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HARRY POTTER II

HARRY POTTER & THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

Rating: PG

1. For the diehard fan

Anybody who loves the books by J.K. Rowling will immediately fall in love with the second Harry Potter film. Chris Columbus, who also directed last year's mega-hit, captivatingly brings Rowling's work to life on the big screen.

From the beginning, the audience is captured by the wide-eyed innocence and charm of blossoming actor Daniel Radcliffe, who shows immense talent as Harry, our hero. We soon encounter the familiar faces of Harry's loyal friends, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), who, this time around, have funnier lines, bigger roles and show a bit more development as characters.

When they arrive at every child's fantasy school, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry is faced with challenges that are even more dangerous than before. Forewarned by the house-elf Dobby, Harry still ends up at Hogwarts. Headmaster Albus Dumbledore (the late Richard Harris), gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), and the flamboyantly vain Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh) lead the staff, fearing the worst is yet to come for Harry and the school.

As Harry's past is partially uncovered, the audience learns more of the effects of his encounter with Lord Voldemort, greatly stirring things up among the students and presenting Harry with further torments from nemesis Draco Malfoy.

Through the writing of the mysterious Tom Riddle, Harry is faced with seemingly unconquerable tasks. However, as the film reached its thrilling climax, I realized Harry could not disappoint adoring fans.

There are only two problems with "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets": 1) It is solely meant for the diehard fan, the obsessed, the mesmerized -- if you are not a huge fan, you will be either, a) confused, or b) trying desperately to keep up; 2) It is rather fast-paced -- at two hours and 40 minutes -- so you'll probably want to skim the book before you go.

Rating: 3.5 of 4 stars

2. A magical treat
By ANGELA STEFANO - NeXt Correspondent
Funny to freaky with a hint of magic in between. That just about sums up "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

The special effects were amazing. From Dobby, the house-elf who comes to warn Harry he can't go back to school, to the giant basilisk in the chamber, to much faster games of Quidditch, this movie had tons of effects to wow the audience.

Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, has a lot of talent. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) and Emma Watson (Hermione) are great too, although Emma she never really got a chance to show off her acting because she was petrified for part of the movie. Kenneth Branagh was very good as Gilderoy Lockhart, the professor who's totally stuck on himself.

I had only one problem with the movie, so don't start with the death threats until you hear me out. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" definitely delivered all that fans had waited for. But three hours was too long for "Titanic," and it's too long for any other movie. I was squirming in my seat by the end, even though I was enjoying the movie.

Lesson learned: Never anger a giant snake. And never follow a flood of spiders.

3.5 stars (out of 4)

3. Better than the first
Guest reviewer Arielle Blanton, a junior from Grand Island, gives the movie 3 1/2 stars:

Stepping out of a Philadelphia movie theater a year ago after seeing "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," I was at a loss for words. I was having a hard time thanking my mother for taking me to see it, when actually I was very disappointed. So I was a bit apprehensive about the second movie: How could I bear 2 1/2 hours of the butchering of my favorite book series?

But Chris Columbus proved me wrong. The sequel was a whole lot better. I was delighted with the extra screen time for Alan Rickman (Professor Snape) as well as stunning performances from Kenneth Branagh (Professor Gilderoy Lockhart) and Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy). The soundtrack was quite wonderful, a definite improvement from last year.

My favorite part was Tom Riddle's spelling of his name in the Chamber of Secrets in fiery letters that shifted to tell Harry his true identity.

My least favorite part was when Harry and Ron were chased by the daughters and sons of Aragog. Like Ron, this girl hates spiders!

4. This movie STINKS!

Guest reviewer Peter Pavlakis, a freshman at Kenmore West, gives the movie one star.

Ever since the movie industry began, producers have showered box offices with movies made from books. Some of these movies managed to be good; "Harry Potter" was not one of these. Aside from absolutely butchering one of the best plots in the history of fiction they tacked on some corny action scenes to pitifully attempt to generate some excitement.

Daniel Radcliffe played an absolutely lifeless Potter and when he did need to show emotion he completely overdid it. Kenneth Branagh on the other hand managed to show some talent while playing an incompetent showoff professor with an oversized ego.

In retrospect, this movie STINKS. There were occasional laughs but as soon as Radcliffe appeared on screen again, they turned to annoyance.

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