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Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Wow. I know it's been a few months since I've seen a movie in a theater, but things have really changed. Ten minutes of commercials! Before they even start the preview trailers. Maybe it's only at the bargain matinees that this happens, in which case I'm happy to be subsidized. But something tells me if you pay full price you still get all the glitzy car, cell phone and video game ads.

After telling (yes, telling) the Boss that I was taking the afternoon off, Mom and I got to the theater at 12:30 for the 1:00 showing of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It was deserted, and the doors to the lobby were still locked, and the box office wouldn't even open for ten minutes. So I guess we avoided the rush, which was the whole point of getting there so early. I hate crowds.

And crowds there were not today, just a few young families and a few older folks like us. As far as I could tell, all of the children were of preschool age. We deliberately went before the Christmas break, not because we wouldn't want to see it with children in the audience but because we wanted to be sure we'd get a seat. Now there will be two extra seats for some showing after school lets out, so it was really an act of goodwill.

On the other hand, the little ones who were there were younger than the target audience for the movie. They were just the right age for the marketing, though, which is why their mamas and grannies brought them. If I was scared of the spiders and snakes, I can just imagine what's going on in some of those homes tonight.

The good news (for us) is that there were plenty of empty seats in the auditorium. The bad news is that fully one-fourth of the seats were roped off and unavailable, for some unexplained reason, and the first two seats we sat in were broken. So I'm extra glad we didn't wait until we couldn't have moved all over the theater to find a comfortable place to sit.

As for the movie itself, we thought it was great. We expected it to be great, and we wanted it to be great, and we weren't disappointed. The action sequences were thrilling, and it's fun to see the developing relationship among the three main characters played out on the screen. Fans of the series can't ask for more than a faithful adaptation and an enjoyable cinematic experience.

The one thing I missed from the first movie was the innocence. Harry is no longer the na´ve Muggle-raised child, looking at the world of witches and wizards in wide-eyed wonder. Now he's a confident second-year student with friends and a place of his own in the magic world. It's easier to identify with the younger Harry, I think, before he even knew who he was.


Dramatic clouds above the oak.

As usual, Mom and I were the last ones out of the theater. There weren't more than twenty people seeing the movie on this Tuesday afternoon, and I don't blame anyone with small children for not sitting through the credits. I don't blame anyone, actually, but anyone who did leave early missed the little tag scene at the end of the film, one more quick trip to Diagon Alley.

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One year ago: Icy Fingers
"I would have been in a huff. I'm a force to be reckoned with when I'm in a snit. You don't want to mess with me when I'm in a tizzy."

Two years ago: Who Needs Tinsel?
"I have to depend on people's word when they say the check's in the mail. That alone can aggravate my ulcer."

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