Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second installment of the Harry Potter movie series. The first (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) sort of set a precedent for the visual effects, imagery, and ability to stick closely to the book, so going into this one I had certain expectations.

Now, I hate going into movies expecting anything. Nine times out of ten, I'm going to come out disappointed.

I came out loving this movie.

Understand that this is not just more of the same. This movie is better than the first. The effects are better. The characters are better. Everything you liked about the first one is back, and it's better than ever.

The first movie was criticized for sticking too close to the book it was based on. I don't understand that; isn't that the point of making a movie out of a book - to bring the book to life on the screen? Well, apologies to the other critics out there, but this one stays close to its book, too, and I'm glad it does. Seeing the movie play out on the screen the way it did in my mind when I read the book... it was brilliance.

All of the original actors return to reprise their roles from the original (though slightly older and showing the signs of puberty; Daniel Radcliffe as Harry has a noticeably deeper voice than before, and you even get a bit of a crack out of Rupert Grint as he plays Ron Weasley). Radcliffe is a likeable Harry, and every kid always wanted friends like Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson).

The new characters were also wonderfully cast. Kenneth Branagh does a perfect job as Gilderoy Lockhart and Miriam Margolyes is exactly as I pictured Professor Sprout. The only character I wasn't too fond of was Moaning Myrtle, played by Shirley Henderson. I'm not sure if it was Henderson's annoying voice or the fact that she really wasn't how I pictured Myrtle that bothered me. Oh well - a small price to pay for such fun.

Sadly, this will be the last time we see Richard Harris in his role as school headmaster Albus Dumbledore. The role will need to be re-cast due to his passing. He was a perfect Dumbledore, and he will be missed. This will also be the last time we see Chris Columbus directing; he has passed the reins on to a new director, Alfonso CuarĂ³n.

Anyway, what this basically boils down to is that you should see this movie. If you liked the first one, you'll love this. If you haven't seen the first one, what have you been doing? Go rent (or buy!) the first one, enjoy it, and promptly see the second. You won't be disappointed.

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