The story of trainee wizard Harry’s arrival at Hogwarts school was covered in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, so in this first follow-up based on JK Rowling’s phenomenally successful second book, we get straight to the action and the film is much better for it. This time, Harry is warned by house-elf Dobby not to return to Hogwarts School, but he does, to find a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, the suave Gilderoy Lockhart (Branagh), and some mysterious goings-on that are turning his fellow pupils to stone.
There’s a flying car, giant spiders and a secret diary to keep viewers amused, and the computer-generated Dobby (voiced by Toby Jones) is a treat, but best of all is Kenneth Branagh’s turn as the dim but dashing Lockhart. It’s darker and more edgy than the original movie – even the Quidditch match seems a bit tense – but if your little one has already read the book, they won’t be surprised or fazed by any of the scary bits.
Is Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
There’s a giant snake Harry has to fight, but much worse are the giant spiders that chase him and Ron out of the forest (they are almost as scary as the spider in Lord Of The Rings).