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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Review by Ross Anthony

I enjoyed the "Sorcerer's Stone" well enough, perhaps my biggest gripe being a sort of detached main character. Harry seemed to be more of a spectator than participant in his own film. In "Chamber of Secrets" that changes for the better. Yes, he's appropriately a follower early on in the film when being swept once again from the grips of his nasty foster family, but as the film progresses, his involvement steps up at a very mature pace.

"Chamber of Secrets" is a good film! The special effects are used well and dare I say "magically," (save for a certain snake) most snuggled warmly into the film, resisting the urge to simply pop off like fireworks. The Weasley's flying Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secretscar brings back warm fuzzy memories of Disney's original Flubber films. The rich clever little touches of magic (a howling envelope, spoon clock, self-cleaning cookware, etc.) will bring you right into the picture along with Harry and cronies.

Columbus deserves praise for the pace and telling of Chamber. You'll be drawn in at once and never let go. The story develops respectably, building confidently to its ending. In fact, the first climax (or climax tease) presents perhaps the film's biggest mar. I won't mention more as not to spoil, but this sequence plays needlessly "Hollywood." Additionally, a series of coincidences pitting Harry as the bad guy seem rather tedious concoctions. But, I suppose, these are the fears of teens/pre-teens. Which reminds me of a fine scene in which a child has her feelings hurt over some name-calling -- very appropriate conflict material for this predominately children's film.

But the film does many other things well. An egomaniac professor (Kenneth Branagh) with his brag book "Magical me" lights the screen via electric vanity every time he's in frame. The quidditch game reprise is always good for a ride and I also enjoyed the tree vs. car fight sequence.

Mostly fun, somewhat enchanting, and at a few turns -- surprisingly spooky. Spiced with amusing magical details and seasoned with a mature pace, "Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets" is a fine choice for audiences of all ages.

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Copyright © 2002. Rated PG.
  • Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint Emma Watson, Kenneth Branagh, Robbie Coltraine, Warwick Davic, Richard Griffiths, Richard harris, jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters.
  • Directed by Chris Columbus.
  • Screenplay by Steve Kloves, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling.
  • Produced by David Heyman at Warner Brothers.

Grade (Adults) ................................A-
Grade (Kids) ..................................A+

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:08:43 PDT