Barb, my sister and I went to see “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” on Saturday. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t like it as much as the first one. Part of it may be that I read the four books after I saw the first one, and movies are always worse than the book. (Well, the exceptions you can think of prove the rule.) But I’d have to agree with that slashdot guy that this is the weakest of the four books so far. And the parts that I liked about the second book – getting into the day-to-day magic life with Ron’s family, Ministry of Magic, etc. – was almost entirely missing. But the movie was fun and we saw it in a packed, excited theater. (Jeff apparently saw it too.)
A beef I have with the books and the movie is that the bad guys (Lucius Malfoy and his family) are too bad -- they don't seem to have any redeeming qualities except being very efficient at evildoing. When I saw Jason Isaacs as the father I figured they were tapping into the evil vibes generated by his role in The Patriot. I remember seeing Lethal Weapon 2 (the one with the South Africans) and complaining to my mom that the main bad guy was so evil that it ruined the story for me. I need ambiguity!
I also thought the "Welcome Back, Potter" bit on Saturday Night Live was pretty funny, especially because it was an extended commercial rather than an actual skit which would have been funny for 20 seconds and painful for the remainder.