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HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

The magical adolescent is back in school and fairly bored until he is visited by an elf who warns him of calamities to come.

CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Tom Felton, Kenneth Branagh, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Shirley Henderson

DIRECTOR: Chris Columbus

"Where did the cute boy soprano from 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' (2001) go? Only a month or two of summer is supposed to have passed since freshman year: Is this stringy, whey-faced baritone really Our Little Wizard?...Given the billions at stake, is someone at the studio monitoring these kids' hormones? Are there dermatologists on call night and day? We're talking six sequels, folks. A movie about the care and feeding of the child stars of 'Harry Potter' would be more entertaining than the thing itself. It would have some real life in it." --David Edelstein, Slate

"The first movie was the setup, and this one is the payoff...brimming with invention and new ideas...What's developing here, it's clear, is one of the most important franchises in movie history, a series of films that consolidate all of the advances in computer-aided animation, linked to the extraordinary creative work of J.K. Rowling, who has created a mythological world as grand as 'Star Wars,' but filled with more wit and humanity...What a glorious movie." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ is big, dull and empty. Small kids who are entertained by aquariums, lava lamps, melting ice cream and other forms of random motion might enjoy it--when they're not peeing in their pants because of the giant snake at the end-- but most human creatures who have evolved to sentience will be ground into numbness by its drear totalitarianism…The whole thing is a strange combination of frenzy where there should be placidity, and placidity where there should be frenzy…It's like a 2 1/2-hour preview… nothing is connected, nothing coheres, there's no game plan, really. It's just a bunch of happenings that ape the progress of a story but never quite reach the threshold of narrative." --Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

"'Chamber of Secrets' displays such zeal for re-creating the book's more grotesque aspects, from man-eating spiders to venom-dripping monster serpents, that it is sure to rattle the cages of the smallest viewers, sending them under their seats if not out of the theater...Because 'Chamber of Secrets' can't seem to get the balance right, it ends up broadly overdoing things on both ends of the spectrum. The film's scary moments are too monstrous and its happy times have too much idiotic beaming, making the film feel like the illegitimate offspring of 'Alien' and 'The Absent-Minded Professor.'" --Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"'Chamber of Secrets' is a little better than 'Sorcerer's Stone'...But the movie's scenes feel cut to uniform length and arranged in plodding, unvarying rhythm. Every speech and incident is blown up into a big effect, and as a result the quieter, quirkier aspects of Ms. Rowling's world are pushed to the edge of the frame, or left out altogether. The sense of a dramatic crescendo is lost, so that by the end, instead of feeling stirred to a high pitch of anxiety and excitement, you may feel battered and worn down." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

'''Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' is an improvement on 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' not only because the director and his team are more confident about what they can do, but also because they're less uptight and defensive about what they can't. And among the things this 'HP' does very well indeed is deepen the darker, more frightening atmosphere for audiences of all ages already familiar with the intricacies of the 'Potter'' landscape...if it doesn't fly, this 'Chamber' at least hovers nicely a few feet off the ground for good stretches of time.'' --Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly