2011 Movie #27: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

by on Oct.07, 2011, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Family-Friendly Halloween Movie Countdown | Go to Original Post

“Not to be rude or anything, but this isn’t a great time for me to have a house elf in my bedroom.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets poster


  • Rating: PG for scary moments, some creature violence and mild language
  • Minimum Recommended Age: 8 (Common Sense Media: Ages 8 and up, ParentsTV.org: For Tweens)
  • Quality Rating: 77% (Common Sense Media Rating: 5 stars, Parent Previews Overall Grade: B, Screen It! rating: 6 out of 10, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 7.1-)
  • Recommended By:
  • Sex/Violence/Profanity:

    Sex: 0.33/10

    kids in mind: 1/10
    A boy and girl hug. Women and girls swoon over a famous man in a few scenes.

    Violence: 5.75/10

    kids in mind: 4/10
    A boy fights a huge snake with a sword: he slashes at the snake and stabs it through the mouth and the head (we see the bloody sword), and the snake bites the boy’s arm (we see the boy pull out a bloody tooth) and the snake collapses to the ground. A huge snake slithers out of the mouth of a large stone bust and chases a boy, the boy trips, the snake attempts to snap at him but it is attacked by a bird who pokes its eyes out (we see the bloody sockets), yet it continues to chase the boy by following his sounds and it comes very close to him — we see the snake’s large pointed teeth, and slime in its mouth. Two boys follow a procession of spiders into a dark forest (as they follow more spiders join them). An enormous talking spider threatens two boys and orders swarms of spiders of various sizes to go after them. We see several messages written in blood on walls, and there are conversations about death and doom: We hear that a girl has been taken into a chamber with a creature (a “baselisk”) and read in a message written in blood that “her skeleton will lie in the chamber forever”; a girl lies unconscious in a room filled with large stone statues and we are told that she is in a trance and dying; a man says of boys that they will die from the anguish of the “sight of her mangled body” and threatens them with a wand; and, a cat hangs from a wall and we hear that it is not dead, but petrified. We hear an eerie voice calling to a boy and saying something like “I smell blood…Let me kill you.” A boy is attacked by a spider as he and another boy try to escape in an enchanted car (a spell knocks the spider off the boy), and the spiders continue to jump on the car and try to get at the boys as they speed away. A boy finds a ghost hanging by the neck, and a ghost tips his head and we see it separate from his neck and hear a squishing sound. A ghosts wails, cries and moans, we hear how she died and she flies into a toilet sending water spraying out. Several children are found petrified after a spell, a student is petrified and lying on the floor, a boy finds another student petrified and is shown yet another one lying on a bed. A Quidditch match has people flying fast and recklessly on broom sticks: one boy is chased by a bludger (a large ball) through the air and the bleachers and the ball crashes and splinters beams, nearly hits two boys and hits one boy’s arm, breaking it. Two boys race to catch the winged ball in a Quidditch match, and one boy punches and shoves the other boy a few times. One boy loses control of his broom and crashes to the ground, another boy crashes to the ground and a large ball comes down fast at him twice, nearly hitting him. A rock wall collapses endangering two boys and a boy hits a man on the head with a stone knocking him out. Two boys and a girl drink a potion that will make them look like someone else: one boy and the girl run to a bathroom to vomit, and the other boy watches in a mirror as his skin bubbles up and he is transformed (we later see that the other boy was transformed too, but the girl was turned into a cat with a fuzzy face and yellow eyes). A boy finds himself in a room with grisly items: creatures in liquid in jars, skeletons, skulls, and a dismembered, decaying hand that grabs his hand when he touches it. We see a body covered with a sheet being carried on a stretcher (an arm dangles out from under the sheet). A boy rushes into an alley where he is