2002 Certificate: pg


The tumultuous second term at Hogwarts sees the dynamic trio of Harry (Radcliffe), Hermione (Watson) and Ron (Grint) embroiled in more sticky and shady situations than you can shake a wand at. Defying dire warnings not to return to the school, Harry uncovers dark forces and hidden secrets deep in the bowels of Hogwarts... in fact, a whole chamberful of them. Alan Rickman, Richard Harris and Maggie Smith are all back in the staffroom while a flamboyant Kenneth Branagh takes over as Dark Arts master.


  • Chris Columbus


  • Daniel Radcliffe

  • Emma Watson

  • Rupert Grint

  • Kenneth Branagh

  • Robbie Coltrane

  • Richard Harris


Spurred on by the great success of the first film, director Chris Columbus and his team have gone for broke the second time out.

This one is longer, darker, faster, noisier and, plot-wise, even more complicated than the original. It's also terrific fun. A must-see - oh, and for the kids too.

The story concerns a sinister secret chamber in Hogwarts School, wherein lurks a monster which, released by some malevolent being - could it be Voldemort? - literally petrifies small persons and cats... Harry to the rescue.

Harry himself (Radcliffe) is no longer a small person, nor is his best friend Ron (Grint).

Between films puberty has hit them and now they seem about a foot taller, while their former boy soprano voices alternate between high squeak and gruff baritone.

Doesn't matter. They're both excellent as, once again, is Emma Watson as invaluable, know-all Hermione.

In truth, the film could have been shorter but generally speaking Columbus, the skilled journeyman, has done what he was there to do.

He brings the book to the screen without allowing his own ideas or personality to get in the way. Harry Potter fans demand no more.

Of course, not all the book is there - how could it be? If I were to quibble I'd say that I would have liked more of Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and Robbie Coltrane.

There's a lovely, self-mocking turn by Kenneth Branagh as the narcissistic teacher of defence against the dark arts; a suavely evil debut by Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy; and a touching swansong from the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore.