Movie Review

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets a.k.a. “Harry Potter en de geheime kamer,” “Harry Potter et la chambre des secrets,” “Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens,” “Harry Potter y la cámara secreta,” “Hari Poter i dvorana tajni,” “Harry Potter és a titkok kamrája,” “Harry Potter E a Câmara Secreta,” “Harry Potter E a Câmara dos Segredos,” “Harry Potter a tajemná komnata,” “Harry Potter e la camera dei segreti,” “Harry Potter i Komnata Tajemnic,” “Harry Potter i la cambra secreta,” “Harry Potter ja salaisuuksien kammio,” “Harry Potter och hemligheternas kammare,” “Harry Potter og hemmelighedernes kammer,” “Harry Potter og leyniklefinn,” “Harry Potter og mysteriekammeret,” “Harry Potter si camera secretelor,” “Harry Potter ve sirlar odasi,” “Harry Potter y la cámara de los secretos,” “O Harry Potter kai i kamara me ta mystika,” “Гарри Поттер и тайная комната”

MPAA Rating: PG for scary moments, some creature violence and mild language.

Reviewed by: Douglas M. Downs
STAFF WRITER

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
10 to Adult
Genre:
Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery, Adaptation, Drama
Length:
2 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
2002
USA Release:
November 15, 2002
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

Blood in the Bible

Snake (serpent)

Sorcery in the Bible

Witches in the Bible

Witchcraft

Enchantments

Magic and magicians in the Bible

Sin and the Bible

Scapegoat

Spiders in the Bible

What are the consequences of racial prejudice and false beliefs about the origin of races? Answer

Racism, Racial Issues and Christianity
Get biblical answers to racial hot-topics. Where did the races come from? How did skin color come about? Why is it important to have a biblical foundation for such issues?

Giants

Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and Tree of Life

Ghosts in the Bible

Death

Final judgment

Dog

Swords in the Bible

Harry PotterIs Harry Potter Harmless?
Ever since the popularity of JK Rowling’s first book took hold, the debate rages. What is a Christian to think of the Harry Potter worldview and philosophies? What’s wrong with Potter?

Featuring: Daniel Radcliffe (as Harry Potter), John Cleese, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris, more »
Director: Chris Columbus
Producer: 1492 Pictures, Heyday Films, MIRACLE Productions GmbH & Co. KG, more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir… beware!”

The Sound of Silence (Paul Simon, 1964):

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk to you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
’Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Here my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence.

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.”
And whisper’d in the sounds of silence.

Having just returned from HarryPotterville, it’s time to “disturb the silence.” I hope you took the time to reread the famed (almost prophetic) lyrics by Paul Simon. It is absolutely amazing how many people in our culture are ignoring the seeds of the occult that are being planted all around us. I know that this Christian parent is grieved by this vision being rooted in the brains of the next generation. We certainly are seeing obvious evidence of people bowing to this “neon god.” Several web sites dedicated to the topic of witchcraft have seen a sizable increase in traffic. Many of their inquiries are coming from children. In all honesty, many of these sites are discouraging most young children from making a faith decision right now. But are you aware that the Pagan Federation has appointed a youth officer to deal with the flood of inquiries? One of their representatives stated, “We do not allow members under 18. As for children, I think that a lot of young people think that witchcraft will help them sort out problems in a quick and easy way.”

In 2001, PBS aired a documentary on the JK Rowlings phenomenon. This special (which I would encourage parents to watch) was quite unbiased and extremely revealing. The docudrama pointed out many of the pagan and real occult parallels in the books. They also interviewed witches to validate the fact that the information contained in the stories is more than just fantasy. Keep in mind, PBS is not part of the religious right.

Without question, these incredibly engaging novels could fuel imaginations in a way that goes beyond make believe. It was the Communist revolutionary Lenin who said, “Give me one generation of youth, and I will transform the entire world.”

The second book in J.K. Rowling’s series about young witches and wizards studying at Hogwarts School is known as “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” Hogwart’s is guided by Professor Dumbledore (the late Richard Harris). Our story begins with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) being warned by a peculiar elf named Dobby that he mustn’t go back to Hogwarts or he will die. Our hero is now trapped between an abusive existence and the memories of his exciting first term in school. Every string is pulled so that we truly pity Harry’s difficult situation. His guardians have moved him from a cupboard under the stairs to a small bedroom. The only problem is that they have now put bars on the window. Let me remind our readers that pity is actually a stronger emotion than love. That’s why many people end up in co-dependent relationships or why some people are manipulated by emotional blackmail.

Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and The Chamber of SecretsHarry is rescued by his friend Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and it isn’t long before these two school chums are reunited with the other member of this trio, Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). These children that are now back in school resume their quest to learn more spells and gain more power. But the students and the faculty soon become stunned to learn (by blood on the wall) that a Chamber of Secrets has been opened. It is rumored that this chamber contained a monster and many students begin to turn up petrified.

Some of the leaders are considering what to do. Should they close down the school? While trying to solve the mystery (and save the day), Harry stumbles upon a diary by a former student named Tom Marvolo Riddle. This book has nothing written in it, But Harry, through the process of divination, is able to reveal some of its contents. Harry must battle possible expulsion and solve the clues that have been left for him.