surrounded by menacing-looking people. Little blue pixies are loosed from a cage and wreak havoc on a room full of students: one is lifted into the air by the ears and hung by the collar from a chandelier and a large dinosaur skeleton is dropped to the floor. Two boys duel with their wands: one boy is thrown back through the air, twirls and lands hard on the ground, then the other is thrown back, then a snake is materialized and slithers toward one boy, then it turns toward a boy in the audience. Two men also duel with their wands: one man is thrown through the air and lands hard on the ground. A wand backfires causing a man to be thrown into a rock wall and the spell erases his memory. Two boys threaten a man with their wands as he threatens them. A man threatens another man and does a spell causing a large spider to come out of a box. Two boys go through a chute that dumps them on bone and skeleton-covered ground. A man kicks an elf down stairs and hits him with a stick. A man threatens to kill a boy and accuses him of killing his cat. A boy tries to do a spell (“eat slugs”) on another boy but it backfires and he ends up spitting out many slimy slugs one-by-one and looking quite ill. An elf abuses himself by knocking his head on a dresser repeatedly, hitting himself on the head with a lamp, ironing his hands (we see the bloody hands covered with bandages). Relatives speak abusively to a boy and treat him abusively: his uncle attaches metal bars to his bedroom window and threatens him. Children rush with carts full of luggage toward a brick column and disappear through it, but two boys try to do the same and they crash into the wall and fall to the ground. An elf zaps a man with a bolt of energy and the man is thrown through the air landing hard on the floor. A snake is hit with a spell and it disintegrates, and a bird bursts into flames and turns to dust and a few minutes later a baby bird rises from the dust (he’s a phoenix). Children pull plants out of pots, we see the roots that look like tiny old men and hear the creatures screaming (it has been discussed that these screams can kill people), a boy puts his finger in the mouth of his plant and it bites him, and another boy faints. A man talks about collecting flesh-eating grubs. People go one by one into a fireplace where they throw down some dust that transports them to another location instantly: when the dust hits the ground it bursts into green flames and engulfs the traveler. Two boys in an enchanted car lose control and crash into a tree that becomes animated and begins to pound on the car with its very large limbs, the car falls to a lower part of the tree and is pounded on some more, then the car falls to the ground and the tree pounds hard on the ground just missing the car and the boys. An enchanted car with two boys inside flies onto railroad tracks, a train barrels down on them, they fly off, and one boy falls out of his door and dangles until the other boy pulls him back in. An enchanted car piloted by a boy flies up to a window, pulls the bars off and a boy jumps out the window and into the car; a man from inside the house grabs the boy’s foot, dangles and falls down into shrubbery below. In a few scenes, spiders crawl in a line through rooms, and out windows. An enormous shed snake skin is discovered in an underground cave. A man opens his door holding a loaded crossbow. A man tries to fix a boy’s broken arm, but instead his arm turns to rubber (no bones); the arm sloshes and wiggles around and we hear that the boy will have to undergo treatment to re-grow the bones and that it will be painful. An owl crashes on a table (it is unharmed). A boy tries to turn his rat into a water goblet but he ends up with a furry goblet with a tail. Two boys eat cupcakes that contain a sleeping draft and they fall asleep landing on the floor. An elf makes a cake levitate over a woman’s head and then drops it on her. We see staircases that shift, portraits that hang on the walls are animated, and ghosts fly through the rooms and communicate with people. A man two boys and a girl are flown out of a cave by a large bird. Tear drops fall onto a bloody wound on a boy’s arm and it heals instantly, a boy stabs a book with a sword and ink oozes from its pages, a man disintegrates and bursts into tiny particles, and a boy speaks in “snake tongue” with hisses and low tones.

