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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Since others have posted about the latest HP movie, I'll weigh in with my opinion, along with the opinions of various 9 and 11 year olds who saw the movie with me.

I'm a fan of Rowling's books, having read all of the aloud with my kids at least once. Upon seeing the first movie (HPatSS) I was disappointed about how much was left out of the movie, but I've come to like the movie on its own. The hype about HPatCoS was that it was better than the first movie: better acting, better effects, and scarier. Following are some of my reactions.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione struck me as too grown-up for a summer to have passed since their last movie. I suppose this is inevitable unless a director and producer have the foresight and funding to film all the sequels at the same time (as in Lord of the Rings). However, in LoTR, the books were written and published and then read by multiple generations so the "legend" was already complete and known. Perhaps an easier job, but IMHO LotR (part I and from what I hear part II) is much better done than the HP books.

It's inevitable that if you like a book, you will pick at the things the movie decided to leave out, but the movie was already 2:41 in length, so it's clear something had to left out for one sitting.

OK, I agree the acting is better than in HPatSS, though Hermione was a bit stiff at one point, owing the fact that she was petrified by the basalisk. She continues to be one of my favorite characters for many reasons, not the least of which is her love of learning.

I can't tell whether this movie was scarier, but one 9-year old reported that she was more frightened by the automatic flush of the toilets in the movie's bathroom. I thought the Quiddich match was fairly exciting, though I wish they could give us more of a sense of the game. I find it hard to understand a game where scoring goals is fairly difficult, but then the winner is (usually) decided by which seeker catches the snitch. It seems like two different games that are just played at the same time, but one game (the snitch-catching) is much more important.

The end of the movie was IMHO too much of a departure from the book, with the movie's sentimental gush over Hagrid. And Ben bemoaned the audience's clapping at the end of the movie, but I saw that said clapping was precipitated by the clapping in the movie over Hagrid's return from Azkaban. It seemed to me that the ending was a Hollywood "let's wrap this thing up" kind of ending.

In the end I think I enjoyed this movie as much as the first one, and I hope that in the future I'll appreciate HPatCoS as it stands on its own apart from the book.

I do wish, however, that J.K. Rowling would get on with writing the other books and leave the movies alone for a while. Maybe if we all refuse to see HP III until she finishes her books, it will send a message....?