(2002) dir. Chris Columbus
There’s been a lot of discussion in our house about the PG vs. PG-13 ratings. My son is a bit obsessed with films that are PG-13, partially due to the fact that he wasn’t allowed to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). He fantasizes about developing his own films that are all rated PG-13 and is also quite excited about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, wanting to read it even though he’s never read the other books. We are actually reading the first Harry Potter book right now, and partially because he already got a chance to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) because we have his uncle’s copy on DVD at the house, I decided to sit through it with my daughter and him. I’d seen it in the theater at the time of its release and had thought it was decent.
Frankly, the Harry Potter film series blurs a lot in my mind, with few exceptions, though I more or less remember them all. My practice is to read ahead enough to have read the book before the movie comes out, simply to stay a tiny tidbit ahead of the game. I’ve been enjoying them on my own thusfar, so this is in many ways my first experience seeing them through my children’s perspective at all.
The first two Harry Potter films were both directed by Chris Columbus, to whom we owe Home Alone (1990) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), among other things. The big thing about the series of films is that the casting has been good as has the art design. I’ve got no beefs with J.K. Rowling or the whole thing, really. I watch them. I largely enjoy them.
This run through with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets surprised me only in a small way in simply that I did enjoy it. I hate Dobby the house elf, though Felix enjoyed him. It’s all pretty complicated for the kids, definitely over my daughter’s head largely. Lots of narrative, lots of plot points, lots of details. It’s almost baroque in a sense.
But hey. It’s not bad. My favorite of the books and movies so far has been part 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). It’s been impressive how they’ve kept this film franchise rolling, keeping the main actors in place, watching them age and develop along with the narrative. An interesting experiment if nothing else.