Youthful wizard Harry Potter returns to the screen in this, the second film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's wildly popular series of novels for young people. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and… More Youthful wizard Harry Potter returns to the screen in this, the second film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's wildly popular series of novels for young people. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) return for a second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Headmaster Dumbledore (Richard Harris), Professor Snape (Alan Rickman), Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith), and Hagrid the Giant (Robbie Coltrane) are joined by new faculty members Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), a self-centered expert in Defense against the Dark Arts, and Sprout (Miriam Margolyes), who teaches Herbology. However, it isn't long before Harry and company discover something is amiss at Hogwarts: Students are petrified like statues, threats are written in blood on the walls, and a deadly monster is on the loose. It seems that someone has opened the mysterious Chamber of Secrets, letting loose the monster and all its calamitous powers. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out to find the secret chamber and slay the beast, speculation is rife that one of the heirs of Salazar Slytherin, the co-founder of the school, opened the chamber as a warning against the presence of "mudbloods" (magic-users of impure lineage) at the school -- and that the culprit may be fellow student Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets featured Richard Harris' second and final appearance as Headmaster Dumbledore; he died less than a month before the film was released in the United States. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Consensus: Though perhaps more enchanting for younger audiences, Chamber of Secrets is nevertheless both darker and livelier than its predecessor, expanding and improving upon the first film's universe.