Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) Poster

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The first milestone. Sinister mystery of Hogwarts.
BiiivAL5 June 2018
"... The magical power that came to Joan Rowling from a different world, pulls for itself, and the book is read in one breath." Book Review, December 18, 2000

The second book about the adventures of the young wizard Harry Potter world waited impatiently. And finally, he waited. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" appears before the reader's eyes with a bright and original work. Of course, it relies on the first book, but it remains individual. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" - a darker and more terrible book, unlike the first. So became the film. But the film and the book have not lost their charm and easy immediacy. It's still the same kind of fairy tale about the fight between good and evil, where good will certainly win.

The magical world of Harry Potter has not changed. All the same oblique streets of London, the splendor of Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest with its secret inhabitants, The slanting alley, the eerie Lute Lane, the unfriendly Rattling Willow, the huge school yard, the stunning quidditch. All this was preserved and was moved by magic wave in the second film, only slightly transformed. Hogwarts is a bright and active participant in all events. This castle, which became home for Harry, is no less important character than our young hero. Hogwarts carries in itself tying knowledge and great wisdom. This huge, majestic building knew a lot in its time. And all its secrets, its architecture and attract the eye.

In "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" we meet the amazing and frightening creatures of the magical world. Dobby's elf is very cute and funny. In such a small, frail body is hidden a wide soul, suffering in vain. He does his best to protect Harry from danger. But Harry Potter, like a magnet, attracts them. Favorite animal Hagrid turns into an unpleasant monster - a giant giant spider Aragog. He is wise, old, but does not inspire confidence. And on top of everything, the mighty, dangerous serpent Basilisk appears on the screen. There are many legends about this snake, and Joan Rowling decided to add it to her epic. And, in principle, not in vain. He inspires reverence and horror, but at the same time a frank desire for Harry to finish him off quickly. Another amazing character in the film is Phoenix Fawkes. Amazing bird flown from the pages of the book to the screen. She is an ancient mythical creature, dying and rising from the ashes. It reminds us of the eternal cycle of life and death. Special effects in the film, in other ways, as in the first, not at altitude. But even seeing a few implausible spiders and a snake, you believe everything that is happening on the screen. The magical, mysterious, magical and frankly amazing world of Harry Potter draws and you just do not want to return to reality. Chris Columbus, who became the director of the Potters for the second time, could not lose the charm and atmosphere of the first film. Just the movie "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" became more sinister, frightening and full of dangers.

Characters have not changed. Bright, alive, emotionally embodied on the screen of their heroes magnificent English actors. The cold and tough Potions master Severus Snegg performed by Alan Rickman, the same adamant Minerva McGonagall, the wise director of the Hogwarts School Albus Dumbledore (the eternal memory of Richard Harris, who died three weeks before the premiere of the film), the kind-hearted forester Hagrid. Pleased with new characters. Lucius Malfoy performed by Jason Isaacs is cruel, adamant. It just blows something negative and extremely unpleasant. Zlatopust Lokons is the life-builder, reclining on the laurels of others. He turned out to be too sugary, pretty, I would even say sugary. And, undoubtedly, the actor Kenneth Bran is on top. His character, or rather his performance, is very ironic. The unchanged trio of the main characters remained the same. Harry Potter is the star of the magical world, the orphan boy, who grew up in disgusting muggles, displays remarkable courage, desperation and determination. The one with which courage he rushes into battle, you can just envy. I'm torn by internal contradictions, his similarity with Lord Voldemort, his knowledge of the snake tongue. He is afraid of all this. And Harry desperately tries to understand himself. But when you need to become a hero, he is ready for this, because he is a hero in the full sense of the word. He is ready to give his own life for others. Is this not the highest manifestation of heroism? But Harry does not boast of it. And this is a huge plus to his character.

"I'm sure that Mr. Potter will always be there to save us." - "Certainly." Lucius Malfoy and Harry Potter.

Ron Weasley remained absolutely the same except for the character. He transformed, becoming better. His behavior towards Hermione, when she was insulted by Draco, calling her a Mudblood, his courage in the Forbidden Forest among not one hundred spiders, whom he fears until his death, causes respect and approval.

Hermione Granger is still the same smart girl with a lively mind and a great intellect. She is very natural and sincerely wants to help others. With her character there are certain metamorphoses. Hermione clearly ceases to be such an avid guardian of order.

"We are badly influenced by it." Ron Weasley, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Tom Narvolo Reddle is the past of the cruelest magician of the magical world of Lord Volan de Mort. This character is interesting with his striking resemblance to Harry. They are like halves of one whole. Harry has collected all the good and positive, in Voldemort everything is bad and negative. They are very similar, but they are very different. The choice. That's what makes Harry the way he is and distinguishes him from a dark magician. Choosing Harry to live the life he wants. His choice.

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" - a magical, mysterious, full of magic, amazing and terrible creatures canvas director Chris Columbus. For the second time we stepped into this unique world full of mysteries and terrible discoveries. Music, Gothic entourage, Hogwarts and unchanging heroes in the fight against evil: welcome to the magical world of Harry Potter, created by the hand of a fabulous storyteller Joan Rowling.
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Darker fantasy than the first Potter film...brisk despite its length...
Doylenf20 June 2003
Prepare yourself for a darker fantasy this time with some harrowing and scary special effects. Apparently J.K. Rowling has hit upon the fact that kids love to be scared stiff along with being entertained by touches of humor and excitement--although I think her imagination works overtime on scenes like the vomiting fit for Ron, one of the more tasteless sequences.

And apparently the makers of this Potter film have met the challenge of providing spiders and snakes that are hideous enough to have Ron and the audience in a fit of hysterics. It's all here--the main events anyway of the Rowling book--and for extra measure they've given a much needed humorous role to Kenneth Branagh who has great fun with his role as the self-loving Gilderoy Lockhart. The only real drawback is that Maggie Smith has very little to do--but the main chores belong to Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint who continue to charm as the three leads. Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy has a commanding presence and an amusingly wicked final scene involving the computer created Dobby who steals every scene he's in.

