Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)


Forces conspire to keep Harry Potter from returning to his second year at the Hogwarts wizarding school. Apparently, the big bad Voldemoort (who we still don’t see but hear about all the time) put a monster in a mysterious ‘chamber of secrets’ at the school, and only his true heir can unlock the chamber and let the monster out. This would suck because the monster will then eat all the non-pure-blood students at the school.

Even though technically the story is different from the first film, it doesn’t feel that way. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are once again on a mission to figure out which professor is trying to thwart the school. J.K. Rowling pulls a flying car, a giant snake, a ghost girl, a phoenix with tears that heal, and a magical diary out of her ass — most of which present themselves all-too opportunistically to our heroes. Kenneth Branagh joins the cast as a visiting professor — his character is annoying and amounts to nothing. The kids might love this little elf creature called Dobby, but I just thought he was an ugly computer-generated mess. There’s more time devoted to the completely idiotic sport of quidditch this time around. As soon as I see the kids pull out their quidditch broomsticks, I honestly tune out. Kids on broomsticks, trying to catch magical balls that can zoom any which way — it’s just stupid beyond belief, and looks as stupid as it sounds.

Like the first movie, this second one is just something you have to get through if you want to get the much better installments. But if I had to say something nice about The Chamber of Secrets, I’d say Maggie Smith has a nice scene of creepy exposition. And Robbie Coltrane is very sweet as Hagrid, and pretty much single-handedly gives the film its (sort of) emotional finale.

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