Projections - Movie Reviews

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Directed by Chris Columbus, the second of the Potter films is a much darker, yet truly entertaining fantasy.

Thirteen year old Daniel Radcliffe is again the bespeckled Harry Potter.  He's taller and older, but he needs added maturity in a more grown up storyline.

His friends, red-headed Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermonie Granger (Emma Watson) join Potter back at the magnificent Hogwarts School.  Hermonie is as bright as ever, and Weasley provides the much needed comic relief as his voice cracks with a sequel whenever he faces danger, which is pretty often.

The late Richard Harris reprises his role as headmaster Albus Dumbledore, as does Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagal and Robbie Coltraine as Hagrid the gentle giant.

Little time is spent reacquainting us with the characters, before strange goings on begin at Hogwarts.  A pet cat and some of Potter's classmates are found petrified in the school hallways, and warnings written in blood on the walls tell of horrible things to come, but that doesn't keep Potter and his friends from investigating the Chamber of Secrets.

Everything seems bigger and more ominous in this J.K. Rowling story.  There are heretofore undisclosed tunnels and caves underneath the school.  Even the Quidditch field is larger and more physical games occur this time around.

Three new characters join the large cast.  The featured two are the evil Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) who sneers as much as his son Draco (Tom Felton), and the delightful Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart, a pompous magician who teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts classes.

The action mostly happens in the last third of the film, which pits the good Potter against evil in the guise of a huge serpent which resembles the creature from Alien.

Some of the scarier scenes involve the Whomping Willow Tree, Moaning Myrtle, a ghost who haunts the girls' bathroom, and a zillion spiders which inhabit the spooky Forbidden Forest.

I enjoyed the scenes where everyone was gathered in more genial settings, like the scenes where faculty and students are gathered in the great dining hall and the first Quidditch game before it becomes a grudge match.  The scenes in the classroom where students learn fantastic new magic tricks add a fairy tale quality to the film.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets holds as much magic and thrills as its predecessor, it is an ambitious and wonderful adventure from beginning to end.

 
Frank
Chris
Tony
Jim
Howard
Jennifer
Kathleen
Avg.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
B+
B+
B+
B+
A
B+
B+
B+
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