Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Ultimate Edition) Blu-ray Review
As we have almost now come to the end of the Potter films and have passed the end of the books where we learned all of the secrets, e.g. Rowling's assertion that Dumbledore was gay, we are now getting to watch the films actually come out on Blu-ray for our home collections. The 2002 movie was the second, and thankfully last, of Chris Columbus' hyper-literal interpretations. Someone noted that the Bible was usually filmed with less fidelity than the first two Potter flicks, and workman-like filming.
To be sure, he did a credible job -- just not an inspired one, and as we can see as we now live in the series' future, he nailed the cast. The school has become more impressive as time wore on, but the essential nature of Hogwarts, which Columbus gets the credit for, has remained unchanged. If you want to own the Harry Potter series of films, you will want to own this one. If you are not a fan, I believe the common understanding of which I share to a degree, is that the books get more interesting later in the series; although the sense of whimsy wears a little thinner as they top 300 pages each.
Secrets reunite Radcliffe (Harry), Grint (Ron), and Watson (Hermione) who are together at Hogwarts again for their second year. This time the threat comes from a deadly giant snake and a haunted notebook left behind by Harry's ever-present nemesis, Lord Voldemort. Harry gets help from a house elf (Dobby), who, it is conjectured, was designed to look like Vladimir Putin, and the resemblance troubled the Russian leader. The movie runs 161 minutes (174 in extended edition) and has only one major distinction from the book that I could find.
The movie's video and audio are both excellent -- assuming your TV can do adequate blacks as the film tends towards the darker pallet and the new soundtrack mix is simply amazing.
Over all it is a sufficient rendition, but nothing I am overly excited about. This Ultimate edition is vastly superior to the original Blu-ray release including: an extended version of the film with 13 minutes of footage not shown in theatres, and bonus features such as Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 2: Characters, and a 48-Page Photo Book with never-before-seen images from Years 1-7 and 2 Ultimate Edition Character Cards (Card No. 3: Rubeus Hagrid, Card No. 4: Severus Snape).
This truly is the Harry Potter Ultimate Edition and I can't wait to see the entire series get this treatment.
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MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 161 minutes
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
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