Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChris Columbus
Produced byDavid Heyman
Screenplay bySteve Kloves
Based onHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J. K. Rowling
Starring
Music byJohn Williams
CinematographyRoger Pratt
Edited byPeter Honess
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures[2]
Release date
  • 3 November 2002 (2002-11-03) (Odeon Leicester Square)
  • 15 November 2002 (2002-11-15) (United Kingdom and United States)
Running time
161 minutes[3]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$100 million[2]
Box office$879.5 million[2]

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a 2002 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, based on J. K. Rowling's 1998 novel of the same name. Produced by David Heyman and written by Steve Kloves, it is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) and the second instalment in the Harry Potter film series. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, with Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. Its story follows Harry Potter's second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as the Heir of Salazar Slytherin opens the Chamber of Secrets, unleashing a monster that petrifies the school's denizens.

The cast of the first film returned for the sequel, with the additions of Kenneth Branagh, Jason Isaacs, and Gemma Jones, among others. It was the last film to feature Richard Harris as Professor Albus Dumbledore, due to his death that same year. Principal photography began in November 2001, only three days after the release of the first film. It was shot at Leavesden Film Studios and historic buildings around the United Kingdom, as well as on the Isle of Man. Filming concluded in July 2002.

Chamber of Secrets was released in theatres in the United Kingdom and the United States on 15 November 2002. The film became a critical and commercial success, grossing $879 million worldwide and becoming the second-highest-grossing film of 2002 behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It was nominated for many awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Production Design, Best Sound, and Best Special Visual Effects. It was followed by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004.

Plot[edit]

Harry Potter spends the summer with the Dursleys without receiving letters from his Hogwarts friends. In his room, Harry meets Dobby, a house-elf who warns him of a peril that will take shape if he returns to Hogwarts. Dobby reveals that he intercepted his friends' letters, and ruins an important dinner for the Dursleys, who lock Harry up and prevent his return to Hogwarts. Harry’s friend Ron Weasley and his older twin brothers, Fred and George, rescue him in their father's flying Ford Anglia.

While purchasing school supplies, Harry and the Weasley family encounter Rubeus Hagrid and Hermione Granger. They attend a book-signing by celebrity wizard Gilderoy Lockhart, who announces that he will be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. During a small confrontation with Draco Malfoy, Harry meets Malfoy's father, Lucius, who discreetly slips a book into Ginny Weasley's belongings, which only Harry notices, but he mentions this to no one. When Harry and Ron are blocked from entering Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at London King's Cross railway station, they fly to Hogwarts in the flying car. They crash into the Whomping Willow upon arrival, and Ron's wand is broken. Both boys narrowly avoid expulsion when Professor McGonagall gives them detention.

During the detention, Harry hears strange voices and later finds caretaker Argus Filch's cat, Mrs. Norris, petrified, along with a message written in blood announcing "the Chamber of Secrets has been opened, enemies of the heir... beware". McGonagall explains that one of Hogwarts' founders, Salazar Slytherin, supposedly constructed a secret Chamber. He placed a monster inside that only his Heir can control, capable of purging the school of muggle-born students. Harry and Ron suspect Malfoy as the Heir, so Hermione suggests they question him while disguised using the forbidden polyjuice potion. They utilise a disused bathroom haunted by a ghost, Moaning Myrtle, as their makeshift laboratory to brew the potion.

During a Quidditch game, Harry's arm is broken by a Bludger. He is then visited by Dobby in the infirmary, who tells Harry that he both closed the portal to Platform 9 3/4 and made the Bludger chase after Harry, in an attempt to get Harry to leave the school. When Harry communicates with a snake, the school believes he is the Heir. On Christmas Day, Harry and Ron learn that Malfoy is not the Heir, but Malfoy mentions his father told him that a muggle-born girl died when the Chamber was last opened fifty years ago. Harry finds an enchanted diary owned by former Hogwarts student Tom Riddle, which contains a flashback fifty years prior where Riddle accused Hagrid, then a student, of opening the Chamber. When the diary is stolen and Hermione is petrified, Harry and Ron question Hagrid. Professor Dumbledore, Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, and Lucius come to take Hagrid to Azkaban, but he discreetly tells the boys to "follow the spiders". In the Forbidden Forest, Harry and Ron meet Hagrid's giant pet spider, Aragog, who reveals Hagrid's innocence and provides them a small clue about the Chamber's monster.

A book page in Hermione's hand identifies the monster as a basilisk, a giant serpent that instantly kills those that make direct eye contact with it; the petrified victims only saw it indirectly. The school staff learn that Ginny was taken into the Chamber, and convince Lockhart to save her. Harry and Ron find Lockhart, who is exposed as a fraud, planning to flee; knowing Myrtle was the girl the Basilisk killed, they take him to the bathroom and find the Chamber's entrance. Once inside, Lockhart uses Ron's broken wand against them, but it backfires, wipes his memory, and causes a cave-in.

