Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets | EW.com

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsJ.K. Rowling's gift is finding something revelatory in the workaday: In her Harry Potter universe, wizards solve ordinary problems with extraordinary...Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsAction/Adventure, Sci-fi and FantasyPT161MPGJ.K. Rowling's gift is finding something revelatory in the workaday: In her Harry Potter universe, wizards solve ordinary problems with extraordinary...2003-04-11Kenneth BranaghRobbie ColtraneRichard HarrisToby JonesAlan RickmanMaggie SmithKenneth Branagh, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, Toby Jones, Alan Rickman, Maggie SmithWarner Bros.
Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

(Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets: Peter Mountain)

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-fi and Fantasy; Starring: Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Kenneth Branagh, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, Toby Jones, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith; Director: Chris Columbus; Author: Steven Kloves; Release Date Wide: 11/15/2002; Runtime (in minutes): 161; MPAA Rating: PG; Distributor: Warner Bros.

J.K. Rowling’s gift is finding something revelatory in the workaday: In her Harry Potter universe, wizards solve ordinary problems with extraordinary magic. Director Chris Columbus has the opposite gift: He never fails to make the revelatory feel workaday.

That said, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a better, looser, more vivacious movie than its predecessor. And that’s not saying much. But ”Chamber”’s shortcomings aren’t all Columbus’ fault. Rowling’s books are often likened to screen treatments, but a TV miniseries might be a better comparison, as each tome is episodic and chockablock with side stories. Columbus does little to smooth those transitions in adapting Rowling’s dark tale of ethnic cleansing, which centers on a hidden menace hell-bent on eliminating Muggle-born wizards. Such a serious story line doesn’t mesh well with consequence-free sadism masquerading as kid empowerment (Columbus’ usual ”Home Alone” MO). And the fact that Harry & Co. must once again solve all Hogwarts’ problems unassisted makes the wise and mighty faculty look dangerously incompetent.

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