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Overall Rating
3.68

Awesome36.69%
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 EricDSnider

"The 'Chamber' Potter isn't a very good No. 2."
3 stars

The film version of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" has a distinct been-there, done-that feel about it.

The first film vividly depicted the magical world of wizard-in-training Harry Potter, and it was a delight to see the richly detailed narrative of the book brought to life.

But we've seen it. Now, in the second movie, we need to see them DO something with it.

Unfortunately, "Chamber of Secrets" is the least interesting of the four novels. The first book had the novelty of Hogwarts and its inhabitants going for it, and books three and four (and presumably the eagerly anticipated five through seven) grow successively darker and more intricate. "Chamber of Secrets" is somewhere in between, past the exposition but not quite to the real heart of the series yet.

With "Chamber of Secrets" being secondary in quality to its brethren, it is no surprise that the film version seems like a bit of fluff that we munch on while waiting for the good stuff to arrive.

Even within the film, we have to wait. Director Chris Columbus and screenwriter Steve Kloves are as slavishly devoted to the text as they were in the first film. This means 30 minutes of movie time before Harry even gets to Hogwarts, and another 15 minutes after that before the first hint of the film's plot. Forty-five minutes is a lot of time to waste, especially when your movie runs for another two hours beyond that.

The reason, of course, is that fans who have memorized the books will riot if anything is omitted from them. So even though it is unwise, from a storytelling standpoint, to include the unnecessary and lengthy flying-car sequence — not to mention the bit where Harry upsets his aunt and uncle yet again, and the traveling-by-flue-powder, and so on — well, here they are anyway.

The film's real story, once we get to it, has to do with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) hearing mysterious voices, and a series of students being petrified by some unseen menace. It falls on Harry, flanked by pals Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), to solve the mystery and save Hogwarts, while staying clear of archenemy Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) and his cold-hearted father (Jason Isaacs).

The acting is improved this time around, particularly among the three young leads. Their chemistry together as friends is more evident, and as the story starts to hint at deeper themes of destiny and loyalty, the kids' acting moves with it.

It is a pleasure to see the recently departed Richard Harris once again as headmaster Dumbledore, along with Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman and Robbie Coltrane as McGonagall, Snape and Hagrid, respectively — though it's unfortunate their roles couldn't all be larger.

Kenneth Branagh is a fantastic addition as the smarmy Gilderoy Lockhart, the dashing figure called in as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor.

Dobby the house elf (voiced by Toby Jones) is a computer-animated figure who warns Harry of danger and frequently hurts himself as punishment for being a bad house elf. I never believed he and Harry were actually in the same room together. "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" came out 14 years ago, but its humans and cartoons interacted a lot more believably than they do here.

As a whole, the film is too slow-paced to stand on its own merits. Several mini-adventures, like Harry and Ron being chased by a swarm of huge spiders, seem like sidetracks rather than parts of a greater adventure. Where "Chamber of Secrets" will be viewed a success is in accurately, and occasionally imaginatively, bringing the book to life. As a movie, judged on its own merits, it's too long, too slow and too unfocused.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6341&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/04/03 16:53:35
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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
5/18/08 PAUL SHORTT DARK, BLAND AND OLD-FASHIONED 1 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
4/22/05 Pippin007 WHO EVER SAYS LOTR SUCKS ARE LOSERS AND ARE GAY!! HARRY POTTERIS DUMB AND G+FOR LOSER!! LOT 1 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Nov-2002 (PG)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  28-Nov-2002




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