Should keep Potter fans happy--and for a movie two-and-a-half hours long it moves along at a brisk pace from one adventure to another with what by now appears to be mechanical skill, thanks to artful direction by Chris Columbus who knows how to keep this sort of thing moving. John Williams' perky score is a distinct help.
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I want more!!!
Cheese-189 November 2002
Chris Columbus said he wanted to make a 2,5 hour movie that feels like 30 Minutes. Well, in my case he surely succeeded! I saw the movie as a member of the press and couldn't get enough of it. I would have gladly sat in the cinema for another two or three hours with a biiiig smile on my face.

Like part one, "chamber of secrets" stays true to the book. I don't know about you - but I HATE it when movie makers change the storylines, add or remove characters and do it for the "sake of the art". I think they do it because they are too lazy to create their own storys, so they rip off other peoples ideas and crush them to make it more comfortable... If a book is loved by millions of readers there must be a good reason for that. Chris Columbus has captured the essence of the book on screen. So, after "philosophers stone" he delivered again!

When reading the book I always envisioned Michael Crawford playing Gilderoy Lockhart. His broad smile and clumsiness à la Frank Spencer would have been perfect for the role. But instead we get to see Kenneth Branagh, so of course you won't see ME complain. The great find of the movie is Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy. In his short scenes onscreen he makes your blood freeze. And again: all the casting is brilliant. Every character just feels right - even if you imagined something different when you read the book. There also has been talk about the young actors getting older. Well, let me remind you that this also happens in the books. In every book Harry Potter and his friends are one year older. So there's no excuse to take the roles away from Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. I couldn't imagine someone else playing their parts.

Go see "the chamber of secrets". It's pure fun and excitement! And it will wet your appetite for more to come. Richard Harris couldn't have asked for a better movie and legacy to be remembered by.
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A great sequel!
cp7410 November 2002
If you liked the first one then you're going to love this! There's a darker atmosphere this time around and more characters are introduced including Gilderoy Lockhart (hilariously played by Kenneth Branagh), Draco Malfoy's father, Lucius (a great performance by Jason Isaacs, exactly how I imagined the character from the books!), Ron's father, Arthur, and the mysterious Dobby the house elf (fortunately he isn't anywhere near as annoying as other CG characters in other movies, but I won't name any names... *cough*JarJarBinks*cough*)

The movie sticks closely to the novel, but as in the last movie we miss some of those scenes where we start to learn a little more about the characters, especially the hate-hate relationship between Harry and Professor Snape (who was seriously underused in this movie!)

All in all it's definitely worth checking out, the running time of 160 minutes may seem a little long but it doesn't seem that long when you're watching it. By the way, whatever you do DO NOT leave until the credits have ended, otherwise you'll miss a little extra treat...
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The Chamber of Secrets has been opened at long last!!!!
Aberlass8 November 2002
Lessons learned since the 1st film! Clearly this film was edited at script stage rather than the cutting room floor stage!! This story reads as film narrative, rather than a book illustration, which was the big mistake of the 1st film. Anyone can watch this film and follow it without knowing the book. The 1st hour is pure laugh out loud fun (the adults in my Cinema audience were shouting with laughter!). The last hour is scary, wand dropping tension.

The problem is: how do we convince muggles put-off by the 1st film to go see this one? Why should they give this one a chance? Answer: If you know someone who likes Fun, make them see this film! This film is not about 'Oscars' & Acting, despite the fabulous performances by all the adults, it is about enjoying the overall effect of the film, this being to give the viewer a long lasting buzz. Brilliant! The staging is very theatrical in it's minimalism, yet extravagantly arty in visual specifics. In the not to distant future I see fans going to a regular weekend slot at their local cinema for Audience Participation fun. Wands, swords, sorting hat, spiders, mandrakes & crucial ear muffs as standard props! Lots of gaps for us to shout out funny quips. A Rocky Horror Show Audience Participation Show for kids! Long overdue.

My Rating: 8/10. Not a masterpiece of cinematic potential, but such jolly good fun that no one should be denied the joy of a "Bloody Marvelous" frolic. A film for the child within us adults. Go see it with a predominantly adult audience if you want to experience the real buzz of unfettered emotion. Only three children were present at the Preview I witnessed and they were silently spellbound whereas the adults evoked emotion noisily throughout and then stood up, cheered and applauded at the end! I shall never forget this truly magical experience.

Richard Harris you can not be replaced, you will always be Dumbledore, and hence Omnipresent. Thank you for the fantastic finale to a wonderful life that you gave us. Thank you. And Thank you JK & Chris. You did it, the Chamber is well & truly open now!
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A wonderful journey into a world where magic is, indeed, real.
ivony17 May 2003
Having three daughters I have a choice when a great book comes out: buy three of them (EXPENSIVE!!), force someone to wait until the other is done before they can read the book (sure, I enjoy breaking up fights!), or read it to them. I chose to read it to them so we could ALL enjoy it...and we did! Naturally, the kids were excited when the movie came out. However, when I saw the first Harry Potter, I was terrified it was going to be "butchered" like most "books to movies" are; but was pleasantly surprised by the relatively "stick to the book" script it displayed. Sure, some things were left out undoubtedly due to time constraints, but overall, it conveyed the story well.

Chamber of Secrets did this even better.

As an avid reader, I am quite hesitant to see my beloved books displayed on screen only to have the directors do them no justice. However, with both Harry Potter movies, the visuals were spectacular, the acting well done, and the characters almost perfectly matched. The set design for Diagon Alley and the Weasley house was fabulous! How wonderful to see these places come to life outside of our imaginations! This stays true for nearly every aspect of Hogwarts...from the greenhouse, to the moving staircases, the dorms and Dumbledore's office.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson do superb jobs of playing Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The movie undoubtedly draws you in and makes you forget that this isn't real...quite an acheivement!

