Tags: Alan Rickman, BD-Live, Bonnie Wright, Bonus View, Christian Coulson, Daniel Radcliffe, Danielle Tabor, David Bradley, Devon Murray, Digital Copy, Emma Watson, Fiona Shaw, Gemma Jones, Harry Melling, Hugh Mitchell, J.K. Rowling, James Phelps, Jamie Waylett, Jason Isaacs, John Cleese, Josh Herdman, Julie Walters, Kenneth Branagh, Leslie Phillips, Maggie Smith, Mark Williams, Matthew Lewis, Miriam Margolyes, Oliver Phelps, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Robert Hardy, Rupert Grint, Sean Biggerstaff, Shirley Henderson, Toby Jones, Tom Felton, Warner, Warwick Davis
has an average rating of 7.2 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
are extensive and include collectibles
– 161 minutes
Disc 1 uses 39.1GB total.
Disc 2 uses 16.0GB total.
Overall Verdict – A Must-Own for Fans
— Review written by: Danielle Byington —
The Movie Itself was Directed by Chris Columbus who also directed the first of the film franchise, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone“, and of course other well-known films (“Home Alone“, and “Mrs. Doubtfire“). The film’s screenplay was written by Steve Kloves who has also written the screenplays of all of the other “Harry Potter” films, excluding “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix“; all of which are based on the novels written by J.K. Rowling.
The second year begins as the summer is drawing to an end, and we are shown Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) living through these dull days at the residence of his muggle Aunt and Uncle, Vernon (Richard Griffiths) and Petunia (Fiona Shaw). On this particular evening, Harry‘s Aunt and Uncle are having guests over, and are making every threat possible to their unwanted nephew in hopes of keeping him upstairs and quiet. Harry is very familiar with these situations at their home, and though he is very capable of simply lying upstairs making not a peep, a surprise visitor in his bedroom will prevent the silence from enduring. The magical creature, Dobby (voiced by Toby Jones), is a house elf who has come to diligently warn Harry Potter not to return to Hogwarts this year as danger is sure to find him there. However, as Harry does not understand thoroughly “why?”, the house elf keeps interrupting his own explanation by compulsively beating himself in the head, having been conditioned that his actions are “wrong”. All of the racket created by Dobby of course stirs the evening get-together downstairs, leading to a pudding-cake disaster atop one of the important guests.
Though even Harry himself is still confused about the house elf’s visit and warning, Uncle Vernon of course has no toleration for the events and the family takes further measures to isolate their nephew in his room, believing his “freaky friends” had something to do with the flying pudding-cake. The increased security is however merely laughable to the Weasley boys, who later arrive outside of Harry‘s window in their father’s enchanted flying car. Taking him away to their much more pleasant home, Harry spends the brief remainder of the summer here with his best friend Ron (Rupert Grint) until it is time to crossover onto platform nine and three-quarters to board the Hogwarts Express. As the other Weasley family members run through the wall at the train station to appear within the Hogwarts Express boarding area out of the eyes of muggles, each one breezes through, including Ginny (Bonnie Wright), the youngest of the siblings heading towards her first year at the school. However, when Harry and Ron attempt to crossover, it seems that the entrance has been magically sealed, leaving the boys trapped on the muggle-side, and separated from Ron‘s parents who could help. Beginning to panic, they think of one crazy last resource; they hop inside the flying car and plan to follow the Hogwarts Express to the school.
After the endured treachery of following the train through flying, and surviving the brutal branches of the Whomping Willow they mistakenly land in, the boys have arrived at Hogwarts. Despite the eventful beginning to the school year, classes proceed, and Harry finds that he is the beloved idol of first year student Colin Creevey (Hugh Mitchell), and is oddly the interest of the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, egotistical Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh). However, having kept in mind the warning given by Dobby, Harry‘s typical routines are interrupted by an ominous voice that it seems only he can hear. These events lead to students being found petrified in the halls, and threatening messages written in blood upon the walls intended to frighten those who are not pure-bloods. Now that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened, no one is exactly sure what or who is lurking within, and of course the strong friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione will act as what may be the only defense.