    Common Sense Media: 3/5
    Kids are in peril often, but at the hand of fantasy creatures most of the time: giant spiders attack, and a basilisk (giant serpent) has Medusa-like abilities, nearly killing characters and putting them in a rigid, comatose state — it chases Harry in a really tense scene. Harry falls from his broom and breaks his arm, then bones in his arm are magically removed. A house elf punishes himself by hitting his head repeatedly. In a practice wizards’ duel, students and teachers are thrown to the ground and a (small) snake threatens a student. A spell backfires and Ron coughs up slugs. Harry almost falls out of a flying car. Two main characters almost die in the film’s climax.

    Screen It!: Heavy

  • Harry’s cousin purposefully runs into Harry with his shoulder.
  • Dobby purposefully and repeatedly bashes his head against a dresser, and then repeatedly slams a lamp base onto his head as well (he later repeatedly hits his head with a bottle).
  • A flying car rips a metal, bar-based window grate from a window.
  • Some slapstick style material involves an owl crashing into a window and then later crashing onto a table; Harry and Ron crashing into a column at a train station and falling down (thinking they were going to run and disappear into it like others before them); and Ron tries to put a spell onto Draco, but is knocked backwards from it.
  • Harry and Ron end up crashing their flying car into a massive tree at night. The car slips down through part of it and we then hear a monstrous sound. The tree then comes to life and proceeds to smash the car (still up in the tree) with its huge limbs and blasts one limb through the window (the boys are frightened). It eventually knocks the car down to the ground and they manage to drive away just as the tree slams a huge limb down near them. The car then tosses them out and onto the ground.
  • Some small Cornish pixies fly about a room after Lockhart unleashes them. They cause general mischief (flying a boy up into the air by his ears and then hoisting him onto a chandelier, throwing books around, etc.). Harry whacks one of them across the room with a book and other ones cause a large skeleton to crash onto the floor.
  • During a Quidditch match (somewhat like rugby on flying broomstick like things), various participants (including Draco) purposefully bump and smash into others at high speed. A cannonball-sized ball also chases after Harry and smashes through walls and support beams as it tries to hit him all while he tries to avoid it. Draco eventually crashes onto the ground, the ball smashes Harry on the arm (reportedly breaking it) and Harry crashes into some sand where that ball repeatedly tries to smash into him (Hermione eventually uses a spell to destroy it).
  • During a demonstration, Snape fires a blast of energy at Lockhart that knocks the latter backwards. Moments later, Harry and Draco are called upon for the demo and each knocks the other down with similar blasts of energy. Snape then causes a cobra to dissolve.
  • We see several characters who’ve been “petrified” (frozen still, but still alive).
  • A large bird catches on fire, quickly disintegrates, and is then born again from its ashes (a Phoenix).
  • Harry, Ron and Hermione drop glasses from which they were drinking and that shatter upon impact with the floor.
  • We see that Harry’s room has been ransacked.
  • Huge spiders try to attack Harry, Ron and the car they’re in. One grabs Ron through an open window, but Harry zaps it with his wand (that sends it flying through the air). They then drive into many spiders as they escape.
  • Lockhart falls down a long and dark tunnel (but is okay).
  • Lockhart tries to cast a spell, but is knocked backward into a rock wall where he’s knocked silly. Ron then picks up a rock and hits Lockhart on the head with it, knocking him out.
  • An incredibly huge and long snake (at least 50 feet long and quite thick) comes out and chases after Harry. A large bird then attacks the snake and renders it blind, but the snake can still hear him. Harry then runs off and the snake chases after and bites at him. It eventually corners Harry in a tunnel and its massive head (T-Rex size) comes quite close to Harry who tries to remain still and quiet.
  • The massive snake then suddenly rears up out of a body of water and Harry tries to hit the snake with a sword. The snake repeatedly strikes at him on a rocky wall from which Harry barely hangs on. Harry then gets on top, swings at the blind snake and it knocks him down. The snake then strikes at him again and Harry drives his sword into its mouth and up through the top of its head. The blow eventually kills it, but not before it strikes his arm, leaving a huge tooth and venom in it.
  • A character reacts in pain and begins to disintegrate when the source of his power is repeatedly impaled. He eventually explodes (but without gore).
  • Lucius purposefully kicks Dobby several feet away from him and then hits him with a cane or wand.
  • Dobby uses magic to blast Lucius backwards through the air.
  • Parent Previews: C+
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is not for the fainthearted. Fans familiar with the book will remember the inclusion of several fearful creatures including snakes and spiders. (Any one with phobias will likely relate to Ron’s reactions to the situations.) While the movie script follows J.K. Rowling’s novel fairly faithfully, seeing these sometimes-sinister encounters depicted will be more frightening for many viewers than just reading about them.

    Profanity: 1.5/10

    kids in mind: 3/10
    8 mild obscenities, and insults.

    Common Sense Media: 0/10
    Hermione is called a “mudblood” by Draco, an offensive term in the Potter world meaning “dirty blood.”

    Screen It!: Minor
    At least 3 hells and 1 use of “Good Lord” as exclamations. Phrases: “Bloody” (adjective), “Freaky,” “What the devil are you doing up here?” “Wicked,” “Blimey” and “Bloody hell.”

    Parent Previews: A-

  • Running Time: 161 minutes
  • What does it have to do with Halloween? Nothing, but some pumpkins are seen


Despite warnings from Dobby (voice of Toby Jones), a self-abusive servant known as a house elf, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) decides to return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year.

Watch Out For

Common Sense Media:
Parents need to know that this movie is scarier than the first in the series and characters spend a lot of time in extreme peril. There are frightening creatures, including lots of big spiders and an enormous snake that can kill anyone who looks in its eyes. Though it appears that some characters have been hurt or killed, all the good guys are ultimately fine. Children who are not familiar with the story, however, may be upset. There are also some gross moments when Ron’s spell backfires and he spits up slugs, and when another misapplied spell leaves Harry without any bones in his forearm. Friendship, love, bravery, and loyalty are always major themes in the series. So is the idea of making good choices.

