lines in this movie? I don't think I am - and what the director said is not true. Neville has a fainting spell and his only memorable lines are (and I'm paraphrasing), "Why does everything happen to me?" Again, I can't give a grade or say much.

Miriam Margolyes: Playing Professor Sprout, I think she did an excellent job. Miriam just sort of embodies the Head of Hufflepuff - at least I think so, since we of course don't know much about her. I imagine Sprout a bit skinnier than Miriam is, but I otherwise loved her role. 'Twas great.

Harry Melling: He was better this time as Dudley Dursley because he didn't speak all that much. I still can't get over the hair (and Fiona Shaw's hair): why in the world is it black? Blond, I say! BLOND!

Hugh Mitchell: Not my idea of Colin, but pulled it off pretty darn well. He was even breathless when he ran up to Harry at the house table in the Great Hall and I nearly squealed. It was hilarious, but the kid did look like he wanted to bounce up and down. Very good job.

Devon Murray: This kid cracks me up just looking at him, and I'm still debating whether or not this is a good thing. Again, very few lines, but I'll review him because I like him and I've seen other work of his (Angela's Ashes). Good kid actor and lines were perfect for the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom.

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Oliver and James Phelps: Barely any lines. I really missed them. They weren't featured at all during the Quidditch game that I could see and rarely spoke after they picked Harry up in the car - perhaps not at all. I can't even grade them on a performance, because there was none. Cut out!

Daniel Radcliffe: Still fairly boring, I'm afraid. His acting is better than his work in Sorcerer's Stone, but not by much. I watched him rather passively. Daniel again displays that cute but very odd smile at random times and he is unexciting for most of the movie. However, he does a great job from the moment he and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) step into Gilderoy Lockhart's office until Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) wakes up in the Chamber of Secrets. The glares, sharp tones, and other facial expressions Daniel brings forth in these scenes, whilst interacting with Christian Coulson (Tom Riddle), were very nice and it was his shining moment. I really enjoyed that scene and his dealings with the darker characters on the whole were good. The tension between Harry and Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) was chilling. While I still cringed during a few dialogues, Daniel was much better this time around.

Edward Randell: Justin Finch-Fletchley, if you were unaware. They did not introduce him and I was surprised to see him show up. As the unnamed character in the Great Hall, he shouts, "What are you playing at?" at Daniel then runs off. Only later is he flippantly referred to as Justin. Kind of an odd character, I didn't like him much.

Chris Rankin: Scared the crap out of me. Well, not really, but when they finally let him speak near the end of the movie, he was very forceful (though I would have preferred it if he had yelled rather than snap at Tom Felton). It was also hilarious to watch him in the Weasleys' house, but you have to keep your eyes pealed or you'll miss what I'm talking about. I like Chris - in the interviews with him that I've read, he seems very down to earth and extremely funny, and I think he brings out (to the extent he's allowed) Percy Weasley very well.

Alan Rickman: How can I express my anger well? I CAN'T! For crying out loud, the man is a wonderful actor and yet he has been shortchanged to a mediocre part and mostly ridiculous lines throughout both movies now! (I can't put my finger on it, but he also looks strange.) He barely spoke - even less than last time - and I want to cry and cower in a corner for a while at the injustices. I love Alan Rickman so much and he was completely not there in Chamber of Secrets. I don't even know what to say other than I hate the editors of the film. Why did you cut Severus Snape out of the movie, when he is such an intriguing and fabulous character, played by an intriguing and fabulous actor? The dueling scene is great, though; I will attest to that. Alan Rickman is very good in this scene and I don't believe for a minute that someone could say otherwise.

Fiona Shaw: I can't get over the hair, even though I like Fiona. Petunia Dursley is supposed to have blonde hair and I've yet to hear Chris Columbus' reasoning for making her (and Harry Melling's) hair black! Fiona does not have much to say this time around, but that's to be expected since she didn't talk much at all in the Chamber of Secrets book. But, she was wearing a pink cocktail dress and they go through the routine of where each family member will be when the Masons arrive, which was great.

Maggie Smith: We don't get to see her much - and yes, she's still wearing green. (Slytheirn colours, Maggie, stay back!) She does a good job for the small role she did have, though. The transfiguration scene where she explains the Chamber of Secrets is integrated reasonably well and is mildly amusing; I liked Rupert's cup. Maggie also pulls off the worry and tension McGonagall has after Ginny Weasley is taken in the Chamber of Secrets.

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Helen Stuart: She played Millicent Bulstrode and had no lines, but you'll see her and recognize her quite well. I was impressed at how closely she resembled my idea of Millicent.

Edward Tudor-Pole: Former front man of Tenpole Tudor, he plays Mr. Borgin, co-owner of the Knockturn Alley shop Borgin and Burkes. Blast it, he wasn't there! Daniel just walks out of the shop after being attacked by the hand and I am thoroughly angry about this!

Julie Walters: She didn't yell! I know she can, as evident of her brilliant work in Billy Elliot. Why don't these people yell, I mean seriously yell? There's no reason not to! Julie is cool as Mrs. Molly Weasley and her clothes are the strangest combinations of fabrics and stitching I've seen since seeing my mother's hippie quilts from the 1960's (not that this is a bad thing).

Emma Watson: I like Emma a lot, though I stand by my belief she is almost too pretty for the role, and her new hairstyle was weird. She had a few tearful moments that made her seem more like the Hermione we know and love, though the first time - and you'll see what I mean - is a little too dramatic for my tastes and certainly not in the books. Her first appearance in the movie is also strange - reminiscent of a scene in Sorcerer's Stone where Daniel gets the same dear-in-the-headlights look on his face and she smiles shyly. The movie also hints that she likes (as in "really really") both Harry and Ron, which annoyed the heck out of me. Generally, I enjoyed her performance, but I again think she was shortchanged for lines and given odd things to say, like last time. (Noticed a trend yet with the kids and lines? I'm not done yet!) It doesn't help that she's barely there this year, thanks to a temperamental basilisk. Emma is in all honesty one of the best child actors on the screen, but her time there is oftentimes a thing to wince at because of the things Steve Kloves (screenwriter) has done to her character. She does, though, share some very nice glares with Tom Felton and I think she, like Daniel, has also improved greatly since the last film.

Mark Williams: Not exactly a balding man, nor is he very thin, Mark is a strange Arthur Weasley. (He wears this god awful green hat for almost his entire time on screen.) He's amusing and defends his family in a way I think Mr. Weasley would, so that's a good thing. The thing I was mainly disappointed in was that Lucius and Arthur don't get into a row! I felt sort of empty without the fight!

Bonnie Wright: Her character was completely undeveloped and I literally forgot she was there. I have to roll my eyes, because she was very dramatic at the end, and it was very tedious - this is where I lost it again with Daniel Radcliffe. I have to say, though, it was a nice touch that she was wearing blue pajamas when she came down for breakfast the first morning Harry was at the Weasleys'.

-- Gypsy Silverleaf
November 5-9, 2002


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