Before it degenerates into Indiana Potter and the Chamber of Doom, the movie holds promise -- it hints at why the Harry Potter movies aren’t half as wonderful as they ought to be, why they feel created from the outside in. Magic isn’t made by committee.
Stream Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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What are critics saying?
I can't think of a movie this long that has left me so starved for a movie.
Chamber is chockablock with action (including a far more exciting game of Quidditch) and crafty special effects.
A fun, fantastic adventure, but, watching it, I had the sense that it could have been even better than it is. I was diverted and entertained, but never truly absorbed.
The film's scary moments are too monstrous and its happy times have too much idiotic beaming, making the film feel like the illegitimate offspring of "Alien" and "The Absent-Minded Professor."
Columbus never quite captures the depth, the rich complexities of Rowling's novels. She's written four Harry Potter books for kids that adults swoon for, too. Columbus has made two Harry Potter movies for kids … and we'll leave it at that. That isn't bad. But I suspect there's something better just around the bend.
Screenwriter Steve Kloves still seems overly dedicated to cramming in every detail of J.K. Rowling's novel - while tacking on a schmaltzy Hollywood ending.
Not much in the way of captivating magic, but all the expected notes are duly played. Hope springs eternal for the next film in the series, though: Columbus is handing the reins over to Alfonso Cuaron, an actual movie director.
Big, dull and empty -- nobody associated with this production appears to have thought hard about storytelling.
Darker and more dramatic, this account of Harry's troubled second year at Hogwarts may be a bit overlong and unmodulated in pacing, but it possesses a confidence and intermittent flair that begin to give it a life of its own apart of the literary franchise, something the initial picture never achieved.