Of course, not all moviegoers will enjoy this one. It is not for the die-hard action fan, the horror-only fans, or those that dislike a bit of magic, imagination, and fantasy. But for the rest of us, Chamber of Secrets accurately depicts what until now, only our imaginations could see. Children will love this for the wizardry and magic, the struggle between Harry and his foes, the friendships that abound, and the simple fun of it all; while adults will love it for bringing them back to a time when magic was, indeed, real.

All in all, I give this a 5 out of 5...fantastically done. Of course, I would have liked to see a bit more scenes from the book added, but I understand time restrictions. Great film and a definite must see!
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The story starts here!
swright-310 November 2002
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a huge step on from the first film. In the Philosophers stone we were introduced to the the world of Harry Potter and given a taster of what lies ahead.

In the Chamber of Secrets the main story line for the series of books really starts to be told. It is much darker and sinister than the first film and Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint give good performances and give us a glimpse of the fine actors they are becoming.

Kenneth Branagh and Jason Isaacs are perfectly cast as Gilderoy Lockhart and Lucius Malfoy and truly bring the characters from the book to life. Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley while under used in this film is going to be great in the next few as his character has more to do. The Cinematography is again superb and somehow the Quiddich game is better than in the first film.

A fine sequal to the first film and should dispel any notion that the first one was just a one hit wonder.

A firm 10 in my book.
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Not the target of this movie...but still enjoyable.
aussie-218 November 2002
Not being a fan of the Harry Potter Movies, I toddled along to the first showing of this movie at my local UGC Cinema and sat down and thirly enjoyed this movie, but not in the way that I would enjoy something like the Lord of The Rings or Spider-Man. Of course Harry Potter's target audience is of a younger age so I can see how I might not have enjoyed it as much as a slightly younger audience, but to say the least it is a lot better than some of the crap that is fizzled out these days.

Crap this is not and a year on the main characters are a lot older, taller and voices broken. Many of the original cast return and a few new characters appear in this such as Kenneth Branagh and Jason Isaacs. Kenneth Branagh plays a wonderful part of Gilderoy Lockhart who seems to think he's adored by all and quite frankly he is adored by women for his charm and bravery. He was one of the better bits in the movie as was Jason Isaacs who played Lucius Malfoy father of Draco. Jason sports a nice long wig and plays the evil father/villian down to a T. He plays it much like his villian in The Patriot. I was sometimes phased by Rupert Grint's "Ron". He isn't that great an actor, but he could play his part satisfactory. He could have done better, but then again I have not read the book so I would not know how Ron would have behaved. I guess the scenes he played a scary person (which was quite a lot) in weren't convincing enough for me, but kids should get a good laugh out of him more than I did. I suppose you can't hold it against the kids who aren't up to par because they're just young and learning the actors trade, but for those who play their part well they should get a pat in the back.

The SFX were impressive, especally the character of Dobby. He was well great. I couldnt tell he was CG by his bad creation, but through the fact there was no way they could have done it otherwise. In fact the CG character of Dobby is very similar looking to Gollum in Lord of The Rings and the CG Asgard in television series Stargate SG-1 (speaking of textures) which which speaks well for Stargate SG-1 if it can do just as good as a top movie like this...and top it is. The CG Spiders were incredibly creepy and realistic looking. Not being too scared of Spiders, they kind of made me jump. I felt by body tense up as the gave case to Harry and Ron, which is a good thing because not often do I find myself doing this in movies. The person I had sat beside seemed pretty scared of the spiders as well.

John Williams score was very much like his original score with old themes returning and some of the music sounding like music from his Indiana Jones scores. I found myself whistling the main theme of Harry Potter for most of the night and on occasion not realizing I was doing it until someone else pointed it out to me.

This movie certainly had better action sequences and a lot more action geared than The 1st Potter movie. I found myself clenching up at points as they were really tense. The story wasn't too difficult to understand from a non-potter-fan point of view and the film was a lot shorter than I expected. I had thought it ran for three hours when it was more like 2 1/2. In some cases I found that you had to have seen the 1st movie to understand some of what was going on, but that was mainly due to the back story of he who shall not be uttered and some of the gags. The only thing that annoyed me was that the cues in the Foyer were too long and I couldnt get an ice cream and there was some little toddler crying down the front row for a few minutes mid-way. Why bring a toddler who's going forget about the film by next week? You may ask this yourself.

If you're not a mad-potter-fan then I would suggest you wait a few weeks so that you're not over run with humans who stand 4 feet tall...ie. CHILDREN! (I'm not talking about Dwarves)

I'd give it 8.5/10. But I am not a huge fan of these movies and I am not the target audience. That's a good thing in case you were wondering.
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Character palette and story drives me to read the books
EVANOC1 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
A lot has been made about the pubescence of the three leads in this new Harry Potter installment and it is a bit disconcerting when Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) speak their first lines in those awkward cracks of pre-adolescence. However, their growing up, along with the physical blossoming of their friend Hermione (the perky and smart actress Emma Watson) seem mark a general growing up of the whole Harry Potter series. This one is more for grown-ups: the first one hooked the kid demographic and no doubt they will still be enraptured by "Chamber of Secrets." This is the film, however, that hopes to attract a whole new audience in the parents of those kids. It is darker and has more layers. The explanations about wizardry are less cursory and the acting seems stronger.

I have never read the books so I bring an outlook to the films that is free of personal bias toward the quality of the adaptation or the faithfulness to Rowling's words. One thing this film does do, that the first one did not, is it made me want to read the books. I was more drawn in, in a literary sense, to the world, to the stories, and particularly to the characters. Whereas the first film was a passable introduction to everything Harry Potter is about, this seems like a deeper riff on some of the same themes that the first one only glossed over.

