Today, we continue with our journey through the magical world of Harry Potter with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The second film in the franchise features the introduction of Dobby the house elf and gives us some backstory for Voldemort. But again, as with the first, there are a few incongruities between the films and the books that could be sorted out.
Moving on, the layout of Privet Drive has changed between the first and second films. This is really rather jarring when you’re watching the films in rapid succession. This sort of thing could easily be explained away if it were Hogwarts due to a fairly simple handwave of “it’s magic” (though even then, it shouldn’t be allowed. There is no reason for changing the geography of a defined place between episodes/series unless something cataclysmic has happened!). The Dursley house itself appears to have stayed the same, although Harry has now moved into the spare bedroom, though this should have really happened in the first film as an attempt at appeasement by Vernon Dursley for Harry’s wizarding abilities.
Continuing in the vein of the plot for a little while longer, is it just me or does Dobby seem older in this film than when we see him in later ones? It may just be the advancement of computer graphics that makes this the case, but it is a little disconcerting. Also his speech pattern seems to fluctuate between the first and third person slightly. In the books it was third person, and while it is fairly easy to miss during this film, it becomes a lot more obvious later on (I’ll get to that later). Finally on speech patterns; the use of the phrase “of course” was pointed out to me by my housemate during the re-watchings. It gets said at least once during each film, normally by a Weasley, and it gets very annoying when you start to notice it, of course.
Moving to Hogwarts, I’ve discussed the alterations to the geography regarding Privet Drive, and will probably bring it up again as we continue with this series. But I digress. This is the final film to star Richard Harris as Dumbledore before his untimely death in 2002. The necessary change of actor to Michael Gambon allowed the directors to change the personality of the character to a slightly more eccentric style, in many ways more akin to the books. The only problem with the change is that Gambon doesn’t look like Dumbledore in comparison to Harris. The ideal compromise would be to somehow combine the looks of Richard Harris with the vibrance and personality of Michael Gambon, but unless science has managed to implant the brain of someone into another host, it’s unlikely to happen any time soon.
The class where Hermione interrupts a teacher to ask them about the Chamber of Secrets is a very important part of the book, to give the audience the necessary explanation on what trials the characters would be experiencing later in the story. However, it seems hard to believe that Professor McGonagall would allow a class to be derailed in such a way. It admittedly is pointless to add in a random teacher just for the purposes of exposition, but it’s also rather hard to find a teacher who would likely wish to talk about school rumours from the faculty at the time. The most likely would be Lockhart, although he’d probably be more inclined to work himself into the story in some way. Flitwick may be a good choice too, but it still takes a bit of suspension of belief (no pointing out the obvious please).
The drinking of the Polyjuice potion causes one’s appearance to change into that of the person one wishes to imitate, except their voice. Throughout the films, the only person whose voice changes is Barty Crouch Jnr in Goblet of Fire, the rest of the films that feature the potion being used result in the characters keeping their voices. This may be an aesthetic choice to avoid confusing the viewers, but it still seems a bit of a cop-out. Filmmakers should have more faith in their viewers when it comes to following a plot. That’s not really something that needs to be mentioned in regards to this film specifically, but just in general.
Whilst on the subject of the Polyjuice potion, Harry only realises that he is wearing his glasses when disguised as Goyle after he’s had it pointed out to him by Malfoy. Surely, if his eyesight were so bad he would have noticed earlier (as he does in the books), it seems as if that sort of thing would have tipped off Malfoy if he wasn’t being stupid for the sake of the plot.
And there we have it, another Harry Potter film fixed. Next week, we’ll start on the third film, the last of the short books. As always, let me know what you think in the comments and don’t be afraid to recommend some films that I can try to fix. I look forward to the challenge.