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
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
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