Thursday Night Movie Club
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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Release Date: November 15, 2002

Director: Chris Columbus
Daniel Radcliffe
Rupert Grint
Emma Watson
Toby Jones
Tom Felton
Jason Isaacs
Robbie Coltrane
Kenneth Branagh
Alan Rickman
Richard Harris
Maggie Smith
Christian Coulson
Julian Glover
Harry Potter
Ron Weasley
Hermione Granger
Dobby the House Elf
Draco Malfoy
Lucius Malfoy
Rubeus Hagrid
Gilderoy Lockhart
Professor Snape
Albus Dumbledore
Professor Minerva McGonagall
Tom Marvolo Riddle
Aragog (Voice)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets poster
Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsHarry Potter and the gang return in another wonderful adventure. The magic still lives but this is a bit darker of a movie than its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Young Harry, now 12 years-old, faces a lot more adversity. As Harry grows up, he encounters more friends and more enemies.

In year two, all is not right at Hogwarts, the school for wizardry. One night at his "outside" home in Privet Lane, Harry meets Doby, the House Elf. Doby has come to warn Harry to not go back to Hogwarts as terrible things are about to happen there. Doby is trying to protect Harry. He succeeds only in piquing Harry's curiosity. Rule #1, never dangle a problem in front of Harry's inquisitive nose.

Harry begins to realize that he does not fit in in the "real" world. His only home is at Hogwarts where he has friends. After several misadventures, Harry once again finds himself at Hogwarts, reunited with his friends. But he is on very shaky ground after breaking several school rules just getting there.

Ah, but things get worse for the young wizard. Harry begins to hear voices that only he can hear. Following the voice one night, Harry and friends come upon a cryptic message scrawled in blood on a wall beside the lifeless body of Caretaker Finch's cat, Mrs. Norris. Harry is immediately blamed for the incident. After another curious incident at a dueling club, even Harry's best friends begin to doubt him.

Maggie Smith, Miriam Margolyes and Richard Harris.Harry finds that he is alone, well, almost. Harry's friends are not about to abandon him. As in year one, they have a mystery to solve. The question is twofold: who has opened the Chamber of Secrets; who is the heir of Slytherin, one of the founding fathers of Hogwarts who believes that magic should be kept in "all magic families", in other words, pure bloods! More is learned about the backgrounds of Hermione and Ron and it is fascinating. All is not as easy as one might expect, thanks to the excellent writing of novelist J.K. Rowling. Rowling has crafted a fine tale surrounding a mystery with growing pains.

This plot is much more complex than the previous installment. Accusations run wild! As Harry, Ron and Hermione try to solve the problem, the only thing they come up with is that things get worse for all of their friends, teachers and students alike. But Harry remains the prime suspect! Not a good thing when your House distrusts you.

Jason Isaacs as Lucius MalfoyDirector Chris Columbus has expanded on the fantastic world he created previously. The world is still beautiful to see, but there is danger at every turn. Harry's adventures in the Sorcerer's Stone seem like a piece of cake compared to year two Dangers come at every turn. Harry must learn quickly who is friend and who is foe.

But young Harry has plenty of help along the way. Harry is very adept at trusting his gut over the evidence as presented. Dumbledore sends a message, knowing Harry will break school rules. Others who know Harry is the only one capable of setting things right send messages. This is great writing to force Harry to discover all the answers.

Once again, the resolution comes down to the team of three to solve the mystery. Even then, the good get shot down and the bad seem to rule the day! But young Harry is once again up to the challenge.

Harry meets new adversaries who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. This is a momentary set-back, but Harry and friends have much more dangers ahead, and a growing list of people out to destroy him. The Harry Potter series from J.K. Rowling demonstrate that adults will destroy anyone who gets in their way. Look out Harry!

Once again, the cinematography is excellent, backed up by John Williams wonderful soundtrack. The locales envisioned by Columbus and his set designer are fantastic. But it is the characters and the acting skills of the young trio who carry this film. Wonderful!

Thanks to this movie and Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Hollywood created a new category of best performance by a digital character, Dolby and Glum (also noted: Shriek). Like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter's movies are hard to turn off when re-watching them over and over again on cable or DVD!