Harry enters the Chamber alone and finds Ginny unconscious, guarded by Riddle. Riddle reveals that he used the diary to manipulate Ginny and reopen the Chamber. When Riddle creates the anagram for his future new identity, "I am Lord Voldemort", Harry realises that Riddle himself is Slytherin's heir and Voldemort's true identity. After Harry expresses his loyalty to Dumbledore, Fawkes flies in with the Sorting Hat, causing Riddle to summon the Basilisk. Fawkes blinds the Basilisk, allowing Harry to look at it directly without being killed or petrified. The Sorting Hat eventually produces the Sword of Gryffindor, with which Harry battles and slays the Basilisk, though he is injured by one of its fangs.

Harry defeats Riddle and revives Ginny by stabbing the diary with the basilisk fang. Fawkes's tears heal him, and he returns to Hogwarts with his friends and a baffled Lockhart. Dumbledore praises them and orders Hagrid's release. Dumbledore shows Harry the sword he wielded was Godric Gryffindor's own sword, and says he is different from Voldemort because he chose Gryffindor instead of Slytherin. Harry accuses Lucius, Dobby's master, of planting the diary in Ginny's cauldron, and tricks him into freeing Dobby. The Basilisk's victims are healed, Hermione reunites with Harry and Ron, and Hagrid is released from Azkaban.

In a post-credits scene, Lockhart is seen in a straitjacket, having published a new book, titled Who Am I?

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Costume and set design[edit]

The flying Ford Anglia used in the film.

Production designer Stuart Craig returned for the sequel to design new elements previously not seen in the first film. He designed the Burrow based on Arthur Weasley's interest in Muggles, built vertically out of architectural salvage.[10] Mr. Weasley's flying car was created from a 1962 Ford Anglia 105E.[11] The Chamber of Secrets, measuring over 76 metres (249 ft) long and 36.5 metres (119.8 ft) wide, was the biggest set created for the saga.[12] Dumbledore's office, which houses the Sorting Hat and the Sword of Gryffindor, was also built for the film.[13]

Lindy Hemming was the costume designer for Chamber of Secrets. She retained many of the characters' already established appearances, and chose to focus on the new characters introduced in the sequel. Gilderoy Lockhart's wardrobe incorporated bright colours, in contrast with the "dark, muted or sombre colours" of the other characters. Branagh said, "We wanted to create a hybrid between a period dandy and someone who looked as if they could fit into Hogwarts."[14] Hemming also perfected Lucius Malfoy's costume. One of the original concepts was for him to wear a pinstripe suit, but was changed to furs and a snake head cane in order to remark his aristocrat quality and to reflect a "sense of the old."[14]

Casting[edit]

In June 2001, The Guardian reported that Hugh Grant was being considered to play Gilderoy Lockhart,[15] but left the role due to scheduling conflicts with Two Weeks Notice (2002), with Alan Cumming in consideration for the part.[6] In October 2001, Kenneth Branagh was set to play Lockhart.[5] In December 2001, Shirley Henderson was cast as Moaning Myrtle.[16] In January 2002, Jason Isaacs entered talks to play Lucius Malfoy,[17] and was confirmed for the role the following month.[16] In March 2002, several other actors were announced, including Christian Coulson as Tom Marvolo Riddle, Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley, and Gemma Jones as Madam Pomfrey.[9]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography for Chamber of Secrets began on 19 November 2001,[18] only three days after the wide release of the first film. Second-unit work had started three weeks before, primarily for the flying car scene.[19] Filming took place mainly at Leavesden Film Studios in Hertfordshire,[20][21][22] as well as on the Isle of Man.[23] King's Cross railway station was used as the filming location for Platform 9¾, though St Pancras International was used for the exterior shots.[24][25] Gloucester Cathedral was used as the setting for Hogwarts School,[26] along with Durham Cathedral,[27] Alnwick Castle,[28] Lacock Abbey,[29] and the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford.[30] The Burrow was built in Gypsy Lane, Abbots Langley, in front of Leavesden Studios.[22]

Roger Pratt was brought on as director of photography for Chamber of Secrets, in order to give the film "a darker and edgier feel" than its predecessor, which reflected "the growth of the characters and the story."[14] Director Chris Columbus opted to use handheld cameras to allow more freedom in movement,[31] which he considered "a departure for [him] as a filmmaker."[14] University of Cambridge linguistics professor Francis Nolan created Parseltongue, the language spoken by snakes in the film.[32] Principal photography wrapped in July 2002.[33][34]

Sound design[edit]

Due to the events that take place in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the film's sound effects were much more expansive than in the previous instalment. Sound designer and co-supervising sound editor Randy Thom returned for the sequel using Pro Tools to complete the job, which included initial conceptions done at Skywalker Sound in California and primary work done at Shepperton Studios in England.[35]

