Released 11/16/01 Rated: PG
Who doesn’t love the Harry Potter series? Honestly. If you haven’t read the books, I recommend them. Even if you’ve only seen the films, read the books. There’s so much more involved in the stories than they can fit in the movies. That’s why they broke up the seventh book into two films. I’ll admit I’ve had some issues with some of them (the movies, not the books), but not the first two. These two films are just works of art. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (see why I shortened the title of the post?? :P) are almost exactly like the books they were adapted from. When I watch these movies I don’t feel as though I’ve missed anything in the novels. They really bring the story from the page to the screen. Chris Columbus, I applaud thee!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone introduces us to the “wonderful world of Harry Potter.” A secret world hidden from the rest of us muggles full of magic and wonder. The creatures roaming about this world, and the gadgets the wizards have are just crazy! And then there’s the school in a freakin’ castle! Moving staircases, ghosts roaming the halls, dungeons and towers, and portraits that move. Not to mention the classes: Potions, Flying, Transfiguration, and Defense Against the Dark Arts! I’d enroll in a heartbeat. The best part is it all looks real! None of the costumes, sets, props look like costumes, sets and props. OK, there’s some CGI here and there, but other than that it’s very convincing.
The cast of these movies is in a word: perfect. Our three young stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson have charmed their way into our hearts as the best friends they play. Richard Harris, may he rest in peace, was the only Dumbledore, in my opinion. Maggie Smith is the stern Prof. McGonagall and Alan Rickman is the surly Severus Snape; both of whom own their characters. Without this main cast, as well as all the others, I can’t imagine this series would be the same.
Even the music is perfect! Good ol’ John Williams knows how to create a score that identifies the main character. After all he is responsible for the familiar scores of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, as well as many more.
Released 11/15/02 Rated: PG
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets delves deeper into the wizarding world, introducing us to new characters and magical mayhem. It’s another year at Hogwarts, and it’s not such a hot start for Harry. This time the whole school’s alert, but they think Harry’s behind it all. A mysterious chamber has been unlocked, and the monster that lives there is loose on the school. The fact that no one has been able to locate the chamber of secrets has reduced the story to legend, until now.
More gadgets, creatures, spells, wizarding norms, and a sense of adventure that will have you on the edge of your seat. New characters you’ll love, and others you’ll love to hate. AND new information on a certain dark wizard who is not so easily forgotten.
Among our new characters we have Gilderoy Lockhart, who could not have been better. Our new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, and winner of Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Smile Award. Anyone else would have just not been the same. Also on our list is Lucias Malfoy, played by Jason Issacs; I absolutely love this character thanks to him! He’s just so elegantly evil. It’s great! Dobby the house elf makes his debut; unfortunately he won’t return until the seventh movie though. And we’re introduced to some more of the Weasley family. I just love the scenes at the Burrow. These guys really did a fantastic job of making this story a reality.
I don’t know what it is about this film that I love so much. Maybe it’s just that this movie contains so many new places and events, and yet it’s all in familiar surroundings that it feels as though we are actually going deeper in to this world. None of the other movies really feel like a true continuation like the second one does. Maybe it’s because everything changed with the new director and all. I don’t know.
You can definitely tell that a lot of effort went in to making Harry Potter come to life. Plenty of people working on the first movie were in constant contact with J.K. Rowling to help make it as true to her creation as possible. And it’s a good thing they had the right people working on it, too. It’s always disappointing when something as anticipated as this series doesn’t live up to audiences expectations. One thing I love about these two films is that in terms of plot and the audience’s introduction into this new world, nothing got pushed to the side. The plot was not dampened by setting up the world, and vice versa.
Great movies. Well worth the effort that was poured in to them. Love this series!! (And there is nothing in these movies or books that promotes actual witchcraft. It’s a piece of fiction, people. “Shouting ‘lumos’ at the light switch is not going to turn on the lights.”)