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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 25.44%
Average: 18.34%
Pretty Bad: 8.28%
Total Crap: 11.24%

5 reviews, 139 user ratings

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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by Erik Childress

"Now THIS Is The Harry Potter We Were Waiting For"
4 stars

I was not onboard the Hogwarts train of praise of the first Harry Potter film. It wasn’t a bad film, just one I felt lacking in the overall magic thanks to a botched final act and several moments where the special effects were so below par that it was easy to squince when your eyes should be wide open in wonder. The prospect of sitting down to another two-and-a-half-hours (plus eleven) of a follow-up to a so-so children’s film that failed to delight me like the great flights of fancy of my youth didn’t exactly strike me as the potential for time well spent. But when it was all over, I could easily proclaim the Chamber of Secrets as a vastly superior film on every level, one that I’ll be willing to devote more time to again and again in the future.

The film begins in-between semesters at Hogwarts as Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is still having trouble receiving mail at the Dursley household. Warned by a visiting Elf named Dobby (a rather impressive CGI creation, voiced by Toby Jones) not to return to school as danger awaits, Harry is subsequently rescued from his barred-in existence by best friend Ron (Rupert Grint). They hightail it to class in his dad’s flying car where all the regulars, including Hermione (Emma Watson) await for a brand new adventure.

Seems someone has begun to petrify members of the school and it may have something to do with the legendary Chamber of Secrets that is rumored to reside somewhere on campus. Is there yet another rogue element on the teaching staff and does it have anything to do with the introduction of a pair of splendid additions to the character list? One of them being Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs), father of Harry’s archrival, the Arian youth candidate known as Draco (Tom Felton). His sneering presence is counterbalanced by the appearance of Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), incoming teacher for the defense of the Dark Arts whose fame and vanity precedes him.

The adult cast of Harry Potter already consists of some of the greatest character actors a movie lover could only hope to compile in a film fantasy league. From Richard Harris to Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman to Robbie Coltrane, the appendage of Isaacs and Branagh only culminates the possibility for extra smiles just to see them walking into the frame. Branagh’s performance in particular is one of the most enjoyable of the year. As the man who loves to smile just to see himself smile, there is not a wasted tick, breath (or smile) with him. So consummately hilarious is Branagh that he deserves a second, third, fourth and fifth look come Oscar time. Here’s hoping he gets nominated. One would be remissed though without giving yet another mention to the late, great Richard Harris whose speech to Harry about his bird, a phoenix, and its ability to rise from the ashes is liable to have fans choking back a healing tear or two.

The accomplished cast is only the frosting though as I would never dream of taking anything away from the youngsters who have to carry this film on their small shoulders. Radcliffe is really starting to mold himself into the Harry Potter we want to root for instead of just coasting on the name recognition of his character, which was about all the original film gave him. It’s unfortunate to see Watson’s screen time diminished in the final hour, but Rupert Grint more than makes up for it with a masterful blend of comic timing and the best fearful nuances since the Cowardly Lion. I do hope that in the later adventures, Ron & Hermione will get a chance to help Harry battle the final villains, but hope even more that filmmakers and author J.K. Rowling will allow us the chance to watch these actors fulfill these roles for all seven of her proposed stories. What a rare treat that would be.

Director Chris Columbus and his team of filmmakers either settled into their mammoth assignment or learned from the mistakes made with the Sorcerer’s Stone, because there’s no getting around that every aspect is an improvement. The flying effects which so hampered the original Quidditch sequence must have received a program upgrade because the match this time between Gryffindor and Slytherin is astounding. Save for an occasional obvious blue screen shot, this is the exciting realization of the sport we’ve been waiting for. In fact, all of the action in the Chamber of Secrets is exciting, especially Harry’s final confrontation with “the monster” which is about as fluent as visual effects get. Cheers to Columbus for not shying away from making this battle dark and even a bit bloody. Some parents may look upon it as being too violent, but this is exactly the kind of “PG-rated” fantasy I grew up with (notice Columbus’ pseudo-homage to his Gremlins script with the mischievous blue pixies) and frankly, nightmares get a bad rap. They build character.

