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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 Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Lots more of the same isn't better. In HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, again directed by Chris Columbus and adapted for the screen by Steven Kloves from a J.K. Rowling novel, we continue where we left off last time. This super economy sized version of HARRY POTTER certainly gives viewers more HARRY for their money, but its bloated length -- almost three hours of the same thing as last time -- wore out this critic. Still, for those whose only reservation about the long first episode was that it wasn't long enough, this HARRY should make them ecstatic. It certainly wowed my family of avid HARRY fans.

Parents with younger HARRY fans will have two potential problems. In addition to the fidget factor caused by the picture's excessive length, they will have to worry about the nightmares it may cause their tykes. Its PG-rating is a joke. This should-have-been-PG-13 movie had even my 13-year-old jumping. There are many quite violent and frightening images as well as some gross ones like Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) puking large, slimy slugs.

Daniel Radcliffe repeats his role as Harry Potter, but it falls to Emma Watson to again, as Hermione Granger, steal the show. She's a real charmer whose entire film career consists of nothing but the POTTER films. Why other producers don't snatch her up for their movies is a real mystery.

The movie's mystery this time revolves around the infamous "Chamber of Secrets." Some bad guy -- or gal -- opened it, causing no end of potentially deadly problems. Harry and Company are trying to solve the mystery, as the fate of Hogwarts School itself hangs in the balance.

The two best parts of this episode are two new characters, Dobby the House Elf and Gilderoy Lockhart. Dobby is a masochistic little figure who looks like Yoda's distant cousin. He is voiced imaginatively and sympathetically by Toby Jones.

The author of "Magical Me" and other best sellers, Lockhart is a five-time winner of Witch Weekly's best smile award. This humorous character, who is a slightly fraudulent wizard like the one in THE WIZARD OF OZ, is played with gusto by Kenneth Branagh. "Fame is a fickle friend, Harry," he tells his young pupil in one of many good lines. "Celebrity is as celebrity does." Branagh manages to capture almost all of the script's best dialog.

After scenes lifted from the horror spoof EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS and other films, Harry finally proclaims, "It's over." Don't breathe a sigh of relief, however, because the movie drags on for another twenty minutes after that.

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS runs an incredibly long 2:41. It is rated PG for "scary moments, some creature violence and mild language" and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and up, depending on how susceptible they are to nightmares.

My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it ****. He liked the way it was true to the book and was a lot bloodier than the first film. He said that there wasn't a bad part in the entire movie. He then qualified that to say, except for the vomiting up the slugs' part.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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