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Still shot from the movie: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Despite warnings from Dobby (voice of Toby Jones), a self-abusive servant known as a house elf, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) decides to return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B 3.5
Violence: C+
Sexual Content: A
Language: A-
Drugs/Alcohol: B+
Run Time: 161
Theater Release: 13 Nov 2002
Video Release: 10 Apr 2003
MPAA Rating: PG
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Despite warnings from Dobby (voice of Toby Jones), a self-abusive servant known as a house elf, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) decides to return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year. But his departure is plagued with disaster --everything from a missed train, and an uncontrollable flying car, to a tree that packs a punch.

Narrowly escaping being expelled before classes even begin, the bespectacled apprentice soon discovers there was just cause for the elf's words of caution. Paralyzed classmates, threats written in blood, and rumors of a mysterious chamber housing a monster have the entire academic establishment running scared. Suspicions about who may have unleashed the deadly unknown demon quickly turn to Harry, thanks to his innate ability for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the unveiling of an unusual talent the lad didn't know he possessed.

Joined by Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), the friends set out to find the real culprit. The perilous path to the truth leads them to the Forbidden Forrest, the sewers of the great castle, and requires a certain disregard for school rules.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is not for the fainthearted. Fans familiar with the book will remember the inclusion of several fearful creatures including snakes and spiders. (Any one with phobias will likely relate to Ron's reactions to the situations.) While the movie script follows J.K. Rowling's novel fairly faithfully, seeing these sometimes-sinister encounters depicted will be more frightening for many viewers than just reading about them.

Yet, what keeps the film from succumbing to monster movie status is the powerful theme that emerges. It appears the late Lord Voldemort had a certain aversion to wizards without pureblood pedigrees, and the infamous villain's sympathizers are still trying to establish an upper class. Harry, whose unique heritage has made him a celebrity, chooses to befriend those who are of questionable lineage, poor and in servitude. It is humility and loyalty that make this boy a worthy hero, and accounts for some of the magic of the Harry Potter franchise.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is rated PG: for scary moments, some creature violence and mild language.

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Studio: 2002 Warner Brothers

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About the Reviewer: Donna Gustafson

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