Thom wanted to give the Whomping Willow a voice, a deep growl for which he used is own voice slowed down, equalised and bass-boosted. For the mandrakes, he combined baby cries with female screams, in order to "make it just exotic enough so that you think, 'Hmm, I've never heard anything quite like that before.'"[35]

Thom described the basilisk as a challenge, "because it's a giant snake, but it's also like a dragon — not many snakes have teeth like that. He had to hiss, he had to roar and there were times at the end when he was in pain." He mixed his own voice, tiger roars, and horse and elephant vocalizations.[35]

Special and visual effects[edit]

Fawkes the Phoenix, Dobby, and Aragog at the Making of Harry Potter tour in London.

Visual effects took nine months to make,[31] until 9 October 2002, when the film was finished.[36] Industrial Light & Magic, Mill Film, The Moving Picture Company (MPC), Cinesite and Framestore CFC handled the approximately 950 visual effect shots in the film.[37][38] Jim Mitchell and Nick Davis served as visual effects supervisors. They were in charge of creating the CG characters Dobby the House Elf, the Basilisk, and the Cornish pixies, among others.[37] Chas Jarrett from MPC served as CG supervisor, overseeing the approach of any shot that contains CG in the film.[39] With a crew of 70 people, the company produced 251 shots, 244 of which made it to the film, from September 2001 to October 2002.[40]

The visual effects team worked alongside creature effects supervisor Nick Dudman, who devised Fawkes (Harry Potter) the Phoenix, the Mandrakes, Aragog the Acromantula, and the first 25 feet (8 m) of the Basilisk.[37][41] According to Dudman, "Aragog represented a significant challenge to the Creature department." The giant spider stood 9 feet (3 m) tall with an 18 feet (5 m) foot leg span, each of which had to be controlled by a different team member. The whole creature weighed three quarters of a ton.[37] It took over 15 people to operate the animatronic Aragog on set.[42]

The Whomping Willow sequence required a combination of practical and visual effects. Special effects supervisor John Richardson and his team created mechanically operated branches to hit the flying car.[43] A 1:3 scale set was built on stage at Shepperton Studios, which featured the fully-sized top third of the tree with a forced perspective to appear a height of over 100 feet (30 m) high. The courtyard and the tree were built in 3D. Some shots ended up being entirely digital.[40][44] Jarret identified the rendering as "the biggest challenge" of the scene, because "there was just so much going on in [it] ... It was simply massive."[44]

Music[edit]

John Williams, who composed the previous film's score, returned to score Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Composing the film proved to be a difficult task, as Williams had just completed scoring Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Minority Report when work was to begin on Catch Me If You Can. Because of this, William Ross was brought in to arrange themes from the Philosopher's Stone into the new material that Williams was composing whenever he had the chance.[45] The soundtrack album was released on 12 November 2002.[46]

Distribution[edit]

Marketing[edit]

Footage for the film began appearing online in the summer of 2002, with a teaser trailer debuting in cinemas with the release of Scooby-Doo.[47] A video game based on the film was released in early November 2002 by Electronic Arts for several consoles, including GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox.[48] The film also continued the merchandising success set by its predecessor, with reports of shortages on Lego's Chamber of Secrets tie-ins.[49]

Home media[edit]

The film was originally released in the UK, US and Canada on 11 April 2003 on both VHS tape and in a two-disc special edition DVD digipack, which included extended and deleted scenes and interviews.[50] On 11 December 2007, the film's Blu-ray version was released.[51] An Ultimate Edition of the film was released on 8 December 2009, featuring new footage, TV spots, an extended version of the film with deleted scenes edited in, and a feature-length special Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 2: Characters.[52] The film's extended version has a running time of about 174 minutes, which has previously been shown during certain television airings.[53]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets held its world premiere at Odeon Leicester Square on 3 November 2002,[54] and was released in the United Kingdom and the United States on 15 November 2002.[55] The film broke multiple records upon its opening. In the US and Canada, the film opened to an $88.4 million opening weekend at 3,682 cinemas, the third-largest opening at the time, behind Spider-Man and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.[56] It was also No. 1 at the box office for two non-consecutive weekends.[57] In the United Kingdom, the film broke all opening records that were previously held by Philosopher's Stone. It made £18.9 million during its opening including previews and £10.9 million excluding previews. [58] It went on to make £54.8 million in the UK; at the time, the fifth-biggest tally of all time in the region.[59]