Screencaps courtesy of newsie__nympho

I'm warning you, if you can't control that bloody bird, it'll have to go“I’m warning you, if you can’t control that bloody bird, it’ll have to go.”

One more sound and you'll wish you'd never been born, boy.One more sound and you’ll wish you’d never been born, boy.

Dobby repeatedly hits himselfDobby repeatedly hits himself

You and that bloody pigeon aren't going anywhere.You and that bloody pigeon aren’t going anywhere.

Harry almost falls out of the flying carHarry almost falls out of the flying car

Bloody bird's a menace“Bloody bird’s a menace!”

No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood.“No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood.”

Ron throws up some slugsRon throws up some slugs

Ron throws up some slugsRon throws up some slugs

Harry hears a voice saying 'Let me rip you.  Let me kill you. Kill!  Kill!'Harry hears a voice saying ‘Let me rip you. Let me kill you. Kill! Kill!’

A message written in bloodA message written in blood

Argus threatens to kill Harry and his friends for the death of his catArgus threatens to kill Harry and his friends for the death of his cat

Malfoy falls to the groundMalfoy falls to the ground

Harry falls to the groundHarry falls to the ground

Professor Lockhart removes the bones from Harry's armProfessor Lockhart removes the bones from Harry’s arm

Harry hears a voice saying, 'Kill.  Kill.  Time to kill.'Harry hears a voice saying, ‘Kill. Kill. Time to kill.’

Who would ever talk about ugly, miserable, moping Moaning Myrtle?“Who would ever talk about ugly, miserable, moping Moaning Myrtle?”

Harry talks to a snakeHarry talks to a snake

Harry hears a voice saying, 'I want blood. They all must die. Kill. Kill. Kill. Time to kill.'Harry hears a voice saying, ‘I want blood. They all must die. Kill. Kill. Kill. Time to kill.’

Harry transforms into GoyleHarry transforms into Goyle

Ron exclaims, 'Bloody hell!'Ron exclaims, ‘Bloody hell!’

Hermione starts to transform from a cat back to herselfHermione starts to transform from a cat back to herself

Aragog the spiderAragog the spider

Aragog threatens to eat Harry and RonAragog threatens to eat Harry and Ron

Ron is attacked by a spiderRon is attacked by a spider

Another message scrawled in bloodAnother message scrawled in blood

It's a snakeskin.  Bloody hell.“It’s a snakeskin. Bloody hell.”

The basiliskThe basilisk

The basilisk threatens HarryThe basilisk threatens Harry

The head of the basiliskThe head of the basilisk

Harry defeats Tom RiddleHarry defeats Tom Riddle

Lucius Malfoy is knocked down by DobbyLucius Malfoy is knocked down by Dobby

Talk About It

Common Sense Media:
Families can talk about year two at Hogwarts and what Harry learns about himself. What traits are helping him become a hero figure? Why must he face is enemy alone? What do we find out about Tom Riddle and his diary later in the series that make them so important?

kids in mind:
DISCUSSION TOPICS – Racism (wizards vs. “Muggles”), wizardry, fear, celebrity, fame vs. ability, wealth vs. merit, hidden chambers, monsters, enslavement, loyalty.

MESSAGE – The difficult choices we make show who we really are.

Screen It!:

  • The use of magic/sorcery in the film.
  • Lucius makes racist-style comments about Hermione since her parents are Muggles (humans) and that she and others like her aren’t pure-blood types.
  • How the kids break some rules, but don’t give up in their quest to solve the mystery and defeat the villain and his monster.
  • Parent Previews:
    How do you feel about the statement made by the sage wizard Dumbledore (Richard Harris) when he tells Harry, “It is not our abilities, but our choices that show us who we really are”?

    In the story, an insecure character is profoundly influenced by the will of another more confident individual in whom they place their trust. What can you learn about peer pressure from this portrayal?

    Of Note

    • The film’s soundtrack was released on 12 November 2002, three days before the film was released. As with the first film, John Williams composed the score, but Williams was unable to do a complete score because of schedule conflicts with Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can. Williams hired composer William Ross to adapt themes from the first film, put them in Chamber of Secrets in places that they would fit, conduct and write new material (if needed).


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