by Mike Shea on 5 December 2013
I love Harry Potter. I love our yearly tradition of watching all seven (eight?) of the Harry Potter movies on glorious Blu-ray every Christmas. I love the whimsy. I love the wide-eyed wonder. I love the huge fireplaces and the feasts. It even has some scenes of real emotional power now and then (I'm a huge fan of the Harry and Hermione dancing scene in Deathly Hallows 1).
But I fucking hate the Chamber of Secrets. The Chamber of Secrets is like the worst D&D game, a game where the DM force-feeds you his story and the NPCs make all the decisions. Throughout Chamber of Secrets, Harry doesn't make a single relevant decision. He doesn't perform any action of note that isn't handed to him on a goddamn silver platter. Right off the bat he fucks up the teleport and ends up in the ass-end of a wizardly shithole.
When we get to the end, the god in the machine kicks in full bore. Harry decides to face the basilisk with no idea whatsoever he's going to do to fight it. Thank the gods a goddamn phoenix flies in with a goddamn hat carrying the only sword in existence able to kill the basilisk. That's sure lucky.
And then there's the goddamn car. That fucking car. The car scenes in this movie seem to go for about four hours and just when you think they can't suck an worse, there's another car scene. When the whomping willow beats the shit out of the car is a small respite but holy shit I hate that car.
Then Harry dies and the phoenix saves his life. Great. Good plan, Harry.
Compare this to the first movie, Sorcerer's Stone. Harry knows fuck-all about the wizard world in this movie but he still makes relevant decisions and choices. He makes the choice to go with Hagrid. He snubs Malfoy the moment he realizes what an asshole he is. He tells the hat he wants to go to Gryffindor (imagine a world in which harry chose Slytherin). He rescues Neville's rememberall which leads to his spot on the quidditch team. He flys the broom to get the key. He makes the final move against the wizard chess king. For a kid who lived in a broom closet, he does a whole lot of shit.
I love Harry Potter. The Goblet of Fire is my favorite with its mix of whimsy, interesting character developments, and the introduction of Voldemort, but I'm a huge fan of Sorcerer's Stone. Sorcerer's Stone has almost perfect pacing, spending as much time as it wants showing us the wonder of the world without forcing any crazy action scenes on us for over an hour. It's a wonderful relaxing story.
Chamber of Secrets? You could fill a magic car trunk full of DVDs of this piece of shit and let the whomping willow bang it into flue powder for all I care.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @mshea on Twitter. If you enjoyed this article, please use this link to Amazon.com for your next online purchase.