Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Chris Columbus’s return to the world of Harry Potter is much like his first. In fact, it’s almost exactly like his first, with the same basic plot outline, the same tone and the same style. In just the second film, the series probably wasn’t ready for a drastic change in tone, but if you didn’t enjoy the first film, there’s nothing different in the second that will change your mind.
We pick up with Harry Potter (Radcliffe) as he’s living with his aunt and uncle, still miserable but now they’ve moved him into his own bedroom. He’s looking forward to returning to Hogwarts until the house elf Dobby appears to warn him not to go back. Undeterred, he’s able to escape his aunt and uncle when Ron (Grint) and his brothers show up in a flying car to bust him out and take him back to their house until it’s time for school. Once Potter finally makes it to school, the trio are reunited and faced with an unexpected evil. It seems someone has opened the mysterious Chamber of Secrets and unless Harry can stop them, a great evil will befell those with Muggle blood.
Draco (Tom Felton) gets a bigger role in the first sequel and we’re introduced to his father, Lucious (Jason Isaacs), who both develop into larger villains as the series progresses. I was actually surprised after watching HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS again so many years later just how obnoxious and evil they were right from the start. Chamber of Secrets is slightly darker than Sorcerer’s Stone, but with Chris Columbus behind the lens, everything is kept at a safe distance and once again, we don’t feel the danger or threat to Potter that we do in later films. I’m not sure if that’s the direction of Columbus or the writing of J.K. Rowling, but I’ve always that lack of intensity plagued the first two Potter films. However, Chamber of Secrets is notable for featuring the giant spider Aragog and the flying Ford Anglia, both of which were done very well.
The main trio seem much more comfortable with their characters this time around, especially Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint. They spend most of the film together and develop a nice chemistry that helps them in later films. Emma Watson didn’t have much to do in Chamber of Secrets, but she toned down her know-it-all approach to Hermione from Sorcerer’s Stone. There were also more adult actors involved in the second film as we get to know Ron’s parents better and get introduced to the fraud Gilderoy Lockhart, who was played perfectly by Kenneth Branagh. Their inclusion lightened the load a bit on the young trio.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS fits well with HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE and gives fans a straightforward telling of J.K. Rowling’s novels. The style is a bit bland and there’s nothing notable about the direction, but the film does have some fun moments and it’s another step for Harry, Hermione and Ron.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Just when I was about to copy and paste my video review of a prior Harry Potter 4K release, WB goes and surprises me. I’ve found the Potter films to have a decreasing video quality to them starting from the last film and going through the third. But the second Potter film almost appears to have been remastered for this 4K release. I always found the Blu-ray versions of Columbus’s Potter films to be lacking, but I’m thankful to say the 4K presentation had corrected that problem. HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS looks fantastic on 4K and it almost looks like a different film. I noticed details I hadn’t seen before and almost all of the interior shots had the 4K pseudo-3D quality to them, which added a new layer to the film. Chamber isn’t my favorite Potter film and in fact, it might be my least favorite, but it does look great on 4K.
Audio: The DTS-X track is also a nice upgrade over the previous DTS-MA tracks.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but each of the 4K UHD Harry Potter films contain two Blu-ray discs, the first containing the movie and the second disc of special features “Creating the World of Harry Potter”. Both discs were found in the previously released Special Edition Blu-rays.