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HARRY POTTER &
THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

Daniel Radcliffe, Kenneth Branagh, John Cleese, Rupert Grint, David Bradley

Written by: Steven Kloves
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Produced by: David Heyman, Chris Columbus
Distributor: Warner Brothers,

US: 15/11/02 UK: 15/11/02

Harry Potter begins his second year at Hogwarts School of Wizardry, but is warned by a mysterious creature that danger awaits him at the school. Malevolent voices whisper from the walls. Soon it's not just Harry who is worried about survival, as dreadful things begin to happen at Hogwarts. His friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) help him face new challenges during their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as they try to discover a dark force that is terrorizing the school.

MEDIA BUZZ
4 Feb/Jewish World Review: Harry casts spell on American students
4 Feb/New York Post:Harry Potter is OK with the pontiff
11 Nov/Flick breaks UK records with 8.3($12.5) million on weekend sneaks
29 Oct/Is Harris's stand-in new Dumbledore?
28 Oct/Potter kids still tight with each other
26 Oct/Radcliffe not so potty over making fourth Potter flick
26 Oct/Richard Harris dies aged 72
18 Oct/SciFi Wire: Rowling OK's Potter sequel
16 Oct/ Richard Harris has cancer
8 Oct/ Harry Potter discovers sex

REVIEWS
Atlanta Journal/People Mag
Chicago Trib/LA Times
New York Post/New York Times
Seattkle Post/Washington Post
Entertainment Weekly/The BBC




Kenneth Branagh finds the second Potter flick is darker than the first




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Columbus overcomes several of the first film's problems with this much darker, slightly more edgy sequel. But the include-everything approach still overweighs the film. It's Harry's (Radcliffe) second year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry and it doesn't take long before things start getting strange, starting with the warnings of the strange little house elf Dobby. Soon, Harry and his friends (Grint and Watson) are prowling the halls of the castle after hours trying to solve the mystery with the help of a moaning ghost (Henderson), the wise headmaster (Harris), the kindly hulk gamesman (Coultraine), a helpful teacher (Smith) and a vain new professor (Branagh). Meanwhile, enemies of Harry plot against him, including sinister Professor Snape (Rickman, reduced to a cameo here), school rival Draco (Felton) and his even more vile dad Lucius (Isaacs).

First the good news: The film is a lot creepier, with a rather terrifying, adrenaline-pumping Quiddich match early on and some dark and frightening stuff later. The effects are less attention-seeking, and there's a refreshing stream of nasty humour running through the film. But there's still far too much plot, as every scene crams in so much information that you can never quite latch on to the characters, no matter how good the cast is. Radcliffe continues to shine among the kids, letting Harry grow up a bit and making him both odd and likeable. On the other hand, Grint is turning into the shamelessly mugging sidekick. Thankfully, the adults are a who's who of fine actors reduced to playing minor characters with wacky costumes and hair. Branagh steals the show completely--he's absolutely hilarious in every scene (and it's worth waiting through the long credit roll for one more). This is a vast improvement over the bland first film, but it still cries out for more personality. Once again, this is efficient, crowd-pleasing filmmaking, but a technical rather than artistic achievement. At least we have wit and energy this time. If we get some character depth in Part 3 then maybe there's hope for these films after all.


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