Chris Columbus stays on as director for the second Harry Potter film in 2002. Young wizard Daniel Radcliffe and his pals Rupert Grint and Emma Watson go back for a new term at the eerie Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, only to find that something is seemingly attacking the students at random.
The original stars also all return for more of the same in this magical, entertaining, sleekly crafted and lovingly acted sequel to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001). Radcliffe still proves a little winner as Harry and Grint and Watson are ideal as Harry’s school chums, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The school is run by Richard Harris (as Dumbledore), Maggie Smith (as Professor McGonagall) and Alan Rickman’s shifty and supercilious Professor Snape, all three actors shining brightly.
In the additions to the cast this time, the excellent Jason Isaacs shines as the Machiavellian Lucius Malloy and so does Kenneth Branagh as a pompous windbag of a teacher, Professor Gilderoy Lockhart.
It’s slightly slow to get starting this time, and the film’s a little bit baggy in the middle thanks to the long running time of 161 minutes. But it certainly sparks up and delivers the goods in the quality family entertainment department nonetheless and overall is at least the equal of its predecessor. The effects (especially the flying car), production and performances are all superb.
Sequels to incredibly popular hit movies can be tricky and, overall, this is a job spectacularly well done. Again, there are a few scary moments and some mild language.
Sequel: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).
Alan Rickman died of cancer on 14 January 2016, aged 69. He shot to international stardom in 1988 as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, and won BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild awards. J K Rowling’s personal favourite for Snape, he continued to play the role through to the eighth and last movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011).
© Derek Winnert 2013 Classic Film Review 513 derekwinnert.com