However, I might not have enjoyed Chamber of Secrets as thoroughly if I had not first seen Sorcerer's Stone. It gave me (and Chris Columbus' production team) a framework that invited expansion. Without the background of the first film, I might not have been as emotionally invested in Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), or have understood the mechanics of "Quidditch," or even have cared about the tenuous future of Hogwarts School for Wizards.

In a word, the performances are "marvelous." I read somewhere that Rowling wrote with a Dickensian sense of character and that seems to carry over to the film. Robbie Coltrane as the affable Hagrid is still my favorite. Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman are woefully underused in this film but I can only hope they will resurface in the others; they can still steal their scenes with the tiniest pursing of the lips or eye flickers. (As a side note: Outside of Coltrane's Hagrid, I find Rickman's Professor Snape the most interesting and multi-layered character across both films). Richard Harris is suitably noble and wily in one of his last roles. And Kenneth Branagh, as the egomaniacal new Hogwarts professor and author of wizardry books, is perfectly cast and very funny. One thing this film does is allow room to explore these characters in a full sense and give the audience time to get under their skin.

Chris Columbus has been called a tactless director and I can see where some of his scenes, particularly the action ones, are played so broadly that they lose all semblance of meaning. He is not particularly adept at handling the young actors, who come across as pretty bland and uninteresting (Rupert Grint as Ron is sort of annoying, overplaying the stuff that was likeable at first). Likewise, he is unable to invigorate some of the scenes (the car scenes, the spider scene, and even the final encounter between Harry and the Chamber of Secrets' monster) come off as overlong and particularly flat. The running time of 2 hours and 41 minutes is a bit exorbitant: To me it just suggests that Columbus doesn't have the necessary audacity to deviate too much from Rowling's source material. I know that he has to maintain a certain level of faithfulness to the books but, to be honest, what is exciting on the page does not always translate well onscreen. Perhaps Alfonso Cuaron, slated to direct the new film, will have a better, snappier sense of how to energize the action scenes without losing the obvious positives of sticking to the novels.

However, the movie did energize me enough to want to go and read the books. The scope, the palette of, yes, Dickensian characters, and the intertwining of stories makes me want to see how Rowling fits it all together. Then maybe I'll be able to talk more intelligently about faithfulness when Cuaron releases `Prisoner of Azkaban.' Maybe I'll undergo a massive reading program this holiday season.
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Back to school, Mr. Potter: a superior second installment
MaxBorg8920 November 2005
Having done a good job with the first Harry Potter flick, one shouldn't be surprised Chris Columbus was asked to direct the sequel as well. And the second film actually improves on its predecessor, getting a little edgier and less children-friendly (two factors that raise exponentially with each new installment), even though it does repeat an old mistake in certain places.

So, what about the plot? Well, it's Harry's (Daniel Radcliffe) second year at Hogwarts, and everything should be fine, given he defeated Voldemort in the previous film and there are no other threats lurking in the magical world. Or are there? A mysterious house elf named Dobby seems to think so, as he repeatedly tries to prevent Harry from returning to school and keeps asking him to leave when students start being attacked by a supernatural, unknown foe. All this seems to be connected to the Chamber of Secrets, but that isn't of much help, especially considering the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, famous writer Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), is a complete idiot.

Darker and faster, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets repeats the Philosopher's Stone's mistake of being slightly too faithful to the literary source, but Columbus manages to compensate this flaw with better visuals, some really creepy set-ups and improved acting from the younger cast members (Emma Watson in particular). He has also made interesting choices when it comes to the new faces in the adult group: Branagh is very, very funny as the ego-fueled Lockhart (a role originally intended for Hugh Grant), but the most interesting addition is Jason Isaacs (whom I can't wait to see again in the fourth film) as Lucius Malfoy, an intriguingly sinister wizard who is as racist and arrogant as his son, Harry's arch-nemesis Draco. As for Dobby, a CG creature voiced by Toby Jones, he is interesting at first but rapidly becomes annoying, his masochistic antics being repetitive and a little dull.

Finally, a special mention for Chamber's best element: Richard Harris, who sadly passed away a few weeks before the movie's premiere. He was, and is, incredibly good as headmaster Dumbledore and despite a worthy replacement (Michael Gambon), in the purists' hearts he will always be the one and only greatest wizard of all time.

Verdict: good, but they could have done better. Thankfully, they did with number three...
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Entertaining, And Ranks Somewhere In The Middle Of The HP Films
ccthemovieman-113 February 2007
I thought this was better than the first Harry Potter movie because it didn't overdo the action scenes as the first film did, and the special-effects were better. It's not "Lord Of The Rings," of course, but it's still decent entertainment, even for us older folks. It got even better with the third installment, which has been my personal favorite of the four I've seen now.

I don't buy into all the occult baloney and black magic stuff, just enjoying the special-effects that go with it with these stories. It also was interesting to see how the three young stars - Daniel Radcliff ("Harry"), Emma Watson ("Hermione") and Rupert Grint ("Ron") have physically matured since the first movie. All of a sudden, the boys have reached puberty and their voices are changing. "Ron" squeaks half the time he talks!

As with many modern-day, big-budget films, the visuals, the special-effects and the surround sound are all astounding. Definitely entertaining for all ages with no worries about language.
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Stop knocking this masterpiece
thinkinfairytales19 November 2002
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is superb, and don't listen to those narrow-minded critics who claim otherwise. Those who said it is superior to the first film are right: Philosopher's Stone was wonderful but the sequel does for Harry Potter what the Empire Strikes Back did for Star Wars - elevate it to a higher level where it will be regarded as a masterpiece in it's own right.

The plot is tighter and 'cleaner' then the first film, and runs along at a pace brisk enough to sweep the two-hours away with the wave of a wand. The acting from Daniel Radcliffe was criticised by some in the first film and still others are bleating on about him now. Give it a rest, say I. He was excellent.