Overall, the second year of the characters’ ordeals at Hogwarts in the form of a movie from the book is mostly a bit campy when compared to the other film adaptions from the series. Possibly, the studio really pushed and impressed upon the production team these particular elements as they were putting perhaps too much focus on their young audience, though all age groups are self declared fans of the franchise, simply using their best marketing opinions to create a higher financial turn over. As the opinion always passes through when a film is based on such a popular book, “Was the movie as good as the book?”; the second “Harry Potter” film does convey its original written medium rather well, at least not leaving those who have not read the series lost in the dust, like perhaps the fourth film and on.
Something that must have been enjoyable from the filmmaker’s perspective when it came to making this second film is that the first “Harry Potter” movie had already established the basics of this other world, and Harry‘s general situation of having survived an attack from Voldemort. Being that the franchise was intending to shadow the published works of J.K. Rowling, this left room to not only convey the plots of each year at Hogwarts, but to bring a deeper development of the characters from the books to the big-screen. This also seems to be a highlighted theme within the accompanying supplements, as many reflect the cast’s opinions of the characters they portray, and a general analysis of both returning characters and new characters, and the roles they play in not only the second year, but the 7-year story as a whole. The actors’ dedication, as well as their manner of portraying the essence of these fictional characters as directed (in this film) by Christopher Columbus, certainly is a large part of what has created such a solid fan-base.
Regarding the story of the second year itself, looking at it as both the written format and on-screen adaptation, this was merely the beginning of the twists author J.K. Rowling would be presenting to “Harry Potter” fans. These are not just twists that merely effect the plot’s main idea for that respective year, but brilliant twists that you can look either backward or forward within the 7 years and see a ripple effect of each seemingly strategically placed detail, event, or bit of dialogue. Overall, when looking at “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” along side the other films of the series that exist so far (all but year seven), this piece of the story earns a “3.5 Star Rating“, being of course an important vessel of the story, but baring a slightly less appealing on-screen story than that of the other “Harry Potter” movies.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the VC-1 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte, dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The general look of the picture on this release consists of a great amount of clarity and definition, being just seven years of age, what the video quality has to offer here is definitely impressive. The color palette often reflects the applied filters, with an appropriate saturation and moderate vibrancy displayed in many subjects, such as the scenes at the train station, and the scenes of the Quidditch match, displaying the bold shades of each house’s respective colors. The majority of interior shots within Hogwarts are a bit more on the warm side, reflecting the intended golden glow of the candles. Looking back, it seems this use of a warm filter was seen more in the earlier “Harry Potter” films, specifically those directed by Christopher Columbus, almost like as the content got darker, so did the filters that were applied. Regardless, fleshtones of the actors are accurate, and the black level is very inky, as mostly seen in the black robes often adorn by the characters.
One primary reason this film feels so “campy” compared to the others is the CG and animatronics within the film. Obviously, the magical world of “Harry Potter was brought to life based on the descriptions loaned by J.K. Rowling‘s written works, and much additional creativity was applied to materialize these fictional characters and creatures. The green-screen work of the flying car, the Quidditch match, and the spastic movements of Dobby still look smooth and realistic in High Definition; notably the details put forth in the texture of the house elf’s skin and ragged attire have really paid off with its Hi-Def transfer. On the other hand, High Definition does show-off less smoothly blended work, such as the screaming Mandrakes when they are plucked from their soil by the students. Also something unique within this film is the black and white transition presented as Harry is sucked into the past and witnesses the events lived by Tom Riddle; definition and clarity within these black and white scenes is retained, however, as Harry himself remains in color in this time travel, the bold red of his sweater looks a little smeared in comparison to other scenes. With a certainly impressive Hi-Def transfer for a film with not merely a cast and bland set, but many elements like the many layers of CG applied, the video quality for this release does prove itself to be worth a “4.5 Star Rating“.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. As you may imagine with a production that had a lucrative budget, the sound design efforts you will experience on this release’s audio track are quite impressive. From the film’s beginning of scenes such as Dobby bashing himself on the head with a dresser drawer and lamp, which provides decent yet appropriate thuds from the front channels, to the first appearance of the flying car making its whooshes about the soundscape. Staple subjects of the “Harry Potter” world are done justice as well, such as the shifting staircases that lead to the dormitories, which make for a clear stone-moving-against-stone foley accompanied by a moderately heavy rumble from the subwoofer; also not to be forgotten, the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin is an impressive exhibit of what the audio track on this release is worth, with abundant swooshes from the players upon their brooms passing by bouncing about within the soundscape, along with the subwoofer thuds that convey the striking of the Beaters batting at the Bludgers. The subtle echoing effects of voices such as those of Moaning Myrtle and the Basilisk do present a nice reverb as well, mostly heard from the front channels, and occasionally popping up in the rear channels as the on-screen subjects may pass around. Overall, the audio quality for this release earns a definite “4.5 Star Rating” for a rather impressive use of the soundscape.
