Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 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… Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 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
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