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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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Cast:Chris Columbus, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson

The hotly anticipated sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone didn't disappoint the millions of fans who eagerly awaited its release. Even more imaginative and elaborate than its predecessor, Chamber of Secrets abounds in magic, mystery, and adventure. Chamber now comes to DVD in a deluxe two-disc edition that teems with special features, and the film itself has been beautifully transferred to the digital medium. As the story begins, young wizard-in-training Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) embarks on his second year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, along with his loyal friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). But something's not quite right: Harry constantly hears a mysterious voice that warns him of impending danger, and while investigating a series of attacks bedeviling Hogwarts he uncovers a sinister, dangerous secret. Kenneth Branagh is a colorful addition to the Hogwarts faculty, and his blustery, egotistical instructor fits right in along with Harry veterans Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, and Alan Rickman. Although they've tried to keep Chamber of Secrets lighthearted with a full quota of humorous episodes, director Chris Columbus and screenwriter Steven Kloves have actually made this sequel a darker, more grimly suspenseful tale. Very young fans should watch the film with their parents, as its vivid depiction of fanciful monsters and perilous combat makes for an occasionally intense viewing experience. Watching the DVD edition could easily be an all-day affair: The film is accompanied by no fewer than 19 deleted or extended scenes, conversations with cast and crew members, interviews of Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling and screenwriter Steven Kloves, and a wide variety of interactive special features that include self-guided tours of the Chamber of Secrets itself, Dumbledore's office, and Diagon Alley. There are also some 15 animated puzzles, sliders, and screen savers to be accessed. All told, these two discs will provide families with countless hours of entertainment. Ed Hulse

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