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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint
Director: Chris Columbus
Rated: PG
RunTime: 161 Minutes
Release Date: November 2002
Genres: Kids, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Kenneth Branagh, John Cleese, Christian Coulson

Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

The second installment in the ongoing film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's series is scarier, darker, longer and even better than the first. Assuming that everyone in the audience is familiar with the characters and the setting, screenwriter Steve Kloves and director Chris Columbus skip the exposition and immediately launch into the plot. Harry Potter's summer vacation is ended abruptly when Dobby, a house elf, suddenly appears in his bedroom at the dreadful Dursleys, warning him of great danger. There's a malevolent presence lurking in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, petrifying students into a stony stupor. With his friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), heroic Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) must not only find the dreaded Chamber of Secrets but battle the Basilisk serpent hiding within. Along with Headmaster Dumbledore (Richard Harris), Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith), huge Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) and vicious Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), there are a bevy of new characters, including Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), whose vanity knows no bounds, and Herbology Professor Sprout (Miriam Margolyes), who graphically demonstrates how to transplant a howling Mandrake. Production designer Stuart Craig and cinematographer Roger Pratt create dazzling delights - like a flying Ford Anglia, a red envelope containing a "howler" message and a fast-paced Quidditch match. Yet at 161 minutes, it's overly long and some scenes may be too sinister and intense for children under age 8. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is an enchanting, enthralling, eye-popping 10, a magical miracle of moviemaking.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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