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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Movie Review

originally posted many years ago

Patrificus Totalus! With a flick of the wrist and a wave of the wand, movie theaters will be overrun with millions of kids, all eager to see the newest J.K. Rowling adaptation, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
The Chamber of Secrets follows Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) into his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Even before the start of his new school year, Harry realizes the coming term will be an unordinary one when he is warned by a house elf named Dobby that dangerous things are afoot at Hogwarts. But Harry is accustomed to a life of danger. He and his friends, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), had been in plenty of dangerous situations the year before including an encounter with the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort. Dangerous things begin to happen at Hogwarts, just as Dobby had predicted. Students all over the school become petrified when they find bloody messages left on the wall warning that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. In the midst of all the chaos, people begin to point fingers at Harry, who they believe is responsible for releasing the "terror from the Chamber." Faced with great peril for the second time in his life, Harry must find the real culprit behind the opening of the Chamber to clear his name and save the school.
A compelling aspect of The Chamber of Secrets is seeing how much the cast has grown. This movie has provided the cast with an opportunity to show off their talents as young actors. The Chamber of Secrets enabled them to act in scenes which possess more depth than the first movie. As they display a wider range of emotions, their characters become more three-dimensional which helps many to forget that they came from the pages of a book. No longer just children, audiences are bound to find the Hogwarts heroes more admirable than adorable.
Besides growing as actors, puberty has left its mark on the cast. Radcliffe's voice has lowered significantly, making Harry seem more bold and confident. Grint, on the other hand, is still experiencing life's changes as Ron's voice squeaks more throughout the movie than his pet rat. This, however, bodes well for his character who spends a majority of the film trembling in fear.
Though both movies were based on Rowling's novels, The Chamber of Secrets brings more life to the series than did The Sorcerer's Stone. Director Chris Columbus added a number of changes to the script to make the movie funnier, while still sticking to the book's story. This, along with the animated expressions the cast gave to their characters, brings the elements of Harry Potter to life.
One other element which makes The Chamber of Secrets different from The Sorcerer's Stone is the new movie's scare tactics. Columbus adapted an age-old horror-movie technique to scare the living daylights out of its adolescent audience. Though the creatures in the movie aren't necessarily terrifying, they do have a tendency to pop out unexpectedly. For example, there is a scene in the movie where Harry and Ron are being chased around the Forbidden Forest by giant hairy spiders. Right when the movie begins to get quiet again, one of the heinous creatures jumps up behind Ron and strangles him. Theater cleaning crews across the country will be knee-deep in disinfectant and kiddy-piddled seats. Monsters and sudden loud noises usually don't mix well with youngsters and toddlers. Children under the age of 10, adults with serious heart conditions and arachnophobes should take caution before seeing this film.
Millions of dollars were spawned from a story about a little wizard boy written on the back of a crumpled napkin. If that doesn't convince people that magic is real, nothing will.

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