Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets ****


“Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets” picked up right where the “Philosopher’s Stone” left off, and plunges us in to a story that is a little deeper and a little scarier then the original.  When we return to Hogwarts, it seems to get a little more mysterious right before our very eyes.  Now that the first film is finished setting up the characters, we can watch them really explore the mysteries of the Hogwarts.  This time it involves the Chamber of Secrets, which may or may not contain a giant monster.  Nobody knows where the entrance to the chamber is, accept the person who has summoned the beast in order to purge the school of those he or she considers to be not a full blooded wizard or witch.  

As we catch up with Ron and Harry, they have missed the train back to Hogwarts.  This results in them borrowing Ron’s dad’s flying car, which leads us to the movies first in a series of death defying moments.  When they catch up to the train it nearly crushes them, just before they spin out of control, ending with Harry hanging in midair.  When they finally arrive at the school, they crash the car in to a Womping Willow that is seriously upset with having many of it’s branches broken.  Once they actually get to school, they get caught right in the main plot of the film.

Someone has opened the dreaded Chamber of Secrets, and is controlling the monster that lies within.  They are using this monster to petrify those who have muggle relatives.  Harry and his friends vow to find out who and why this is happening.  They starty by uncovering events that happened when Voldomort was a teenager at Hogwarts.  Someone opened the chamber back then as well.  What does this have to do with the current events? 

The kids are once again supported by an amazing cast, which includes Richard Harris, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and Robbie Coltrane.  The new defence against the dark arts teacher is Gilderoy Lockheart, played perfectly by Kenneth Brannagh.  He is a over conceited wizard who has written many best selling books about his exploits in battling dark magic.  He seems quite smitten with himself, and is very eager to get close to Harry, as it will bring him more attention and fame. 

The other new character is Lucious Malfoy, played by Jason Isaacs.   This is Draco’s father.  Isaacs, playing yet another villain, brings his trade mark sneer to a very vile character. 

This new Potter entry comes not only with more characters, but more action and suspense.  Late in the movie Harry and his friends find themselves out running hundreds of man sized spiders, bent on eating them, Harry does battle with a giant serpent, which is created as a terrifying beast, and even the game of Quittich has gotten faster and more dangerous. 

Christopher Columbus directs yet again, and seems to up the ante entirely.  He does an even better job with this film then he did with the first, and that is really saying something.  The tension builds throughout the film, so that the action in the end is a pay off as opposed to forced.  Here he some how makes the world of Harry Potter even more epic then the first one.  This is also the only Harry Potter film that really stands alone in it’s story.  Every other film either sets up the characters, or contributes to the over all story of the series, which involves the constant conflict between Harry and Voldomort.


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