His quest leads him into a bloody battle with a snake. His final encounter with a spirit in search of resurrection has an extremely gruesome end.

Kenneth Branagh as Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and The Chamber of SecretsDirector Chris Columbus (who has officially announced that he will not direct the next film) and screenwriter Steve Kloves have expanded the boundaries of the “PG” rating and the length of this sequel (161 minutes). This movie is obviously darker than the first and there were several parents around me who had to take younger children out of the theater because of the frightening content.

I know two things for sure. The material in this film is not appropriate for children under 10. It is also not appropriate for young impressionable minds. The pace of the movie was slow, as this extremely creative team tried to milk every drop of the Rowlings story. The only part of the film that I kind of liked was the addition of the egotistical and incompetent new professor, Gilderoy Lockart.

“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” goes beyond the visual dimension of the imagination and once again glorifies the occult in a glamorous way. My strong recommendation (as with the first film) is to skip it. I find all of the content as a Christian Parent very offensive. There are better activities that you can share in than absorbing all of these “seeds.”

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Harry Potter series reviews

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001)
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (2002)
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004)
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005)
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (2009)
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” (2010)
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” (2011)

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—While CoS does not have the issues of redemption and dying to self that the other books has, it does have the points about family and friendship. When Harry is believed to be the one doing all of the terrible things around school, his best friends Ron and Hermoine stick by him. Harry also meets the Weasley family (Ron’s family) who turn out to have 5 kids still going to Hogwarts, and 2 out on their own. Being poor, they live in a rather run-down shack that would remind you of many a shanty-house depicted the depression—expect in this story the dishes wash themselves and the clothes knit themselves. Ron is embarassed by his families’ lack of money and rather cluttered house. However, Harry, never knowing his real family, thinks Ron is far more rich than he realizes. THAT alone speaks volumes to a world obsessed with money (which Harry has much of, but no real family to speak of), but treats the family (which Ron has a lot of, but little money) with much indifference… The first half is a laugh-fest with little to scare kids, while the second half is clearly more dark and creepy, with little to laugh at. And, where the movie suffers most, it assumes the audience knows what is coming next. It works, but only as someone who has read the book…
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—David Poe, age 25
Positive—This is a pretty good movie from whatever angle you approach it from. It is entertaining and well made. There are some good messages about loyalty and friendship, slavery and racism are rebuked. There is a moderate amount of violence involving giant snakes and spiders. Language is very minimal. There is some spells, potions, etc. but it isn’t really glorified and all done in a very fantasy type way. All things considered, this is a good movie for anyone over 8 (some frightening scenes may be too much for younger kids).
My Ratings: [Average / 5]
—Steve Allaby, age 22
Positive—…I loved it. The movie, of course, dealt with witchcraft and magic (the fantasy type, not the real stuff) and is a comedy adventure that presents some mystery and intrigue while being fun and lighthearted as well. With absolutely no language and positive moral standards, this makes a great movie for a family with children (who are at least 10 years of age, and parents that have the time and willingness to discuss and answer questions that their children will probably have)
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Kristian Pearson, age 20
Positive—…a rare cinematic treat. Here is a movie with a wry sense of humor, state-of-the-arts special effects, and a magnificent story. The religious right are good to investigate Harry Potter further should they suspect a strong anti-Christian presence. I too am a Christian, regardless of my opinions about Harry Potter being nothing more than harmless fantasy… The movie is not about witchcraft, it merely uses it as a device for telling its tale and conveying its theme… More objectionable is Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s constant ignorance of school rules…
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Eric Schmidt
Neutral
Neutral—The Christian world is divided on the issue of Harry Potter. If you don’t like Harry Potter in general, or think him evil… it’s simple: don’t go see this film. Otherwise, if you’ve read the book, you’re going to LOVE this movie. They’ve managed to hit all the highlights of the book in a two and a half hour time frame that is paced accordingly and will entertain all ages. I have read the books; the person that I went with had not. Both strong Christians, we enjoyed the movie on a purely fantasy level… because of the messages that it embodies. Sticking up for Right and Truth are rewarded; had Harry not done so when it counted, he would have perished. Dumbledore consistently offers wise council… he says in one profound statement that it is not what we are that is important; it is the path that we choose in life. Our choice is very important. Harry has chosen the side of good. His arch-nemisis, Voldermort, chose the path of evil… and evil he is. I’ve never seen a purer representation of Satan than in Voldermort. One caution I will offer parents in general… this film is very frightening in places, and certainly not for children under the age of ten.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
Charity Bishop, age 19
Neutral—While this is marketed as a children’s film, and was produced well, it is definitely too scary for children under 12. While it was entertaining it was a bit long 2:40 and the plot was sluggish. It was a disappointment compared to the book. …There are some incredibly good themes present in the film such as equality, humility, self-sacrifice and friendship.

