Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2003) 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…
Video Review

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2003)

MPAA Rating: PG
Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets | WIZARD OF BLAHS Daniel Radcliffe suffers from tunnel vision
Image credit: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets: Peter Mountain
WIZARD OF BLAHS Daniel Radcliffe suffers from tunnel vision
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Apr 11, 2003; Movie Rated: PG; Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-fi and Fantasy; With: Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson; 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.

Originally posted Apr 08, 2003 Published in issue #704 Apr 11, 2003 Order article reprints