Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

      It's only the second of the series but I can already say, as Robin suggests, that this is just another Harry Potter movie. It's still an OK movie but first of all, we've seen it all before so there's no surprise factor.  Plus, the second book of the Harry Potter Series, ``The Chamber of Secrets" which this movie follows  religiously, is not nearly as good as the first book. Third, Dobby is just as annoying in the movie as he was in the book. That being said, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, continues the story of the famous boy wizard (Daniel Radcliffe) as he starts his second year at Hogwarts School. His best friends, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), are back, as well as their professors (Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman) and the Gamekeeper (Robbie Coltrane).  In this installment, Harry is warned by the aforementioned annoying house elf that he shouldn't return to Hogwarts School because horrible things will happen to him. Despite, Dobby's best efforts, Harry makes it back to school just in time for horrible things to start happening.  A secret chamber (see the title) has been opened allowing a monster run loose in the school attacking students.  Only our little band of heroes can save Hogwarts from disaster.

     The main addition to the cast this time is the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher (Kenneth Branagh). Other familiar faces joining the cast are Jason Isaacs (The Patriot, Black Hawk Down) as Lucius Malvoy, Gemma Jones (The Duchess of Duke Street) as the nurse, Julie Walters (Educating Rita, Billy Elliot) as Mrs. Weasley, and Robert Hardy (All Creatures Great and Small) as Cornelius Fudge.  The cast is still really good. Radcliffe, Grint and Watson are great as Harry, Ron and Hermione. And the professors, including Branagh, are all beautifully cast to fit their characters from the book.  One problem for me with this movie is that two of favorite characters, Hermione and Hagrid are missing for the last half of the movie since they are petrified and in prison, respectively. And my other fav, Snape (Rickman) has little to do now that we know he isn't a bad guy.

     For the kids, I think this movie will be as enjoyable as the first, but for the adults, I think it is less so, particularly if you have read the book and know ``exactly" what is going to happen.  The special effects are good and there's a more extreme game of Quidditch than last time.  But if you've seen one game of Quidditch, you've seen them all.  I still love to see Harry being stalwart and I particularly love that Hermione is the best at everything.  It's a nice moment at the end when she is the only student upset that the final exams have been cancelled. Hagrid again steals every scene that he is in. Also, it was a bit sad every time Richard Harris was on the screen knowing that this is his last film. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is very long and feels long, running two hours and forty minutes. A little snipping of scenes from the book might have helped. I could have done with a lot less of Dobby and the endless scenes of the flying car. Anyway, you have to go see it so who cares what I say.  It's still worth seeing.