Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This latest Harry Potter adaptation from people's director Chris Columbus (Home Alone) and klunky screenwriter Steve Kloves (Wonder Boys) is exactly as charming, visually gratifying and faithful to filthy rich author J.K. Rowling's inescapable narrative as their first. From the soaring opening notes of John Williams' truly magnificent score, the magic is back. Dickensian orphan and fledgling wizard Harry (Daniel Radcliffe, into it) and friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) return to their lessons -- and unspeakable, logistically confounding danger -- at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (way to go, production designer Stuart Craig!), attended by the likes of Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Kenneth Branagh (who'd gleefully upstage God) and Richard Harris (good night, genius actor). The pacing is club-footed, but the visuals -- from zooming aerial Quidditch to loads of weird bogeys and transformations -- are utterly sensational. Despite its sophomoric awkwardness, it's definitely an enchanting spectacular for Potter fans anxious to ride the Hogwarts Express toward a new year of magic and mischief.

Credits

Director:

  • Chris Columbus

Cast:

  • Daniel Radcliffe
  • Rupert Grint
  • Emma Watson
  • Kenneth Branagh
  • Richard Harris

Writers:

  • Steven Kloves
  • J.K. Rowling

Producers:

  • David Heyman
  • Chris Columbus

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