Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Release date: Nov. 3, 2002

Based on: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998 novel by J. K. Rowling)

Directed by: Chris Columbus

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Kenneth Branagh, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith

Budget: $100 million

Box office: $879 million


Despite warnings, Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts and find the school plagued my mysterious attacks.

Coming off the heels of a massively successful predecessor, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets gave audiences a deeper look into the world of its titular character. As a film, it doesn’t quite capture the magic that made the first so enjoyable though it was able to establish a theme of ever-growing darkness which surrounds the rest of the series going forward. This film ramps up the dark and thematic elements, presenting the viewer a film with direr stakes and more lives on the line than ever. Multiple characters are in danger of dying from an unknown and unseen force prowling the school, throwing the audience a fascinating mystery with a solution involving traveling deeper in the forest and further into the depths of the school.

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Additionally, the film’s villain fits well within its dark framework. Said antagonist is the center of the mystery and remains well-hidden in the shadows throughout most of the story, only emerging to provide untrustworthy and manipulative recollections. Further, the villain’s nature makes for an interesting dichotomy between them and the other characters, depicting an antagonist whose machinations are carried out in such a way to make it so if the scheme is uncovered there is no way they could be caught. Rather, it allows them to regroup and move on to another victim.

Nevertheless, while the film does well in its increased darkness and has a good villain, its plot is poorly paced and pretty rushed despite the scenes making up the story being pretty decent. From its first scene to to the climax, it packs so much into its three-hour runtime, evoking the feeling the director was unable to figure out which scenes were not as necessary and instead just left them all in. Despite the scenes themselves and their presentation being done well, such a rushed pacing throughout the entire film makes it so the audience has little to no time to breathe and digest what’s going on. As it stands, the filmmakers could have stretched out a few of the scenes and deleted a few not as necessary.

This film is definitely worth watching once, but its long runtime and rushed plot make wanting a rewatch difficult.



AFI Awards

  • Special Award (for the Harry Potter series)

Art Directors Guild

  • Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award

BAFTA Awards

  • Kids’ Vote

BMI Film & TV Awards

  • BMI Film Music Awards

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Composter
  • Best Family Film – Live Action

Empire Awards, UK

  • Special Award (the “Harry Potter” films for outstanding contribution to British cinema)

London Critics Circle – ALFS Awards

  • British Supporting Actor of the Year (Kenneth Branagh)

Mainichi Film Concours

  • Readers’ Choice Award – Best Foreign Language Film

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Live Action Family Film
  • Best Performance by a Youth in a Leading or Supporting Role – Female (Emma Watson)


AARP Movies for Grownups Awards

  • Best Movie for Grownups who Refuse to Grow Up

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA – Saturn Awards

  • Best DVD Special Edition Release
  • Best Fantasy Film
  • Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Director
  • Best Costumes
  • Best Make-Up
  • Best Special Effects

Amanda Awards, Norway

  • Best Foreign Feature Film

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Achievement in Art Direction
  • Best Achievement in Costume Design
  • Best Original Score

Awards of the Japanese Academy

  • Best Foreign Film

BAFTA Awards

  • BAFTA Children’s Award – Best Feature Film
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Sound
  • Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Favorite Film Franchise
  • Best Digital Acting Performance (Toby Jones, for playing ‘Dobby”)

DVD Exclusive Awards

  • Best Overall DVD, New Movie (Including All Extra Features)
  • Best Games and Interactivities

Gold Derby Awards

  • Visual Effects

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Most Overrated Movie of the Year
  • Best Special Effects of the Year

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Best Animation/Family

Grammy Awards

  • Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media

Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards

  • Best Special Makeup Effects – Feature

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

International Online Cinema Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

Kids’ Choice Awards, USA – Blimp Awards

  • Favorite Movie

Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA – Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing in a Foreign Features

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • Best Virtual Performance (for “Dobby”)

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

People’s Choice Awards, USA

  • Favorite Movie Fan Following

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Acting Ensemble
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Makeup
  • Best Visual Effects

Satellite Awards

  • Best Youth DVD (Harry Potter: The 8 Film Collection
  • Best DVD Extras (For “Harry Potter Years 1-4”)

The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards

  • Most Annoying Non-Human Character (Dobby the House-Elf)

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Best Character Animation in a Live Action Motion Picture (“Dobby’s Face”)
  • Best Compositing in a Motion Picture (“Quidditch Match”)