Hogwarts itself really comes to life, largely due to the camera shots sweeping in through a window or over the castle - it feels a lot more 'rounded' and the Quidditch match benefits from a makeover and improved SFX.

Unlike some other fantasy films the CGI is not over used and doesn't smother the screen.

If you've read other reviews you'll know Kenneth Branagh is wonderful as Lockhart (and you have to stay to the end credits to see what happens to him)Jason Isaacs is great as Lucius Malfoy, and overall the film is scarier and darker then the first film, and there is a very touching moment involving Hermione and Ron which was performed with wonderful understatement by Rupert and Emma.

Throughout the whole 2 hours I don't think I stopped smiling. The Whomping Willow, the flying car, the duel between Draco and Harry - every scene was a joy to behold.

To those critics who keep on comparing Potter to Lord of the Rings and finding the former wanting (one person even laughingly suggested Christopher Columbus was ripping it off)bear in mind that Philospher's Stone is the second biggest film of all time behind Titanic - beating Rings. I use this only to illustrate the popularity and success of Harry Potter, as so many people seem to find it inferior. I for one was left cold by Rings and was thoroughly bored by it - it was the least magical fantasy film I had ever seen. Give me Harry Potter any day.

Anyone who rates this film poorly (comparing it to Rings no doubt as they always do) has no sense of adventure, no sense of humour, and -most importantly - no sense of wonder.

So put that in your cauldron and boil it!
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That bit of magic returns
siit21 January 2006
The second installment seems to carry on where the first left off. All previous characters return and then some!! The grandiose majesty of Harry Potter continues with new tricks, new delights and little treats that can be taken for granted. At times I find the Harry Potter world has so many wonderful things happening at the same time that you tend to overlook the smaller things (ergos the Weasley's residence and the great Hall) The Chamber of Secrets is a darker tail but is well within the tolerances of most children's ability to handle. The creatures are excellent, the overall story is easy enough to follow, though some aspects have to be explained to younger children.

What does get annoying is that constant overused Daniel Radcliffe cheesy smile. It wears on the sensibilities after a while like sharp finger nails scraping down a blackboard. Overall though, Chamber of Secrets is a solid good natured magical movie only slighter less pleasing than the first.
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You're bland, Harry...
cosmic_quest2 April 2006
The second in the Harry Potter franchise, 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' was clearly intended for small children. While this approach did work with 'The Philosopher's Stone' as the happy, Disney -esque atmosphere reflected Harry's idealism of a wizarding world that was perfect, a slightly moody and mature tone would have been far more suitable for CoS since this is when our Boy Who Lived starts to realise the darker side of being a wizard and being a hero. In this film, twelve-year-old Harry is now in his Second Year at Hogwarts when the school is subjected to mysterious attacks that leave Muggleborn students incapacitated. Harry, Ron and Hermione quickly learn a creature is stalking the school, a monster that lives in a secret chamber and was once responsible for the death of a child.

The quality of the child acting still leaves much to desired, with Rupert Grint and Tom Felton shining out above their weaker contemporaries. It is left to the adult cast to provide the solid performances, which they do to a marvellous degree. Maggie Smith as McGonagall and Alan Rickman as Snape seem born to play their roles, bringing their characters to life in a way the child actors just can't do. Kenneth Branagh is a treat as the conceited, campy Lockhart and the scenes where he and Rickman's Snape play each other off are the best in the film. Jason Issacs also deserves a mention since he was deliciously evil as Lucius Malfoy. He and Tom Felton not only look like father and son but in a minute-long scene they were able to portray Draco's hero-worship of his father and Lucius' impatience with his son.

The main problem with the film is that it has been produced in a very dull, bland manner. Instead of focusing on Harry's uncomfortable realisation that the wizarding world has problems and his shock at how quickly the school turn against him at the barest of evidence, scriptwriter Steve Kloves and director Chris Columbus seem intent on making the film a magical version of an Enid Blyton boarding school where kids merrily skip around solving problems. The vain attempts to make the film threatening, such as the overly-long flying car scene (as if anyone thought Harry was going to fall out) and the trudge through the Forbidden Forest, are flat and weak. The final battle between Harry and his unmasked enemy are also lacklustre with no spontaneity and drag on for too long. Character development hasn't improved much either with Ron continuing to be dumbed down for comic relief while we have Hermione getting Ron and Dumbledore's lines (and in the case of the latter, it just sounds odd hearing words of wisdom said by an powerful, elderly wizard in the book being uttered by a child of twelve in the film).

CoS also drops a number of points, in my mind, for the crass, cheesy overly-sentimentality of the ending. Steve Kloves must have been in Hollywood saccharine mode when he thought that pupils in British high schools would honestly clap for teachers (especially ones who have done nothing to warrant such praise) and kids hugging teachers in front of everyone. Harry would have been beaten up and bullied for being a boy of twelve who cuddles into his teacher like a wimpy little girl. And the preceding scene where Lucius confronts Harry was also cavity-inducing with the modest hero of the novels coming across as an arrogant, smug little brat. Kloves not only needs to re-read the book but he should spend more time with real kids at high school if this is how he thinks they conduct themselves.

While CoS was enjoyable enough, it was still a mediocre take of the novel. It was evident that it was produced to keep little kids happy rather than a love for the series or to please the actual fans. I did like it but I still feel so envious of the LotR fans who get an epic film trilogy that matches up to the excellence of books and I wonder if HP will ever be that great.
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Zooms Along
Niv-124 June 2003
Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets is the type of movie that will be around forever. So far the two Harry Potter movies have been excellent movies in which spirit of the books by JK Rowling has been captured and expanded upon.