Bonus Materials are included on all three discs, including two Blu-ray discs, and one DVD. The supplements are presented in both High Definition, as well as Standard Definition, using Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
- Digital Copy of the film is included on a fourth (DVD-ROM) disc. This is compatible with both iTunes and Windows media portable devices, both Mac and PC. As always, these digital copies are only valid for one year after the release date, so this will expire on December 8th, 2010.
- BD-Live is included on this release which requires the user to be a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc Player for internet connectivity. Once connected, you’ll be able to get the latest trailers from the studio (in this case Universal) as well as share scenes with your friends, chat with “My Chat” or even record your own commentary track via BD-Live and Universal‘s Hi-Def website.
- Both the Theatrical & Extended Versions of the Film
- “In-Movie Experience With Director Christopher Columbus” (Included on the Theatrical Version) includes “Picture-In-Picture“, Storyboard Comparisons, and Still Galleries, all of which take an intensive look at the production of the film from many aspects, including green-screen work.
- “Creating the World of ‘Harry Potter‘, Part 2: Characters” (1080i, 1 hour, 20 minutes) discusses bringing the essence of the characters from the books to the big-screen.
- “‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets‘ Revealed” (SD, 13:02) examines new ideas the filmmaker had for the second round, new obstacles of film making, and bring the cast back together.
- “Screen Tests” (HD, 11:53) includes one screen test of Daniel Radcliffe, and one of the trio, Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.
- “Deleted Scenes” (HD, 17:02) contains a nice sum of 19 scenes.
- “Teaser Trailer” (SD, 2:06)
- “Theatrical Trailer” (HD, 2:11)
- “TV Spots” (SD, 9:01) includes 17 TV spots.
- “Game Preview” (2:30) includes 6 clips from the “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” video game.
- “Additional Scenes” (17:41) includes 19 scenes.
- “Lockhart’s Classroom” a supplement all about Professor Lockhart and how great he is, including a “Photo Gallery” (12 pictures), “Certificates” (37 seconds), and “Required Reading” (51 seconds).
- “Extra Credit” is a brief preview giving details to the variety of mini-games available on this disc when inserted in your PC’s DVD-ROM.
- “Behind Hogwarts” includes:
- “Activities” includes four interactive supplements:
- “Spellcaster Knowledge” is an interactive game that shows the viewer various clips from the film consisting of characters casting spells. The clip pauses before the spell’s effect takes action, and you must guess from a list of choices what the spell’s outcome is.
- Two Character Cards are included; the entire collection is obtainable through owning all 7 years of the “Harry Potter” Ultimate Editions.
- “Creating the Characters of ‘Harry Potter‘” is a 48-page hardcover book included with the release.
Disc 3 (DVD):
- —”Conversation With J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves” (16:12)
- —”Dumbledore’s Office” includes “Build a Scene“, and “Tour Dumbledore’s Office“, both of which are interactive supplements.
- —”Interviews With Students, Professors, and More” is content that allows you to select from either “Students” (8:47), or “Professors, & More” (10:40) to watch interviews with the cast individually as they discuss many aspects of their character.
- —”Gallery of Production Sketches” is an interactive feature allowing you to scroll past the walls within Hogwarts and select a sketch’s frame to view.
- —”The Chamber Challenge“
- —”The Forbidden Forest Challenge“
- —”Colin’s Darkroom“
- —”Tour Diagon Alley“
Physical Bonus Materials:
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.