Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

See also:
Harry Potter: The Saga (Uncle Cliff)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Uncle Cliff)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Uncle Cliff)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Uncle Cliff)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Uncle Cliff)

Watching this film was, to me, like watching a film with a friend who had a firm grip on the DVD remote and kept skipping “past the boring bits”. I don’t actually have such a friend, and if I did I most likely would have learned at an early stage not to watch movies with him/her, but you get my point.

Or maybe you don’t. New director Mike Newell rips out any scene that doesn’t directly impact the main plot. For a lot of films, and adaptations, this would be great news. God knows Peter Jackson could take a leaf or several out of Newell’s book (A 3 hour King Kong film??? The man must be stopped). Problem is that with the Harry Potter world I love the boring bits. Seeing the kids in classes is always great – bringing this magical world momentarily down to a relatable place is what I love about the whole concept.

Having read and loved the books, it is predictable that I’m going to have the odd gripe about what gets cut out. They made some good choices getting rid of a few inane subplots (Dobby) but in doing so also lost a few too many of the cool little moments the book has in droves.

At the same time that I am holding the film up to the impossible standards I have bestowed upon the book, I kind of wish I could have seen this film through virgin eyes, having not read it at all. Goblet is my favourite book for many reasons, one being the few great surprises it has in store – how it builds impeccably to an ending that you could not have possibly foreseen.

Watching the film I found myself willing the already fast moving film to move faster past the tri-wizard trails (which, with the exception of the dragon one were really lacking in any excitement – the mermaids went from being scary to stupid pretty quickly) to the ending where we finally get to meet He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named in a more corporeal form. Man, I couldn’t wait for that moment. And when it came…well, personally I didn’t find him menacing or frightening in the least. I felt he had more presence as a special effect in the back of someone’s head in Philosopher’s Stone. Sorry Ralph.

(Just to break from Review Mode for a second: Does it impress anyone else that the Potter films keep the same bit actors around film after film? Not just the school kids like Crabbe and Goyle, but looking at imdb.com you can find that the actors playing Lilly and James Potter have been the same all the way through the films thus far. In two of these films they play nothing more than moving photographs. This, for some reason I can’t explain right now, impresses the hell out of me. Now where was I…?)

There are a few other bitches I have about this latest Potter adaptation, but they’re mostly real geeky sounding (Did anyone else notice Dumbeldore was a completely different character here? He was all grabbing people’s throats and stuff. I thought he was about to go all kung-fu for a while there.), so I won’t bother going into them… except to say that the dance scene was very poorly written, directed and edited in this reviewer’s opinion. Cut down to sweet bugger all it seemed to serve no real purpose, except to say “and, here’s the hormone-fuelled section of the film, let’s get this out of the way quick so we can get back to the action.” Without the proper build up the dash of senseless melodrama at the end of the scene, where Hermione is crying on the stairs, is perplexing at best – and leaves the character looking totally stupid and crazy (although some would argue that was exactly the point).

The Potter films seem to improve dramatically for me after a few watches, and surprisingly, I always seem to enjoy them a shitload more on DVD. I wasn’t crash hot on Azkaban the first time I saw it, but each subsequent time it has lifted considerably, so perhaps Goblet of Fire will do the same, and by the time The Order Of The Phoenix arrives I could be singing its praises with the rest of the choir.