Monday, December 17, 2007

Greatest films in the World (13):Harry potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second fantasy adventure film in the popular Harry Potter films series, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The film was released on November 15, 2002 and was directed by returning director, Chris Columbus. The screenplay was adapted by returning screenwriter, Steven Kloves.
Most of the major cast and crew from Philosopher's Stone (also known as Sorcerer's Stone) returned for Chamber of Secrets, including child stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint and director Chris Columbus. However, it was the last appearance by Richard Harris as Dumbledore and currently the last Harry Potter film directed by Columbus. New key actors included Kenneth Branagh as Lockhart and Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy. It remains the only film in the franchise that has not been nominated for an Academy Award.The film was very well received at the box office making $879 million USD worldwide.
Story and Plot Point
The film opens with Harry Potter and his caged owl Hedwig staying with the Dursleys on summer break. An elf named Dobby appears in Harry’s room and warns Harry not to return to Hogwarts this fall because of terrible danger. Dobby’s disruptions result in Uncle Vernon locking Harry in his room until Harry is rescued by the Weasley brothers. Harry and Hedwig escape in the Weasleys’ flying car, and Harry finishes summer vacation at the Weasleys’ home, the Burrow. After buying their new schoolbooks, Harry and the Weasleys go to train station Platform 9 3/4, but the gateway closes on Ron and Harry before they can board the Hogwarts express. Harry and Ron use the flying car to get to Hogwarts, but the car breaks down and crashes into the sentient, angry willow tree on the school’s grounds.
New professor and celebrity wizard author Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh) now teaches at Hogwarts. Harry resumes quidditch practice with team Gryffindor. This year, Slytherin’s seeker is Harry’s rival Draco Malfoy, who sports a Nimbus 2001 broomstick. The ominous Chamber of Secrets (secretly located beneath the sink in the ladies’ restroom) has opened, and Professor McGonagall reveals to the students how Hogwarts' founder Salazar Slytherin built the chamber long ago. Salazar disliked muggles (non-wizard humans) and muggleborn wizards, and emerges as something of a racial supremacist. Salazar had sealed the chamber until his heir had returned to school. Professor McGonagall also reveals that the chamber is guarded by a monster.
Harry and Ron temporarily take on the form of Crabbe and Goyle to gain information from Draco Malfoy. Meanwhile, the same potion turns Hermione into a large cat, and she is unable to turn back. The inevitable Quidditch match between Slytherin and Gryffindor results in a Gryffindor victory after Harry captures the snitch , but is attacked by a rogue bludger that breaks his arm. The pompous Professor Lockhart tries to heal Harry's arm, but instead removes Harry’s arm bones. Harry's arm recovers quickly. Odd events occur: a Muggle-born student is petrified, and young Ginny Weasley starts losing her memory. Hagrid is arrested and sent to Azkaban prison for harboring Aragog, a giant spider mistakenly thought to be the Chamber monster, and Dumbledore is removed as headmaster in the wake of all the problems. A girls’ restroom ghost named Moaning Myrtle, an original victim of the Chamber of Secrets, provides Harry and Ron with Tom Marvolo Riddle’s talking diary. One evening, Harry and Ron are called to the hospital wing. Upon their arrival, they are directed to Hermione's bed, when they reach her, she is petrified, shocking Harry and Ron. With Hermione's petrification, leaving Ron and Harry feeling terrible for what occurred, she is unable to help the two boys. This leaves them both with the task themselves to solve the cause of events that are threatening to close Hogwarts, and have to ultimately save all those that have fallen victim to petrification. The massive spider Aragog aids Harry and Ron in learning that the chamber is guarded by a monstrous snake called a basilisk, which kills with its gaze. Harry and Ron learn that Professor Lockhart is not the great wizard he has appeared to be, and deceives people using a memory charm. After Ginny Weasley is taking into the Chamber of Secrets, with a message left on the wall that "her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever", Harry, Ron, and Lockhart enter the ladies room to rescue Ginny from the Chamber under the sink. Harry descends a long tunnel, and with aid from the Sorting Hat and Dumbledore’s Phoenix bird, Harry battles the Basilisk and Tom Marvolo Riddle. Riddle’s name is an anagram for “I am Lord Voldemort,” and Riddle is, in fact, the sixteen-year-old soul of Lord Voldemort, preserved in the diary. Harry kills the Basilisk with Godric Gryffindor's Sword and defeats Riddle by destroying the diary, rescuing Ginny in the process.The petrified students and Hermione are cured. Hagrid is freed from Azkaban, elf Dobby is freed from service to the Malfoys, and Dumbledore is restored as Hogwarts’ headmaster. The film ends with Hogwarts lit up from the Great Hall.
Box office performance
The film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets premiered in the UK on November 3, 2002 and in USA on November 14, 2002 before its widespread release on November 15, one year after the Philosopher's Stone film (November 16, 2001). The film broke multiple records upon its opening all over the world. In the U.S. the film opened to an $88.4 million opening weekend, third biggest all-tme at the time, behind only Spider-Man and its predecessor Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. In the United Kingdom the film broke all opening records that were previously held by The Philosopher's Stone. It made £18.9 million during its opening including previews and £10.9 million excluding previews, both extraordinary records.[ It went on to make £54.8 million in the U.K., the fifth biggest tally of all time at the time.
The film made a total of $879 million worldwide, which made it the fifth highest-grossing film ever at the time. It was the second highest grossing film of 2002 behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers worldwide. However, it was the number one film of the year at the non-American box office making about $617 million compared to The Two Towers' $584.5 million. To this day it remains as one of the highest grossing films of all time, at number 13.
On January 14, 2003, Chamber of Secrets won the award for "Best Live Action Family Film" in the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards. It was nominated for seven Saturn Awards including for "Best Director", "Best Fantasy Film" and "Best Performance by a Younger Actor" for Daniel Radcliffe. The film was nominated for four BAFTA Awards and a Grammy Award for John Williams' score. However, currently it is the only Harry Potter film that was not nominated for any Academy Awards.


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