Harry Potter-The Chamber of Secrets
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Harry Potter-The Chamber of Secrets

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint

india Updated: Apr 26, 2003 20:50 IST

When it comes to the second installment, the question often is how to rake in the maximum without making the least effort at adding freshness to what’s already been said. Director Chris Columbus, of course, did not have to worry on the second count – Rowling’s written material by way of the book with the same title gave him plenty of scope to rake in the maximum with Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets.

And if Columbus, veteran director of entertainers such as the Home Alone series and Mrs Doubtfire (besides, of course, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone), had that advantage, he uses it to the full, to churn out a sequel that comes across in most parts as an entertainment packet by far superior than the first film. For one, with this second film he didn’t have to waste time in character establishment (something that ate away considerable portion of the first part) and, for more, he comes up with technically snazzier special effects and more spectacular action.

Here’s what unfolds: In his second term at Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is warned by an elf named Dobby that disaster awaits him if he returns to the school of wizardry. Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) still hate Harry, though his two best friends, Ron Weasly (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), are his constant companions. An added attraction in the school is celebrity writer on the art of wizardry, the flamboyant Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh in a delighting cameo), who is the new ‘Defense Against the Dark Arts’ teacher. Meanwhile, a new terror strikes Hogwarts. Students are strangely being turned into stone and no one seems to know why or how.

The amazing pace at which Columbus unfolds his script is what makes this film a treat more than just ‘a kiddie film’. Perhaps the filmmaker had a family audience in mind – the action in parts does get dark at times, a wee bit scary for toddlers.

All in all, enjoyable fare this. Just perfect for the holiday season.

First Published: Apr 26, 2003 15:14 IST