Chamber of Secrets is about Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) second year in Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry and something is attacking the students. The fact that these students are of mixed parentage, one being a muggle(non-magical and the other being a witch or wizard) leads to a very unstable environment at Hogwarts.

Directed by Chris Columbus and written by Steve Kloves this movie packed with the details that Rowling weaves throughout her book. The score by John Williams is excellent and well suited to the movie. Roger Pratt's cinematography is amazing. There is flashback to an earlier time at Hogwarts by way of a magical Diary that is brilliantly lit and shot in a sepia tone that looks just like the color of old paper.

Kenneth Branagh gives a great performance that should have gotten more attention at award time. Jason Isaacs owns the role of the villainous Lucius Malfoy. His costuming and look are very well matched with that of Draco Malfoy, a nemesis of Harry's. Shirley Henderson as a ghost is also very good and steals her scenes. Returnees Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, and in particular the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore are very good. Christian Coulson does a good job as the mysterious Tom Riddle.

Daniel Radcliffe Emma Watson (Hermione) and Rupert Grint (Ron) are very good in this movie and have their characters down. Watson in particular is excellent.

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets in an underrated movie that is a must see.
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More Uninspired Magic from Chris Columbus
evanston_dad8 October 2010
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is more of the same from Chris Columbus, the man who brought the first Harry Potter book to film: dutifully committed to pleasing fans of the book resulting in completely uninspired filmmaking.

Though if Columbus had to direct any of the Potter films, I'm glad he was assigned the first two, before the series turned dark. Columbus's style fits the bubble-gum kiddie movie tone of the first two books, but would have been completely mismatched with the later installments.

The fun of all the Harry Potter movies lies in seeing what big-time British talent will pop up as the various adult characters, and in this one it's Kenneth Branagh as the preening Gilderoy Lockhart who gets most of the fun.

Grade: B
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Good fun but not quite so fresh
Sofalofa9 November 2002
I was one of those people that read Philosopher's Stone after I'd seen the film. Enjoyed it so much I read the other three books, all excellent. Problem is though, because I'd seen the film first, the pictures you conjure up in your mind while reading the other books all tend to follow the faces and locations that you have seen in the film, you simply adapt it to the new plots and locations. Chamber of Secrets is pretty much exactly as I pictured it when reading the book. In fact as the closing credits rolled I felt like I had seen it before...

This isn't a criticism at all, the film-makers have done a great job of translating this book to the big screen, far more thoroughly than Philosopher's Stone. With this film there isn't too much that's left out.

Whilst I know Chamber Of Secrets is gonna get (and is already getting) loads of fantastic reviews, I have to say I found it a bit flat. I thought the first film was great fun and quite magical, although I'm afraid I disagree that the acting was great. Personally I thought the 3 children leads were pretty poor, especilly Emma Watson as Hermione (the way she delivers some lines made me cringe!) People often pass-off child performances as "well they're only children", but watch Natalie Portman in Leon or Haley Joel Osment to see quality child acting! Not much has changed here, although it is amusing to hear Harry and Ron with newly acquired broken voices... they'll be shaving next!

Apart from a larger part for Richard Harris (excellent as Dumbledore - will be sadly missed), it seemed that Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid and the wonderful Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall hardly had any screen time in this one. Perhaps it was that way in the book, can't remember. Shame though...

Was disappointed in the Quidditch match here. Being one of the best scenes in the first film, I expected a full-on assault for Chamber Of Secrets. We join the game towards the end, it consists mainly of Harry and Malfoy flying round and round underneath the seating stalls and is over way too quickly.

Kenneth Branagh seemed a very strange choice for the hilarious Gilderoy Lockhart. I always imagined a character like Terry Thomas when reading the books. I never thought I'd say this about Kenneth Branagh, but he actually seems to under-play the part (rather than wallop it with a sledgehammer like he usually does).

One thing that did bug me... the sound-track. The Philosophers Stone was great. Another classic John Williams score. Problem is, rather than write a new score that kept the main spirit of the original (which John Williams did brilliantly in the Star Wars trilogy), they seemed to have lifted entire bits of music used in the first film, particularly the dramatic parts that you associate with a certain scene from Philosophers Stone, and transplanted it into Chamber Of Secrets! Couldn't help thinking... cheap... cheap... cheap

Three of us went to see this film at a preview screening last night, and chatting afterwards we all felt basically the same way. Good film, good fun, but lacking the "spark" that made the first film so magical. Maybe because part of the fun of Philosopher's Stone was being introduced to this strange, quirky new world and its characters. In Chamber Of Secrets, we are now familiar with this so the story takes centre stage, and at the end of the day... it aint that strong.

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Worth the price of admission.
keenan-12 December 2002
Warning to those who are avid fans of J.K. Rowling--I LOATHE the Harry Potter books. Yes, I have read them. I find her writing to be more than a little plagiaristic of the style of C.S. Lewis, but without the skill that he employed. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed both this and the first movie. Frankly, I don't care if the scriptwriters left this bit or that bit out; it is simply impossible for all parts of any novel to be completely included in a film without turning it into an epic of a minimum of seven hours, which is ridiculous. That is the nature of a film; much over two-and-a-half hours and the theatres are only going to be able to show a limited number of screenings, which will, of necessity, limit the profit to be made on the film--and the bottom line of any film project is "How much of a profit will it make?". (And, of course, how many people are going to be able to sit through it without multiple bathroom breaks? I had to run out myself once, cursing, just when they were about to "follow the spiders"...)

I found the casting to be clever and appropriate; of special note is, of course, the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore (and I wonder if they will make the obvious choice to replace him in the next movie with Max von Sydow, who could be made to look and sound exactly the same?) as well as the return of Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman. Both of these actors can actually act, as opposed to simply being screen personalities. The visual effects are stunning, although just a little too obviously digital in more than a few cases. The story is easily followed, which is more than I could say for the original books. The pacing was almost perfect; I only looked at my watch twice--my measure for a movie in which I am immersed. Both times occurred, I might add, when I was distracted by Rupert Grint's voice obviously cracking--they're going to have to do something about the fact that their stars are definitely more than a few miles down the road of adolescence.

