Excerpt from the first 'Harry Potter' review by "Walkabouter"

Ain't It Cool News

"Hermione is as prissy as ever, but I found Emma Watson quite sincere and adorable this time 'round, especially in her swooning reactions to the new dark arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart.

Oh yeah...Lockhart. He's played by some guy named Kenneth Branagh -- you know, the bloke once married to Emma Thompson?

Seriously, now, for those of us old enough to recall a time called 1989, remember the young, fair-haired prince who burst onto the screen at a ripe old age of 27? The one who redefined a Shakespearean role, out Olivier-ing even Olivier? Branagh's triumphant HENRY V was not just a smashing performance, but a work of a master director full of energy, of vigor. Then his comic turn in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING made him seem unstoppable. Everyone seems to have forgotten those days once FRANKENSTEIN hit theaters. It was so eagerly anticipated (featuring one hell of a movie trailer) that when the handsome, ambitious project failed, Ken seemed to fail with it...at least in the eyes of the public.

Well, dammit, I for one still think Ken Branagh rocks. I can forgive him for FRANKENSTEIN...I can admire his 4 hour HAMLET (even if I didn't always connect with it)...

I still think he has genius within him.

I still want him to go back into directing a major, epic studio film someday.

And if he had more screen time in CHAMBER OF SECRETS, I think Ken Branagh could get another Oscar nomination.

He's smug, vain, pompous and charming. He's foolish and clever, witty and bumbling. This is not just Branagh doing Lockhart...It's Branagh spoofing Branagh.

CHAMBER OF SECRETS is at its best during these lighter moments. The silliness Branagh shows seems contagious with his actors. (There is a CLASSIC scene at the end with Harry and company challenging Lockhart -- the terrified look on Branagh's face, and the playfully sinister look on Radcliffe's are priceless.) It also works as it gets a little darker. There are some chilling moments throughout the film, and there's more mystery and tension."

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