Behind frightened eyes or not, this is great entertainment for kids of all ages. Artifacts and presences from the first chapter all make cameo appearances (the invisiblity cloak, spells, Diagon Alley) and add a sense of familiarity instead of all the overburdened setup that we had to endure the first time around before this series could really start evolving into something special. Such a great time I had with chapter two, that I find myself now torn with the opportunity to rush out and read the third book in eager anticipation of what happens to Harry, Ron and Hermione next or to wait until June of 2004 when The Prisoner of Azkaban will be released in theaters. While I would never advise someone NOT to read a book, having not become ensconsed with Rowling’s novels before the films myself, I find it best to starve myself. After all, it took a year to go from so-so to greatness. Only imagine what 19 months can do for incoming director Alfonso Cuaron when he tackles what many circles call the best book of the lot. With the Chamber of Secrets to keep me company though, the wait will be time well spent.

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originally posted: 11/15/02 05:58:37
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User Comments

2/19/15 hhshjjsjj PATHETIC 1 stars
1/06/15 steffany LOL only retarded people gave this crap 5 stars 1 stars
4/14/13 Voldemort The weakest entry in a film series based on a mediocre, massively overrated children's book 1 stars
7/12/12 Aimee Fontenot Awesome movie. First one is the best to me. 5 stars
12/14/10 Nathan I think I would have loved as a kid. 3 stars
11/22/10 jordan Lord of the Rings is the simplest idea ever and most boring. walk, say cheesy line, fight. 4 stars
1/28/10 Dane Youssef Suprasses the original, but sill more of the same. 4 stars
7/23/09 david worst of all the movies so far 2 stars
7/14/09 cody i think movie out did the first harry potter flick,visual effects are great as well. 4 stars
3/13/09 Anis This movie is gud like the previous movie but it lacks many imptnt incidents from the novel 4 stars
10/26/08 Shaun Wallner Well made. 5 stars
10/05/08 Lenny Zane Best Harry Potter movie so far. Hope series rises back to this level before end. 4 stars
9/26/08 Annie G The most clichéd and predictable of the series. Watch only for continuity. 3 stars
7/27/07 Bitchflaps A more confident effort than the first, but Columbus still doesn't do the script justice. 3 stars
7/14/07 Vincent Ebriega The first film is merely an introduction, this is really where it starts. 5/5. 5 stars
7/08/07 fools♫gold Profoundly average, and worse than the first. 3 stars
11/19/06 Ionicera Still average, but at least it has Wood. 3 stars
9/02/06 Stanley Thai Not the best but very entertaining. 4 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist The Harry Potter phenomena is an overrated, semi-kid friendly,popcorn flick. 3 stars
8/05/06 David Cohen A good film version, but too much of the book had to be cut 5 stars
6/23/06 George The most Developed novel adapting ever!!!!!! 5 stars
5/31/06 Emily its such a kool movie..i love it 5 stars
4/22/06 Jack Best in the 4 5 stars
1/08/06 Quigley the most enjoyable yet. definitely not a film kids should ever watch. its dark stuff, man! 4 stars
12/28/05 tony A great display of what Harry Potter actually is 4 stars
12/24/05 Krystal I think the boys are getting cuter in every movie! 5 stars
12/03/05 Jennifer S. A good and entertaining movie. 3 stars
11/27/05 mew the 1st was a piece of crap, but this was much better directed and contained greater soul 3 stars
11/27/05 Daveman Entertaining but frustrating in its unwillingness to live up to its potential 4 stars
11/24/05 chris marvellous 5 stars
11/16/05 Adrian Not as good as the first, but definately good. Excellent addition to the movie series. 5 stars
10/27/05 dobo fuks potter wankiest of the 3 so far/poor excuse for a fantasy film/watch lotr 1 stars
10/19/05 Valerie Just as good as the first! 5 stars
9/14/05 Jonathon Holmes an improvement over the juvenile Stone 3 stars
8/12/05 Littlepurch Thought the book would make a gd film, and wasn't really disappointed. 4 stars
7/07/05 morfiou black great movie i wached it yesterday good movie 5 stars