This movie, of course, is raking in the cash. Deservedly so; it's not by any stretch of the imagination a movie of any deep and lasting meaning, but it gives good value for one's entertainment dollar, and at the scandalous prices that movie admissions are reaching now, that is certainly a ringing endorsement. It was able to take me away from the insanity of a stressful holiday season, and for that reason alone I was completely satisfied. See if it can do the same for you.
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has its moments, but by far the least memorable of the films so far
MisterWhiplash15 July 2007
Maybe it was keeping on Chris Columbus as director- he helmed the first Harry Potter and did an OK, if not that terrific, job at it- or in making it about as long as possible (whether or not everything in the book, as someone who's seen the films but not read the books, I can't say, though it feels like they crammed it all), or in making it a wee bit too corny, but Chamber of Secrets is a bulky kids movie. It has an appeal for the whole family, as does the first one, and it has some charm and excitement in its Quiddich battle scenes, but it isn't really always the sort of material that might stay with you long after it's over (unless, of course, you're a hardcore fan). It works at best in the form of the atypical sequel: same characters that like Potter just as much- his closest friends Ron and Hermonie- and those that don't like Snape and Malfoy.

Although the film/story does set up "he-who-mus-not-be-named" in a good and ambiguous way, this is more in hindsight of the more recent Potter stories, where that is made much more clear and sinister. It does have some rousing bits in there, as I recall, John Cleese is particularly good as Nearly Headless Nick (basically plopping a Monty Python performer in the midst of it all, which is the case) and there's always Richard Harris as Dumbledore (I still prefer him over Gambon, even though the latter is still good). But a lot of it seems much too cliché, even coming from the decent lot of Rowling subversions, and the whole bits with the character Dobby is just really cheesy. In short, it's the only one of the Potter movies I don't have a desire to see too soon, and if I ever do read the books I only anticipate it can only go up from here in quality.
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Help: Series in Search of Vision
OttoVonB7 August 2007
Harry and friends solve a new mystery, while getting better acquainted with their talents. This adventure sees them tackle another quidditch match, a flying car, giant spiders and the like.

Made at a time when the Harry Potter book series had been fully recognized for what it was - an unstoppable literary phenomenon - Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, the movie, embodies a disappointing lack of courage and compromise from its ,makers: adapt as much as you can from the increasingly long books seems to be the motto du jour. The result is a lumbering 160 minute film that manages to shy away from the darker elements of the book. As such, there is little sense of threat (the aforementioned giant spiders are underused) and the numbing length and uneven pace make this a tough film to enjoy, particularly for non-Potter fans.

It's time Columbus left. His greatest legacy will remain the casting an launching of the Potter machine. But still, other than aim at maximum faithfulness, the films have accomplished little so far, except fatten Rowling's and Warner Brothers' coffers. Now it is time for a more daring director to whip the saga into shape.
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Plodding but wonderful
Elswet22 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Don't you just HAAATE the Dursley's?!!

After the outrageous neglect exhibited by the Dursleys in the first "Harry Potter" movie, I thought it simply could not get any worse. But Dudley''s character, portrayed extremely well by Harry Melling, is more atrocious and hate-inspiring than ever.

Dobby was a most endearing, if rather buggering, addition to the cast of characters this time around. We thoroughly enjoyed the "Dobby effects" perpetrated by the CGI technicians. His character, while wholly non-human, was quite sincere and entertaining.

I don't have the problems with CGI in the movie industry with which many seem to suffer...I see that some parts cannot be portrayed by human actors; therefore CGI enriches this final product in such a way that the lack of CGI actually would create a total loss of effect in the movie.

This year is Ginny Weasley's first year and she has the crush of her young lifetime on Harry Potter.

"She's been talking about you all summer. Rather annoying, really." Ronald Weasley to Harry Potter.

This time, Harry and Ron can't seem to get to the platform for Hogwarts Express, and time is quickly wasting. If they are late for the opening ceremony, it is entirely possible they will not be allowed to attend Howarts this year. What to do? What to do? Good thing for Harry that Mr. Weasley is a tinkerer, or Harry and Ron would be in a world of trouble. But wait...it seems their only way to school is the flying car created by Ron's dad. And when they get to the castle grounds, they discover they ARE in trouble. Big trouble.

This movie is just as entertaining and well done as the first. Again directed by Chris Columbus (who STILL neglected to do his homework and put that pumpkin patch and such where they needed to be), the screenplay done as a joint collaboration between Rowlings and Steven Kloves as in the first, and the same, lovable (and hate-able) actors in our favorite "Worst Witch" reincarnations.

As sequels go, this production is quite wonderful; though not quite as excellent a sequel as was the original literary work. While there were as many changes in dialog and such, it is quite well adapted and extremely well perpetrated, although it does lose a bit in the process.

There are secret whispers (unheard by all but Harry himself), mysterious magical books and a conjured beast of Dragonkind!

This is a wonderful story, not just the piece of commercial sequellistic fluff I expected. More secrets of Harry Potter's mysterious past are revealed and you get a good rumination of the back story.

The addition of some of new teachers was a wonderful step and as in the first, Rowlings creations are applied to this production with an inspired intelligence and creativity that it seems as though she, herself, is of magic. Absolutely wonderful.

The message that prejudice is horrid comes through loud and clear in Malfoy's treatment Hermione. It made me want to tie his ears together and hang him up by the other end. While hatred itself is wrong, if you must hate someone, hate them for WHO they are (their personality and the choices they make), not for WHAT they are (their lineage, bloodline, race, or religion).

Only when the heir of Slytherin house has returned to Hogwarts can the Chamber of Secrets be reopened and the evil within set loose.

