starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Kenneth Branagh
screenplay by Steven Kloves, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling
directed by Chris Columbus
by Walter Chaw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (hereafter Harry Potter 2) treats its audience with respect while comporting itself with intelligence, wit, and passion. The things missing from the first film have been satisfactorily addressed in the second: the crucial racial bullying subplot; the unfortunate attention on special effects as spectacle; and the lamentable lack of character development. Perhaps most importantly, the sense of darkness and fear endemic to any great children's story has been honoured in the sequel. I completely expected to dislike Harry Potter 2 (as I disdain the films of Chris Columbus in general and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone in particular), but the picture is more winningly indicative of screenwriter Steve Kloves's (The Fabulous Baker Boys, Flesh and Bone) dark character studies than of Columbus's childish desire for frothy restorations of a nuclear order.