5/27/05 tony Very slow. But Great everything. Exept time 5 stars
4/23/05 Quigley better than #1, better CG, but still pretty dark stuff. LOTR is supreme here. sorry, folks. 3 stars
3/04/05 .... agreed 1 stars
2/09/05 New England Patriots = Dynasty LOTR for the smaller geeks 1 stars
2/05/05 i dont giv a sh1t about that little fag this is suppose to be a fantasy movie??ummmmmm i got more talent in my ass ha 1 stars
1/31/05 Bonnie James Even better than the first 5 stars
1/05/05 Steve Michaud Entertaining and diverting; suffers only from Columbus' pedestrian direction 4 stars
12/05/04 pothead was this film made by a complete muppet??? 1 stars
11/17/04 Gooey LOTR sux ass, and so do you 5 stars
10/26/04 lotrEEproper owns this shi& lol dobby was perfect?basilisk was good??pffthey both look fag like hp is 1 stars
8/06/04 Anthony G the girl is so fucking hott, shoes growing up :D 2 stars
6/02/04 ooop can wait to see the next sequel starring Jay & Silent Bob...Harry Pothead 2 stars
5/25/04 Puspa Allamanda Better than the first 4 stars
4/25/04 Carla i liked the basilisk, and dobby was perfect, but not a masterpiece 3 stars
2/17/04 Emil very well 5 stars
2/02/04 Rocko pile of horse shit 1 stars
1/08/04 Regina Bagwell I have not only seen the movie but, read the books. Your children will love it. 5 stars
12/30/03 Chris I love the Harry Potter films but this was a little to dark to be suitable for families. 3 stars
11/03/03 American Slasher Goddess Dark, atmospheric sequel and an improvement over the original. 5 stars
10/19/03 Littlepurch a HUGE improvement on the first. Gr8 film, gr8 cast. Harry is still too well-spoken tho! 5 stars
9/24/03 JesseL Harry Potter movies are uniformly excellent. 5 stars
9/06/03 Dean Halstead Emma Watson is the sexiest girl I have ever seen. 5 stars
9/03/03 L@^eNdEr 18 Daniel Radcliffe is very cute and plays it very nice!!!!! 5 stars
7/09/03 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Improvement on the first movie. God, what isn't? Still doesn't do justice to the book. 2 stars
7/05/03 Wynne Read the damn books if you want to compare them to Tolkien. But yes, Riddle is hot. 4 stars
6/11/03 TheOthersFan better than the first one, I must own, but Hollywood can do better 4 stars
5/31/03 Gavin McGregor FANTASTIC!!! The movie absolutely blew me away and is for all ages 5 stars
5/26/03 Biffy T Totally spiffing!!! 5 stars
5/24/03 Bloody Vixen Daniel can be replcaed by carboard boxes and noone will notice the difference! 2 stars
5/18/03 TLsmooth Convinced me to read the books, and that's saying a lot. 5 stars
4/28/03 ScRoOgED Boring, nothing special, tedious. 2 stars
4/26/03 Shadaan Felfeli I dozed off for 30% of the film.I may have enjoyed it if i had read the books first ! 3 stars
4/23/03 Heather Purplethorne A fun romp, eerie and creepy as I guess it's menat to be. 4 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Darker, more engaging, and superior to Sorcerer's Stone in every aspect. 5 stars
4/17/03 Roddy fangirl Tom Riddle is hot, Gilderoy Lockhart is sexy!! 5 stars
4/05/03 A HP Fan Great movie! Better than the first one. The kids are doing a great job. 5 stars
4/02/03 Mr. Do these people should die. 1 stars
3/27/03 Ionicera these kids can't act 3 stars
3/27/03 Taylor Good but far short of great 4 stars
3/24/03 kooler too long. . .had to leave by the 3rd ending. How many were there anyway? 3 stars
2/13/03 kz not as good as I expected 4 stars
2/10/03 FcPoliFan Good and bad 3 stars
1/25/03 Ana It's better than the first.It's awesome. 5 stars
1/22/03 MovieFan An excellent movie. Stop comparing it to LOTH. It's apples and oranges! 5 stars
1/11/03 Nick It focuses more on the mystery, which a good HP fan knows the outcome, but it's still great 4 stars
1/07/03 Lauren Kempler I loved it! 5 stars
12/31/02 Kit The movie may have seemed great, but it was very off from the book, and choppy. 2 stars
12/28/02 Harrys Turds Harry Potter is a poofter! Faggot fucker! 1 stars
12/21/02 Anarchy Azmi this is childish crap people....go watch the two towers... 1 stars
12/15/02 viking Better than "Attack of the Clones" !!!! 5 stars
12/11/02 Notsobookworm I agree. Read the books. 4 stars
12/10/02 Heather Much better than the first, of course the kids will love it 5 stars
12/10/02 Calandra It is the best movie!!! 5 stars