The film made a total of $879 million worldwide.[2][60] It was the second-highest-grossing film of 2002 worldwide behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,[61] and the fourth highest-grossing film in the US and Canada that year with $262 million behind Spider-Man, The Two Towers, and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.[62] However, it was the year's number one film outside of America, making $617 million compared to The Two Towers' $584.5 million.[63]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 83% based on 236 reviews, with an average rating of 7.21/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though perhaps more enchanting for younger audiences, Chamber of Secrets is nevertheless both darker and livelier than its predecessor, expanding and improving upon the first film's universe."[64] On Metacritic the film has a score of 63 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[65] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale. It is the highest-rated Harry Potter film at CinemaScore.[66]

Roger Ebert gave The Chamber of Secrets 4 out of 4 stars, especially praising the set design.[67] Entertainment Weekly commended the film for being better and darker than its predecessor: "And among the things this Harry Potter does very well indeed is deepen the darker, more frightening atmosphere for audiences. This is as it should be: Harry's story is supposed to get darker".[68] Richard Roeper praised Columbus' direction and the film's faithfulness to the book, saying: "Chris Columbus, the director, does a real wonderful job of being faithful to the story but also taking it into a cinematic era".[69] Variety said the film was excessively long, but praised it for being darker and more dramatic, saying that its confidence and intermittent flair to give it a life of its own apart from the books was something The Philosopher's Stone never achieved.[70] A. O. Scott from The New York Times said: "instead of feeling stirred you may feel battered and worn down, but not, in the end, too terribly disappointed".[7]

Peter Travers from Rolling Stone condemned the film for being over-long and too faithful to the book: "Once again, director Chris Columbus takes a hat-in-hand approach to Rowling that stifles creativity and allows the film to drag on for nearly three hours".[71] Kenneth Turan from the Los Angeles Times called the film a cliché which is "deja vu all over again, it's likely that whatever you thought of the first production – pro or con – you'll likely think of this one".[72]

Accolades[edit]

Chamber of Secrets was nominated for three BAFTA Awards: Best Production Design, Best Sound, and Best Special Visual Effects.[73] The film was also nominated for six Saturn Awards.[74] It received two nominations at the inaugural Visual Effects Society Awards.[75] The Broadcast Film Critics Association nominated it for Best Family Film, Best Composer,[76] and Best Digital Acting Performance (for Toby Jones).[77]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients Result Ref.
Amanda Awards August 22, 2003 Best Foreign Feature Film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Nominated [78]
Bogey Awards 2002 Bogey Award in Platinum Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Won [79]
British Academy Film Awards 23 February 2003 Best Production Design Stuart Craig Nominated [73]
Best Sound Randy Thom, Dennis Leonard, John Midgley, Ray Merrin, Graham Daniel and Rick Kline Nominated
Best Special Visual Effects Jim Mitchell, Nick Davis, John Richardson, Bill George and Nick Dudman Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award 17 January 2003 Best Family Film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Nominated [76]
Best Composer John Williams Nominated
Best Digital Acting Performance Toby Jones Nominated [77]
Broadcast Music Incorporated Film & TV Awards 14 May 2003 BMI Film Music Award John Williams Won [80]
Gold Derby Awards 2003 Visual Effects Jim Mitchell Nominated [81]
Golden Reel Awards 22 March 2003 Best Sound Editing – Foreign Film Randy Thom, Dennis Leonard, Derek Trigg, Martin Cantwell, Andy Kennedy, Colin Ritchie, Nick Lowe Nominated [82]
GoldSpirit Awards 2003 Best Recording Edition John Williams bronze [83]
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Theme bronze
Grammy Awards 8 February 2004 Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media John Williams Nominated [84]
Hugo Awards 28 August–1 September 2003 Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Nominated [85]
Japan Academy Film Prize 7 March 2003 Outstanding Foreign Language Film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Nominated [86]
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 12 April 2003 Favorite Movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Nominated [87]
London Film Critics Circle 12 February 2003 British Supporting Actor of the Year Kenneth Branagh Won [88]
MTV Movie Awards 31 May 2003 Best Virtual Performance Toby Jones Nominated [89]
Online Film Critics Society 6 January 2003 Best Visual Effects John Richardson Nominated [90]
Saturn Awards 18 May 2003 Best Fantasy Film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Nominated [74]
Best Performance by a Younger Actor Daniel Radcliffe Nominated
Best Direction Chris Columbus Nominated
Best Costume Lindy Hemming Nominated
Best Make-up Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight Nominated
Best Special Effects John Mitchell, Nick Davis, John Richardson, Bill George Nominated
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards 16 March 2003 Most Annoying Non-Human Character Dobby the House Elf Nominated [91]
Visual Effects Society 19 February 2003 Best Character Animation in a Live Action Motion Picture "Dobby's Face" – David Andrews, Steve Rawlins, Frank Gravatt, Douglas Smythe Nominated [75]
Best Compositing in a Motion Picture "Quidditch Match" – Dorne Huebler, Barbara Brennan, Jay Cooper, Kimberly Lashbrook Nominated

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