However, the most compelling was the summary by Dumbledore at the end of the film. He says, “Your gifts do not determine who you are, but your choices do…” This sends a strong message for personal moral responsibility. I found this refreshing. As a father of 4 and a Christian missionary, I would not expose my children (8 and under) to the graphic picture and sheer terror of the films. I found that the witchcraft was secondary to the plot although it was a strong support. I feel that the books can be used as fables to teach moral lessons. They are fast becoming a part of Western culture and I will not be able to keep my children from exposure forever. I hope to use them to teach discernment between good and evil.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Troy Blankenship, age 32
Negative
Negative—This is one movie for fantasy seekers. With good graphics and well, not to mention, a great and interesting storyline too! BUT… one thing I’ve got to mention, that fantasy isn’t exactly fantasy as it seems. This movie is based on real witchcraft and its rituals. This movie features Harry talking to the snake in snake language (which represents Satan)… it’s Satanic! The worst thing is, it’s packaged into this little children’s movie that seem totally harmless, but the fact is, it’s not! It’s a nice movie to watch… but just take it with a pinch of salt.
My Ratings: [Good / 3]
—Grace, age 18
Comments from young people
Positive—I loved this movie for several reasons. First of all, Harry Potter learns that life is based on choices, not by fate, and that there ARE wrong choices. This, is some ways, can resemble a Christian’s decisions in life on following after Christ. Second, friendship prevails over all of the obstacles. As you will see, Harry and Harmione have a love for each other that only true friends can have. Harry and Ron share a humorous, yet deep friendship from which they all grow closer. And thirdly, it also shows that people, such as Gilderoy Lockheart, that lie about who they are can be caught. This situation can teach children that if you lie, whether about who you are or even about if u did your homework, just might catch up with you…
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Hannah Stroud, age 15
Positive—I think this movie was excellent! …being a very dedicated fan of Harry Potter, I couldn’t find anything wrong with the movie… although, some people were offended by the magic that was used. I disagree on that because it was obviously good against evil… and as always, good triumphed. There were a few scary moments but nothing extreme… I would be careful with children who are below 7 years or around that age, there are some scary moments and some bloodshed that might scare little ones.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Hermione
Neutral—…ultimately about good and evil, not about witchcraft. While magic is of course an integral part of the Harry Potter books and films, it is not the cornerstone. At least in the second Potter film, friendship, loyalty, and bravery are, in the end, the most important things… In this film, viewers are introduced to a problem that plagued the magical world for years—racism against Muggle-borns, and Slytherin’s attempt to exterminate them at least from Hogwarts School… in the thrilling (and a bit bloody) finale, [Harry] risks his life to defeat the heir of Slytherin. It all comes down to his personal sacrifice and courage. The most disappointing part of the film wasn’t the use of magic, but the many, many rules Harry and his friends break when they take their unsettling situation at Hogwarts into their own hands. A scene of the film that got a lot of laughs from the audience was when Ron strikes the head of a blabbering, fraud of a teacher to knock him out. Though to many viewers the teacher may have deserved it, it was way out of line for young Ron to do this… This film is not for young children who don’t yet know that breaking rules doens’t pay, and neither does involvement with witchcraft. Parents might be hesitant to let their youngest children watch the film—there’s the vicious Whomping Willow tree, a Rogue Bludger, very hungry, very large spiders, and the phrase “Bloody h--” used several times. For more mature people, I thought this film had a lot of serious, positive values to take notice of.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 5]
—Elisa Wong, age 15
Neutral—Although Harry Potter is set in a magical, occultish world, there are many good lessons that can be learned by watching the film. Professor Dumbeldore tells Harry that it is the choices that makes who he is. This is like how in the Bible, it shows that the choices we make determine our lives. For instance, to choose not to do a sin. There are many different lessons that Harry learns, but while learning these lessons, he also breaks many school rules. The problem with the movie is that it twists good standards with bad, christian symbolism with occultish symbolism. I think that it is an awesome movie for anyone who is old and mature enough to watch.
My Ratings: [Average / 4½]
—Sarah, age 15
Positive—I watched “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” with my big brother, and I really loved it. The filmmaking was great, and everything that happened was almost completely true to the book. I found that the magic in it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’ve been told. I didn’t find it very offensive at all. I think that the whole magic thing was supposed to be more fairytale like, than occult-like, and I found that it wasn’t a very dark movie. I really loved it, as I’m a very big fan of Harry Potter.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Alyssa, age 15 (Canada)
Movie Critics
…an entertaining fantasy that many older children—and adults—will enjoy. If you and your family members do choose to see this movie, however, be sure to discuss the difference between the fantasy magic in Harry Potter and the dangers of real-life Wiccan beliefs and practices
—Mike and Amy Nappa, Nappaland’s MovieSpot
…Better constructed and more emotionally satisfying than the first one, the second movie’s occult worldview and moral relativism overwhelm its use of Christian, redemptive symbols and themes… racism and slavery rebuked, breaking rules rewarded, moral relativism taught, and children lie…
—Movieguide
…darker, uneven fantasy that alternates plodding exposition with clever special effects, a few of which may be too frightening for young children…
—Tidings Online
…Magic, used for good or for evil, is the cornerstone of this movie… Far too much [violence] for a movie that will be seen by children as young as 6 or 7…
—Plugged In, Focus on the Family
…8 mild obscenities, and insults…
—Kids-in-Mind