"Harry Potter’ sequel’s success no secret
November 22, 2002
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” started out as a charm because it magically saved me from seeing “Jackass,” which was Dan’s pick for a review.
I read J.K. Rowling’s first book after a friend raved about it but didn’t fall into Harry Potter’s spell. I found her story lacking in comparison to my favorite childhood author, Madeleine L’Engle, who packed her pages with philosophical, scientifically educational adventures. I enjoyed the first movie, though, which confirmed my lazy resolve to avoid slugging through hundreds of pages and wait for Hollywood’s version of the young wizard’s life.
If I had any doubts about the power of the Potter series, they vanished when I saw “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” The film’s mostly delightful characters, intense action scenes, mysterious plot and computer-aided animation asserted Potter’s staying power as a series of films that define a generation.
Potter’s second adventures are best experienced at a theater, where Quidditch players whoosh across the wide screen faster than last year, a giant snake lunges for the audience and sounds of an owl delivering a hysterical letter called a “howler” screech from the edges of the theater.
While a few scenes seemed recycled from older movies – such as a flying car (a la “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”) saving Potter from an attack of spiders (instead of Hitchcock’s birds) after it apparently recovered from its vengeful ejection of Potter and Ron Weasley (vehicular wrath not unlike “Christine”) – the overall magic, mystery and action successfully captured my attention for the long, 201-minute adventure.
I loved the introduction of such new characters as Gilderoy Lockhart, the egocentric author of “Magical Me,” but the whiny ghost in the girl’s bathroom and the servantile Dobby – a half-Yoda, half-Cinderella character – annoyed me. Luckily, other fun, minor characters such as the mandrakes freshened up the cast.
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As Potter approaches his adolescent years, his adventures become darker and more captivating. As a result, the “scarier” scenes in this movie aren’t suitable for younger children but draw in an adult audience as well as older kids.
Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.