Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002

Critics score:
82 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Glenn Lovell, San Jose Mercury News: It's smartly produced and slightly more streamlined than Sorcerer's Stone, its predecessor, but at almost three hours it's still too slavishly faithful to its source and will no doubt try the patience of Muggle moppets. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is superior to its predecessor in every way: It's more thrilling, more entertaining and, yep, more magical. Read more

Connie Ogle, Miami Herald: While it still falls short of becoming the classic fans so badly want it to be, the film is livelier and better overall than The Sorcerer's Stone, mostly because J.K. Rowling got all that tiresome exposition over with the first time out. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: Chris Columbus, the director, does a real wonderful job of being faithful to the story but also taking it into a cinematic era. Read more

Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune: It remains an expertly assembled companion piece to its source material, with charms you can't overlook. But the great Harry Potter should be casting a more powerful spell. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is deja vu all over again, and while that is a cliche, nothing could be more appropriate. It's likely that whatever you thought of the first production -- pro or con -- you'll likely think of this one. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: The whole Harry Potter thing may not be as fresh for moviegoers as it was last year, but thankfully Chamber of Secrets is well-crafted. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Darker, scarier and somewhat better than Sorcerer's Stone. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: No sequelitis here, kids (and grown-ups) -- this franchise is alive and well. Read more

Paul Clinton (CNN.com), CNN.com: Once again the production values -- the sets, costumes and props -- are pure perfection. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: A little better than Sorcerer's Stone. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Crammed full of labyrinthine plot twists, this second installment will delight Potter-crazy kids even as their parents grow restless at the 2-hour-and -41-minute running time. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: In all fairness, I must report that the children of varying ages in my audience never coughed, fidgeted or romped up and down the aisles for bathroom breaks. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: This new Harry Potter has its flaws, but it's better, as well as darker, than the first. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Even though Chamber of Secrets is a vast improvement, Columbus' directorial touch remains more caring than inspired. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: It doesn't help that Chamber is pretty much all business from the opening shot, trading in Stone's sometimes-clunky exposition for full-steam-ahead action. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Entertaining and moves nimbly enough to keep your way-back seat from turning to stone. Read more

David Germain, Associated Press: Chamber of Secrets is fairly fun despite its length. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Like many children I've met, director Chris Columbus seems never to have heard the word no. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: This movie, like the first, is more of a translation than an adaptation. It's the visual equivalent of an audio book, slightly abridged. Read more

Steven Rosen, Denver Post: Not only are the special effects and narrative flow much improved, and Daniel Radcliffe more emotionally assertive this time around as Harry, but the film conjures the magic of author J.K. Rowling's books. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: An improvement on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Read more

Philip Wuntch, Dallas Morning News: As The Empire Strikes Back was to Star Wars, so Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is to last year's freshman introduction. In short, it's bigger and better. Read more

Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly: Chris Columbus' sequel is faster, livelier and a good deal funnier than his original. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: Ironically enough, Chamber of Secrets has more of a narrative arc, but consequently lacks much urgency. It does retain the wonderment that made the first film fun. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Before it degenerates into Indiana Potter and the Chamber of Doom, the movie holds promise. Read more

Michael Agger, New Yorker: Two down, presumably five to go, and already the franchise is entering dangerous territory: if you aren't one of the many who know their Harry Potter chapter and verse, prepare for a nap. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: Represents a lost opportunity to give children, not to mention adults, a movie experience that would widen their eyes as the justly beloved Rowling books did. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: Radcliffe, 3 inches taller and an octave lower than last year, is growing comfortably into his character, as is Watson, the fetching and confident Hermione. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: As a companion piece to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets makes for effective viewing. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The first movie was the setup, and this one is the payoff. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Once again, director Chris Columbus takes a hat-in-hand approach to Rowling that stifles creativity and allows the film to drag on for nearly three hours. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: Despite terrific special effects and funnier gags, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets finds a way to make J.K. Rowling's marvelous series into a deadly bore. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Just as often the film is as monotonous and despair-inducing as three hours on an airplane with nothing to read but the in-flight magazine. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: I can't think of a movie this long that has left me so starved for a movie. Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets works the kind of magic that Hollywood rarely displays: It's a sequel that's better than the original. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: Two-and-a-half hours of unadulterated fun. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Much of what made the first film so enchanting remains firmly in place, from the strong ensemble performances through Stuart Craig's magnificent production design. Read more

Wally Hammond, Time Out: The franchise is safe! Columbus' second alchemical movie ups the thrill quotient to satisfy the faithful. There's more action, and it's scarier. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Just as there is more magic conjured up in Chamber of Secrets the book, Chamber of Secrets the movie weaves a more powerful spell over its audience. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: It is on every count a better movie than last year's first film installment. Read more

Ed Park, Village Voice: Chamber's charm lies in the sheer visualization of Rowling's weirder inventions. Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: Big, dull and empty. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Most viewers, especially the younger ones, will reap its joys. Read more