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    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Rated:PG
    Stars:Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
    Score:***

    I'm not really the kind of person who reads fiction. Technical references, sure. Non-fiction, okay. But I find myself over-analytical when reading another person's fiction. Still, after great spousal pressure, I read the first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. This was, of course, well after I saw and reviewed the movie. I thought it would be an interesting (in other words, exceptionally rare for me) to actually read a book before seeing its movie adaptation, so I read Chamber of Secrets. Now, in retrospect, there were some egregious cuts to the film version of Sorcerer's Stone that actually the movie. Would I find myself sitting in the theater, indignantly muttering to myself about the omissions as I see them? Nope. Drat, no holier-than-thou rantings from me.

    While I was reading the book a few months ago, I found myself thinking, as I read, about what scenes would be cut. I was surprisingly accurate. Indeed, not seeing some of those scenes was a relief; I thought they were superfluous and, dare I say, unpleasant to read. What was left in this two-hour forty-one minute film was an excellent adaptation of the book's story. A couple minor quibbles aside, I was impressed.

    Despite the apparent appeal, this movie is not for kids under, say, six years of age. Especially if they have an aversion to spiders. The spider scene (you'll know it when you see it) is quite long and very, very creepy. It's enough to bestow a week's worth of nightmares to the little 'uns. It was fantastically well-done, don't get me wrong, but (and, perhaps, therefore) it would freak the hell out of younger children.

    While vaguely on the subject of special effects, if I wore a hat, it would be off. With the exception of a brief shot at the very very very end, the line between real and computer-generated imagery was transparent. Flawless. Dobby was especially believable. I mean, you know it's a computer-generated image, but only because it can't possibly be real; I didn't pick up on any visual flaws.

    The pace of the movie makes you forget its length. I never found myself sneaking a peek at my watch, as I have during other similarly-long movies. It never seems to make illogical strides for the sake of brevity, but it's possible my familiarity with the story going in clouded my perception in this regard. Seeing the previous movie (or reading its book predecessor) is an absolute must, though. If you're not familiar with Quiddich rules, best do some brushing-up before heading to the theater.

    Now for the quibbles. I'll put them all in one paragraph to make it seem like I'm a thoughtful and attentive movie reviewer. The part of Moaning Myrtle was poorly cast. She wasn't at all like how I, or my fellow moviegoers, imagined. Other parts are cast so perfectly, I don't know why the ball was dropped here. There are also a few cheesy moments, most notably the very end, that seem particularly out-of-place. And finally, British people call bathroom stalls "cubicles?" That's just plain weird. Where I come from, cubicles are where people do business, not where, uh, hmm... Nevermind.

    I was impressed by The Chamber of Secrets. I might go so far as to say that I liked the movie better than the book. I might go that far, but I think it's illegal or something to do so. So I'll just sit here quietly. Maybe I'll hum to myself.

     
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