Director: Chris Columbus
Running Time: 2 hours, 41 minutes
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) returns to Hogwarts despite a warning from Dobby the House Elf (Toby Jones) to stay home. Once back at school, a rash of attacks happen, leaving muggle-born victims in a petrified state. As the school's paranoia rises, Harry becomes a suspect and now must unravel the mystery with the help of Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson).
Chris Columbus returns to the director's chair for "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," the second film based on the books by J.K. Rowling. Also returning are Daniel Radcliffe as the titular Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, as well as all of the actors from the first film who comprise the staff at Hogwarts. New to the cast is Kenneth Branagh, who plays the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Professor Gilderoy Lockhart. He is a celebrity in the wizarding world through the novels he has written about his exploits battling monsters and his wheeling and dealings in the practices and teachings of the Dark Arts. Women swoon over him, but whenever he tries to show off his skills, it never quite turns out right for him. Also joining the cast is Toby Jones as the voice of Dobby the house elf, a lovable but creepy looking house slave who is desperately trying to keep Harry Potter from returning to Hogwarts. Harry returns to Hogwarts anyway, and once there, a string of attacks on muggle-born students starts to occur, perpetrated by the heir of Slytherin, who is eventually exposed during the film. A few of Harry's unique gifts and his propensity to be in the wrong place at the wrong time unfortunately make him a prime suspect in these attacks.
"Chamber of Secrets" continues to expand on the Harry Potter universe, adding more magical elements like flying cars, whomping willows, screaming mandrakes, and giant spiders. New characters also pop up as well, including the aforementioned Dobby and Lockhart, as well as Lucius Malfoy, played by the perfectly cast Jason Isaacs, father to Tom Felton's Draco Malfoy, and Arthur Weasley, played by Mark Williams, the patriarch of the Weasley family. Much like its predecessor, this sequel is a fun fantasy adventure film with wonderful visuals and many moments of great excitement. This film is a bit darker than its predecessor in terms of content, but that's merely a foreshadowing of the things to come. There's more action and it's a bit frightening at times, especially when the actual chamber of secrets is involved. Despite being one of the shortest books in the series, it wound up making the longest film of the eight. That being said, despite its length, the story is very engaging and we always want to learn more about the characters, spells, charms, potions, places, and people in the ever expanding world of Harry Potter.
My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!