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Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

So I’ve been hiding the link to story where The Leaky Cauldron posted the international trailer for HARRY POTTER & THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS in stories for the last week. In case you haven’t found any of the links, CLICK HERE and feast your eyes.

So far, each new clip from this film shows a little more, and also gives me confidence that they’ve pulled off a film that is better than their first outing. Our review from Walkabouter certainly suggests that’s the case. And now we’ve got this new reviewer chiming on. Do they agree with his early assessment? Let’s see...

Be warned... there are spoilers here if you haven’t read the book, and even if you have, there’s some stuff here you might want to see onscreen first...

to the AICN crew, from Sam's Myth:

Tonight I was lucky enough to catch a screening of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, almost a month before its release. I'm a big Harry fan and I'll just say right off the bat that it doesn't disappoint; It's quite great actually. Spoilers follow (but who hasn't read this book anyways?).

I'd love to just look at this film as its own individual unit, but the fact of the matter is that the most natural way of digesting it is by comparing and contrasting it to the other formats: the first movie, the movies to come, and of course the books. Just like most any Star Wars fan will tell you that Empire is the best, the majority of Potter fans easily dub Chamber as the worst (or the least great) of J.K. Rowling's books. Well we're in good shape if the worst of the books can be turned into a movie this fun. And with Alfonso Cuaron (of Great Expectations and A Little Princess, both fairly underrated) on board for the next film, it can only get better from here.

It's cliché to say this, but I will anyways: The first movie was a magical and fantastic introduction to the world of Harry Potter, and the second picks up from there (granted, less romantically) with a much darker tone. The film is literally darker, moodier (is it a stretch to note the noir-like camera angles?), and scarier. The film's mystery stems from the ressurection of the Chamber of Secrets, a hidden Slytherin heir, and some hot and bothered spirits lurking in the literal and figurative bowels of Hogwarts; That sense of mystery is what makes the movie so great. It's nice to reach that darker place, like when Tom Riddle's handwriting reveals itself to Harry from thin air, or when the other students start to silently question Harry's integrity as they do their homework. The set pieces are gothic and haunting (the gigantic trees of the Forbidden Forest; the Legend-of-Zelda-esque titular Chamber), and some moments are surprisingly uncanny-- like seeing Hermione frozen stiff, eyes glazed over ("petrified"), and the bizarre Shining-meets-Lolita incarnation of Moaning Myrtle, who is a lot freakier than that stupid girl in the Ghost Ship trailer.

The three kids (Daniel Radcliff (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), and Emma Watson(Hermione)) turn in very solid performances. You can see how far they've come (and how much their voices have dropped) in just a year, especially Radcliffe, whose performance sometimes made me forget I was watching a kid. And then the other usual suspects are all back: Draco is meaner and has a badass new broomstick, Dumbledore confirms his lightning-bolt scar (Yep, it's there. And you heard it here first), Oliver Wood is still the man but has less screen time (sorry ladies), Warwick Davis gets another couple shots (yeah!!!), and our lovable friend Hagrid once again gets the honor of leading us to the closing credits with goosebumps. Kenneth Branagh, playing the haughty and hillarious Gilderoy Lockhart, fills Alan Rickman's shoes as the stealer of the show, and he'll keep the adults in the audience fully entertained with his craft. Great newcomer performances also from Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Mark Williams as Weasley, and Bonnie Wright is adorable as little Ginny Weasley.

Chris Columus has also fine-tuned some of the visual effects (don't get me wrong, some of it still looks plain bad, mainly the strangely lit and seemingly blue-screened spectators during the throwaway Quiddich sequence). Dobby the house-elf looks pretty freakin real in most of his shots, and the Basilisk (the Chamber's slithering pet) is one of the best-looking and genuinely frightening reptiles since Jurassic Park. It's also nice to see some old-school puppetry being used instead of just CG-ing every little thing (hint hint George), such as with the funny (and plot-oriented) Mandrakes and Fawkes, Dumbledore's mythic winged phoenix.

And when the phoenix cries on Harry's arm to heal his battle wound, it's strangely poignant. It's one of the few times you get that feeling, and if there's a flaw in the movie it's that it lacks the heart of the first. There's no real mention of Harry's parents-- a powerful visual and thematic element of the first movie-- and other than in the last scene, the movie doesn't quite capture your heart like the Sorcerer's Stone. Both of the Potter films suffer a bit in pacing, editing, and Columbus' lack of an unmistakable vision. But Chamber makes up for its flaws with a dark plot, its great sense of mystery and danger, and just the fact that at the end of the day, it's Harry Potter, and Harry Potter rules! You can look forward to being a kid again on November 15th.

Excellent. Thanks, man. For those of you who spent all day e-mailing me about the “recently announced” titles for the next four (!!) HARRY POTTER books, it looks like the rumor mill was working overtime yesterday. Yes, a Reuters search of the UK Patent Office trademark database confirmed that Warner Bros. had registered several titles, including HARRY POTTER & THE ALCHEMIST’S CELL, HARRY POTTER & THE CHARIOTS OF LIGHT, and HARRY POTTER & THE PYRAMIDS OF FURMAT. They also registered HARRY POTTER & THE GOBLET OF FIRE at the same time. Warner Bros. now says that none of the other titles will be used later in the series, and that the Reuter’s search had just turned up suggested alternate titles. Because those titles, along with the already announced HARRY POTTER & THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX and the books in stores now, would add up to eight novels instead of the promised seven, fans went a little berserk. Anyone who thinks that POTTER-mania is dying out should have seen my inbox today. I’m glad Reuters did a followup to their original story from yesterday, since it helps calm excited fans down again.

"Moriarty" out.

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