12/09/02 George No magic, much too long, I just dont' see what the fuss is about. LOTR for me... 1 stars
12/09/02 J. Chusing Could this movie be any longer? It just wouln't end. On and on and on and on. 2 1/2 hours 2 stars
12/09/02 John Lipian Whoo hoo! Man do I love Harry Potter! Harry Potter rules man! Totally! Go Potter!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/07/02 Jarrod_101 cut off about 30 minutes and you'd have a good movie. long for NO good reason. 3 stars
12/07/02 Michaelb14 enjoyed it 5 stars
12/07/02 Big B Buncha fucking zombies! It was SLOW. It was BORING. Spit out the purple kool-aid. 2 stars
12/05/02 Zargo enchanting 5 stars
12/05/02 Roger Read the books. That is where the magic is. 4 stars
12/04/02 Fonq35 My ass is giving me a kicking for putting it through 2 1/2 hrs of turgid tripe 2 stars
12/04/02 Ionicera woulda been better without all the cheesy parts 3 stars
12/04/02 Angry Black Man Harry Potter is the white Dolomite. He rocks!!!! 5 stars
12/03/02 TheOthersFan Plays up to the "murder mystery" aspect of the story much better than HPATSS. Bravo! 4 stars
12/02/02 dread You guys need to increase your entertainment level, dumbed-down fools 2 stars
11/29/02 nick2k pretty cool... 5 stars
11/29/02 James Norton This is a much better film 5 stars
11/26/02 Joe Levy This is one superb movie. My heart is still racing. Oh, and what a brilliant ending!!!!! 5 stars
11/25/02 Doc's friend Tony Scary, funny, and heart-warming. Best experienced with foreknowledge of book. 5 stars
11/24/02 Dustin Not just for kids. If you love the cinema, you'll love this one. 5 stars
11/23/02 rue the whirl bored out of my mind. nice fx. yawn... 2 stars
11/23/02 Nicole Left out some key stuff from the book, but do we really want to see a four hour movie? 4 stars
11/23/02 Jeff Fowler I love Harry Potter. Yeah Harry! Harry power!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/23/02 allie metselaay IT WAS THE BEST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN! 5 stars
11/22/02 Madeline Applegate It was such a good movie. The actors who play harry and Ron are soooo cute 5 stars
11/21/02 marissa IT WAS AN AWESOME MOVIE! I LOVED IT! 5 stars
11/21/02 M Had some plot holes, some errors, and some obvious effects but a fine movie still. 4 stars
11/20/02 jules cool 5 stars
11/20/02 Interrog8 Much better than the first. I actually enjoyed this one. 4 stars
11/20/02 miss gond Poor Mary Macgregor! ... And now Moaning Myrtle! Miss Jean Brody must be stopped! 4 stars
11/20/02 Mortis In the words of Patrick Starfish "SPIDERS!!!" Loved it. 5 stars
11/20/02 JesseL Great movie, better than the first. If you don't like it, you're too old. 5 stars
11/20/02 J Troscinski The movie lacked continuity and was salvaged only by Issacs and Baungh. 2 stars
11/20/02 Mary Parker It was very entertaining, and true to the book at the same time 5 stars
11/19/02 Tiffany Folse I love the movie. it really brought the book to life. 5 stars
11/19/02 satoke bad acting, bad script, boring plot. almost walked out on it. 2 stars
11/19/02 Pelican Kick ass bitchin movie 5 stars
11/19/02 bullit17 Excellent. Better than the first ... maybe better than the book 5 stars
11/18/02 jezsyca yeah, fucking awesome says it all right! 5 stars
11/18/02 Roberto Montobaun Just as good as the book, Not that good. 3 stars
11/18/02 Maria Evans It was really great I want to see it again, I give it an A+++ 5 stars
11/18/02 Butterbean Loved it! But I miss the hawkish looking flight instructor 5 stars
11/17/02 Chance Amazing special effects, great fun 5 stars
11/16/02 Yo Mama! WOW!!!! I don't really know what to say....loved the first....loved this one...just...WOW! 5 stars
11/16/02 kat the movie's great!!! i like it! and...and..and...daniel radcliff is so cute!! 5 stars
11/16/02 Senator Blutarsky Flounder, you loved the first one. This movie was even dumber! 1 stars
11/16/02 Stevie J You people are fucking nuts! These movies are peurile and lifeless. Cheesy effects & all 1 stars
11/16/02 Silver Gold It 's... It's... It's..."Faint"! 5 stars
11/13/02 Dave BRILLIANT!!! 5 stars
11/11/02 Kablamo FUCKING BOLLOX 1 stars
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  15-Nov-2002 (PG)



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