Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Director: Chris Columbus
Year Released: 2002
Rating: 1.5

Not much of an improvement on the first Harry Potter, this one still caught up in the never-ending process of turning Inanimate Things into Animate Things, and then having the kids react in horror (the hand is alive, the tree is alive, the books are alive, the walls are alive). This one goes farther in exploring class-division and race – there's a good deal of talk by the 'pure bloods' (lead by perpetually clean and meticulously groomed Malfoy) about eliminating the 'mugbloods' (Hermione being one of them, Potter no exception), reminding one of ethnic cleansing in current events – but a step back in terms of fun; while the first one never transcended its CGI foundation, this time everything is even less startling because you've come to expect the same things happening: an endless array of problems for the young wizards which involve them being saved at the last minute by some freak intervention. Branagh's inclusion a pleasant surprise (as an expert in Defense Against the Dark Arts, or 'Dada,' har har Ms. Rowling), the late Sir Harris still a scene-stealer, but it is still no big deal.