Book to Film: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

"The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir... beware!"

Book Release:  1998   /    Movie Release:  2002

(Unlike other reviews on the site, the 'From Book to Movies' feature has to reveal spoilers to make sense.)

   Introduction / Brief Movie Thoughts

They didn't wait long to release another movie following the success of the first. Likewise, the book was published one year after the first as well.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets again follows the novel closely, although there are some small things left out.

The story is one of the weaker ones of the series - where kids from the school are becoming petrified and Harry must figure out how to open the chamber of secrets and defeat the foe. Now, saying it's weaker than the others does not mean it's WEAK nor's still a good story, especially for children.

Again Harry Potter is so well played by a young Daniel Radcliffe, and his accompanying friends match the characters in looks, actions, family, personality and feel. The casting is terrific, from Dumbledore to Snape to McGonagall. The villains Malfoy and Lucian are also perfectly cast in appearance and acting skills.

It stayed faithfully to the book, having a wealthy source of magic and fun imagination to draw from. Unfortunately I do have to say I preferred the first more, as the second seemed to embrace the director's cartoonish aim even further. A good movie but some of the actions are amped up to become more humorish, while instead they seemed a bit cheesy to me. Chris Columbus directs a little over the top.

The movie had excellent effects - the spiders, the monster, the castle, the train, the car. John Williams again graces us with a beautifully composed score that suits the scenes well.

Overall my rating for this movie was 6/10. It needed some improvement and the book worked a lot better with the humor and charm pieces.

   Biggest Differences

We miss out on the big ghost Halloween party with nearly Headless Nick. Removing it didn't take away from the main story, but in the book it was an interesting few scenes.

No de-gnoming in the garden on film - the book had an unusual scene where Harry settled in with the Weasley's and helped the family do an unusual job of de-gnoming a garden. The movie left this out, but given the overreaching of the director with certain scenes, this may have been for both budget, timing and benefit.

Peeves is a naughty ghost who has several scenes in the books, but he is never seen in the movies.

They leave out the Filch scenes where it is shown he is a squib, and all scenes leading up to that. I'm not sure why they removed this from the movie, because it did add interesting depth and twist to the character. Sure he is a minor character, but there was ample suspense and tension in those scenes.

They removed a little bit of Lockhart, including Hermione's crush on him and some of his talks with Harry about stealing the limelight, including the bookstore poses and photos.

They did remove the scene where Harry was locked in his room basically starved as punishment. Perhaps they found that too disturbing to keep in the film.

   Glad the Movie Kept

The movie kept most of the story and was a very faithful adaption. The stuff that was missing was minor quirks and such that didn't change the events and scenes of the actual story.

It did change some of Quidditch scenes, but I'm glad it stayed faithful to how important the game is for the characters.

I'm glad that the book stayed faithful to all revelations and scenes of the diary, and stayed faithful to the ending, although they downplayed Harry's saving of Ginny a little bit with her cover story and blame in the end.

   Who is the Big Winner?

The book is definitely a winner. Small scenes that were trimmed from the movie for time's sake added a little more depth to the characters. Some of the over top scenes that were endearing and amusing in the book didn't necessarily translate well to the film without being a little cheesy.

   Movie Trailer

 Check out the full list of Harry Potter Featured Posts for Harry Potter Week

  • Book Reviews: The Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows
  • Book-To-Film Comparison: The Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows
  • Site Features: Mailbox Monday, Cover Crush, Tune-in Tuesday, Universal Studios Trip
  • Themed Posts: RIP Alan Rickman,  Philosophers Versus Sorcerers, Magical Quotes