The "Harry Potter" stories are magic-charged mysteries rooted in the tradition of the "Three Investigators" or the "Nancy Drew" book series. The books awoke the reading appetite for a generation and now The "Harry Potter" phenomenon continues with the second film adaptation, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". And while there's a little bit of a seen this and done that feeling as we are re-introduced to Harry's world, it quickly fades as the engaging tale involving serpents, social-economic tension and a disturbing self abusive elf unfolds.
Like the first "Harry Potter" feature, the movie closely follows J.K.Rowlings original storyline, sacrificing few story elements from the book. Weighing in at 161 minutes, it's a magic marathon that makes you wonder If the entire Harry Potter movie series follows this pace, the 700 pages of the fourth book- will make for a five hour film!
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, and his friends continue to grow up with their characters, and a couple of new faces add extra sparks to this sequel. Gilderoy Lockhart, the show stealing celebrity wizard who's better at autograph signing than sorcery, is righteously played by Kenneth Branagh. And Shirley Henderson as Moaning Myrtle provides geeky ghostly fun along with undead comical cameos by John Cleese and Rik Mayall.
As one of Richard Harris's final performances, this film leaves him with a new following of fans that will forever remember him as the legendary wizard Dumbledore. Although he seems much older than before, Harris's screen time is magical and his memory is well preserved at Hogwarts.
The "Chamber of Secrets" expands the "Harry Potter" universe with enough nice touches that satisfy. We see more top draw special effects throughout Hogwarts Castle which takes on a starring role. From the spiral staircase that leads to Dumbledores office to the living paintings that hang along the walls, the production design fully realizes the potential of Harry's magical world. The attention to detail is terrific and makes you want to live in the fantasy.
I mean who hasn't wanted our friends to rescue us in a flying car and certainly a set of the yelling telegram stationary will be at the top of Mothers Christmas Lists everywhere.
All told, The new "Harry Potter" film faithfully conjures up the wonderment from the books. So until the fifth book or the Nimbus 2001 series arrives on stores shelves, I'll recommend you investigate the "Chamber of Secrets" for yourself.
For Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2002 - Purple - Air Date: 11/13/02
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
USA - 2002