I have no love for Chris Columbus as a director, but his best Harry Potter film is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Year two of Harry’s tenure at Hogwarts is the start of the darkness in the series and Columbus couldn’t shy away from this and that is what gives this film more flavor than his other directorial efforts. Columbus by definition is a director that likes the light and heart warming, and what no one knew at the time the Harry Potter films started is that Rowling was going to take the wizzarding world to very dark, depressing and real places – places other “children’s” works don’t go.
A major theme in the books, one that hasn’t been totally transferred into the films is the idea of racism. The pure blood wizzarding families don’t like the muggle born wizards or half-bloods and want them out of their world. It’s dark, it’s real and it’s not raised very much in the movies and for this I blame Columbus. When Rowling first, truly hits this theme on the head it’s in Chamber of Secrets with the Malfoy family, Dobby and the fact that Hermionie is a muggle born.
I think it was at this point that Columbus realized he loved this world but couldn’t fit it and decided to do what he truly does best – produce.
Lucius Malfoy: Busy time at the Ministry, Arthur, all those extra raids? I do hope they're paying you overtime. Though judging by the state of this, I'd say not. What's the use in being a disgrace to the name of wizard if they don't even pay you well for it?
Arthur Weasley: We have a very different idea about what disgraces the name of wizard, Malfoy.
Lucius Malfoy: Clearly. Associating with muggles. And I thought your family could sink no lower.