I was happy to see the inclusion of Dumbledore's Phoenix, Fawkes. We did not get enough of him in the first movie. I enjoyed this movie just as much as the first. This is awesome as a sequel, but it can also stand alone. It does not rely upon the first installment, yet does not repeat the same information we learned in the first. While it was as faithful as it could be, it (as did the first) failed to capture the atmospheric darkness and overall feeling of the novel. It was almost as if the faithfulness was more important than the ambiance, which is a common mistake made in this industry.

I must also add that the trio has shown some great improvement over their initial forays (not that they needed it).

It gets a 7/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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A very good film...stop hating...
macenblu25 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers

Why is it that, whenever a book is made into a movie, everyone complains about scenes that are ommitted, no matter how superfluous they may be?

i have had to listen to people complain about the fact that the Deathday party was not in the movie, or the Valentine's dwarves, or the garden gnomes.....COME ON people! while these scenes are cute, they are not pertinent....!

and OF COURSE they spent more time in the Quidditch match and Basilisk fight than Rowling did in the book! these are the action scenes that the kids love, and i personally thought the slytherin match was incredible....

face it people, whenever a book is made into a movie, things have to be cut...it's a fact

and you better get over it soon! if they expect to keep making each book into its own movie, come the fourth book, there will have to be MAJOR ommissions....

all that being said, i wish the bonus DVD scenes had been included in the theatrical release, particularily the Malfoys in the dark arts shop, and (especially) the Lockhart first class quiz....CLASSIC!

don't let anyone fool you....this is a VERY enjoyable movie....the casting, as was the case in the first film, was perfect..(Malfoy Senior might be the greatest casting decision in the history of film)....Dobby (my biggest worry going in) was well done...the pacing is great, the acting fine, and the effects are incredible....

of course, it goes without saying that you should read the books first, as they are delightful....but both movies so far have done them justice....

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Can you say Wonderful??
MakoChan444@yahoo.com17 November 2002
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was a wonderful movie, just as good as the first. The acting I have to say was much better. Some parts were left out but it followed the book way more than the first one did. The actors that were choosen for this movie worked very well and Kenneth Branagh did a wonderful job as Gilderoy Lockhart. The only problem I had with it is that it was a little slow. It took awhile for somethings to get moving but that is alright. Everything just worked very well and the music was wonderful, just as good as the first. Over all I would give this movie an A+++ and for those who didn't like it (I don't tell people how to controll their opinions but...) your crazy. No it's ok not everyone has to like it. But I very much enjoyed it for being such an avid movie buff it was WONDERFUL!!
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I absolutely LOVED this movie
chicamanticore17 November 2002
This movie is way better than the first one, which everyone is saying because--let's face it--it's true. The three leads have grown into their characters, and their acting is loads better. I kept thinking during the first one, "Aw, look at these cute little kids playing Harry, Ron and Hermione." Now they ARE Harry, Ron and Hermione, though they still won't get any Oscar nods. All the new characters were absolutely wonderful. I was not disappointed at all with a single one, even Dobby. Now, I know a lot of people compare him to another CGI character, but he's not like that at all. I loved Dobby, even though when I saw him the trailers I thought I was going to hate him. Jason Isaacs as Malfoy was an absolute slime ball, and just so deliciously evil. Not bad looking, either, especially with his luscious long blonde hair. Bonnie Wright returned as Ginny Weasley, who had a much more important part and did an excellent job, I was very impressed. I'm tempted to go on about the lovely Christian Coulson as Tom Riddle, and Kenneth Branaugh, who embodies Gilderoy Lockhart on the screen, but this review has a word limit. Even if you are not a massive Harry Potter fan, you will find this movie very enjoyable. It's scary (spiders, snakes, and willows, oh my!) and incredibly funny, thanks to Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and of course Kenneth Branaugh, the incredibly pompous new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Back to the subject of the three leads, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), and Emma Watson (Hermione). They have grown quite a bit since the last film, though it's not a bad thing-Harry and his friends are supposed to grow too. Girls are starting to notice how good-looking Harry has become, and Ron, who is still adorable, and Hermione is becoming very pretty. I was pleased to see that her appearance was more like it was described in the books-she even had big teeth. Ron is finally taller than the other two like he's supposed to be, but that's most likely due to Rupert being older. I only had one disappointment as a major Potter fan-Sean Biggerstaff. While I believe he is absolutely dreamy and am in love with him, he just didn't come across as the mad, maniacal Wood we've grown to love. A consolation for some of the die-hard fans who might find the movie a little fast when they first see it-see it twice. The second time is so much more enjoyable, I can't tell you why, but you'll love it. I'd recommend this movie to anyone, from the scary gothic kid who sits next to me in fourth period to my work-a-holic father, it's great. I can't wait to see it again with my mother, who was away this weekend. I've already seen it twice, and it's only been out for three days. I can guarantee that you'll enjoy it, even if you didn't like the first one-which I personally find odd, but slightly understandable. Slightly. Go see Chamber of Secrets!
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Better than the first Harry Potter.
cruiseee10 November 2002
I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan, but I really did enjoy 'the chamber of secrets'. After seeing the first installment of the Harry Potter saga I wasn't quite sure what to make of it all. I never hated it, nor loved it, but I can honestly say that it hadn't left any impression on me.

However, this second installment was a vast improvement on the first. The movie moves a lot quicker & goes straight into the story without any faffing about. I guess there's little need for introductions as we already know of most of the main characters.

The kids' acting appears to have improved a hell of a lot. Looks like they've gained more confidence, and it really shows, which is great for us as they're much more entertaining to watch now.

The ending to this movie was also a great improvement from the last film, with a more believable baddie and more terrifying monsters.

All in all, I was impressed with this film, more so when I compare to the first one. Others may disagree. I don't care! This is a kids film, after all.
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