Movie misses best of Harry Potter

Kimberly Dupps and Kimberly Dupps

Those expecting to see “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” to be as close to the book as was “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” keep your money in your wallet.

If you are willing, though, to watch the movie and forget that you ever read the book, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” will be an enjoyable experience.

At the beginning of the movie, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is about to enter his second year at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the school year could not come any sooner. His Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia have practically locked him in his room and have cut him off from the wizarding world.

However, his non-magic family is not the only force keeping him from his friends at Hogwarts. Dobby, a mysterious house elf, says Harry will die if he returns to Hogwarts.

He hides letters from Ron Weasely (Rupert Grint) and Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson) to make Harry think he does not belong at Hogwarts.

Harry does return to Hogwarts in a most interesting way, only to find the students of Hogwarts, as well as the school itself, in grave danger.

The story itself is not altered from the book, but a lot of detail in the book was left on the editing room floor.

While it is to be expected that some things will be left out of the movie, Gilderoy Lockhart’s (Kenneth Branagh) exposure and fraud, and Colin Creevey (Hugh Mitchell) were important in the book but not the movie.

While”Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is not as close to the book as the first movie, it is just as visually stimulating as the first.

I would not call the effects great because they are obviously not real. However, scenes with the flying car and the Whomping Willow tree were just as I had imagined. The core of the movie, though, are Harry, Ron and Hermoine. The three of them are spectacular, although it is distracting to hear Ron’s voice cracking.

They have an obvious chemistry but the movie features more of Harry than the three of them. While the book is more Harry-focused, it would have been a benefit for people to see their chemistry.

Despite its flaws, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” does not disappoint. The final scenes are just as exciting as the first movie, and the characters still have the same charisma and charm. I will probably watch the movie again in the theater, only I will worry less about what it is missing but what it has to offer. Grade: B

(This review was originally printed in the BG News on November 21, 2002.)