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Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets (2002) - dir. Chris Columbus

Harry Potter returns to Hogwart's for his second year in Magical-Scholastic training. And now he is pretty well settled to begin afresh on a new adventure. He is sprung from his room, away from the muggles who desperately try to keep him as their virtual slave; released by the Weasley Brothers in a flying car to which they affix a chain to Harry's barred window and make away back to school, his true home in this case; with Privet Drive being more like a tower of imprisonment holding many bad memories.

Voldemort makes an appearance as his preferred manifestation of youth, aspiration, and vigor - along with an impressive serpentine basilisk at this bidding, which he orders to kill Potter, but is eventually thwarted by Dumbledore's phoenix who plucks out his eyes. Draco Malfoy's father plays a role in the film, along with Gilderoy Lockheart, a popinjay-poseur opportunist par excellence, which does speak to the faux "magician" type who frequently takes credit for others' accomplishments, as well as natural occurrences; jumping in at the last moment pretending it to be their own - he may fool the muggles, but a true Magician can spot this type outright.

Overall, it is analyzed that the film should be seen three or more times in order to appreciate all of the quick scenes which run by far too fast, as there is so much to the books, that each one could quite easily fit into two films at a time, but for expedience, was compressed into a little more than two hours. Viewing this film in the theatre is amusing for an entertaining "night out," but I believe it would be far more appreciated in one's own Lair. Still, to experience this series to the fullest, the highest recommendation is to read the books themselves, and then the films will be far more vibrant.

Another element that was noted was in the instance when introduced to "Dobby" the house elf, who appeared just as I imagined him -- a masochistic character practicing self-flagellation for the smallest infraction in slave conduct and who, through all of his efforts, attempts to prevent Potter from attending another year at Hogwarts for the apparent reason that he fears for his safety. Although it is later divulged that he has another Master, who himself does not wish Potter to return.

In one scene involving the house elf, Potter frees him from his cruel master's rule by actually bestowing him an article of clothing, thereby liberating him from slavery, which did receive a few handclaps of approval from the audience, particularly from a negro woman who obviously connected this as a metaphor for ancestor oppression... but the question remains, "what does Dobby do now?" For it is known that the slave-type encompasses most of humanity, who are in the majority followers, necessitating a leader, a ruler, a master, whether it be a so-called "God", messiah, television, trends, etc. In this day and age, they still want to be told what to do, but without the use of the word "slavery" - so instead, PC terminology has been invented such as "team player", "church group", "congregation," etc., that it may be more palatable - yet drones they remain, no matter which connotation is used.

Overall, if one has been well entertained by the premiere film Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone, then The Chamber of Secrets is well worth the watching.

[- Draconis Blackthorne]

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (2001) - dir. Chris Columbus

The wondrous world of Harry Potter opens up through the enchanted pages of J.K. Rowling's books, as veritable grimoires masked in fictional caricatures, but demonstrating subtle magical principles. The books come to life in a veritable bibliomancy - the words vibrate, a Magical glow emanates therefrom, & the pictures come to brilliant life, jumping forth from the pages in dynamic enchanted exuberance. And thus it has been for those who have enjoyed these wonderful works.

I have found this film a marvel to behold, although I feel it could have been twice the production had it been a tad darker, as the books have tended to be. Unfortunately, producers felt that the initial more gothic aesthetics would frighten children, to whom the film is primarily directed. But I question the excessive over-sheltering of children would only raise a populace of mollycoddles. Speaking for myself on the Left Hand, I have always been attracted to the darkest subject matter since I was a very young child. The pervasive fascination for blood & gore in western society is due to the lack of real-life bloodletting spectacles, practices, & traditions in modern culture. In many societies, a boy was not considered a man until until he had killed his first prey in the hunt, or slain an enemy. Western Society compensates for this natural bloodlust with horror movies & documentaries, to stimulate that latently essential primal part of the psyche which remains far too under-stimulated.

The first half of the movie seemed aesthetically darker, whereas the second half was a bit 'lighter,' probably as a result of the pusillanimity of Chris Columbus (who also directed "Home Alone" as an indication). I believe a film of this caliber would have been better directed by the likes of Tim Burton, who has consistently brought forth the dark sides of the characters he has worked with, & created films of magnificent & gloriously gothic proportions, as Batman would be a major example; with a musickal score conducted instead by Danny Elfman, considering the current score unfortunately sounds rather tired & redundant - not one of John Williams' better works. It just seemed that he did not place too much effort into it, yet it still remains memorable, but so much more could have been done with it.

A most poignant scene was towards the end, when Potter comes face to face with Voldemort, in which he states, "There is no good or evil, only Power & those who seek it. Those who do not, are weak." Quite a Satanic statement!

The idea of a "School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" does sound rather appealing (notice the distinction between the genders) - the closest thing we have to that is the homeschooling initiative which is espoused by most Satanists.

Overall, I found the film to be visually stunning, relevant to the book, & it displayed a higher class of diction & politeness, serving as a good example to the more bereft & vulgar infesting the current populace. Recommended.

[- Draconis Blackthorne]