Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Movie

November 25, 2005

I read the fourth book in the series about the Boy Who Lived back in August. I liked it, alot. It’s the first Harry Potter book I’ve really gotten into, and while I tempered my expectations for the movie based on some commentary I had high hopes for the flim version as well.

While I think that the movie adaptation of Azkaban was slightly better, Goblet of Fire was still a tremendous experience. First and foremost, dang have those kids grown up. There is a reason that Cleo calls him Radcakes. Even I think that Mr. Radcliffe is growing up to be a very handsome young man. While I’m still not looking forward to the Phoenix whine-fest, Potter’s awkward steps into adulthood were well handled in this format. Ms. Watson and Mr. Grint are similarly respectable nowadays, and … good lord. IMDB says Emma Watson was born in 1990. I was already killing dragons when she was born. I’m so old. Besides reminding me of my age, all three of them did a crackerjack job portraying the Potter adventuring crewe. While Mr. Grint (thanks to Ron’s nebbishness) really came out the loser in this situation, I was pleased by the decision to remove the House Elf sub-plot from the film. It was the only irritation I had while reading the novel, and made Hermione overall a much more hard-nosed character.

Plot changes were much more frequent than in the previous movies, and there were numerous edits obviously made for time. Besides the elves, the entire Quidditch entry into the novel was extremely abbreviated. Unlike previous movies, there was almost no time left over for their actual classes, and the obnoxious ramblings of Rita Skeeter were almost entirely missing from the proceedings. Overall, Goblet felt much more rushed than even Azkaban. There was wall-to-wall plot to move through and while there were some pauses to take a breath they were very few and far between.

Visually, the Azkaban style has carried over into the later film. While I know there are some who liked the light and fluffy version of the Potter world from the first two films, the dark and spooky reality that Newell has conjured from the ashes of Cuaron’s last flim is extremely appealing. That said, Mr. Newell does not have the same skill with the camera as Cuaron does.

This combination of plot speed and the slightly less adept camerawork meant that I came away from Goblet not quite as impressed as I was with Azkaban. Prisoner of Azkaban, as a movie, blew me away. The visual texture and adept handling of the story in that film were testaments to Cuaron’s skill as a director. Goblet, on the other hand, left me feeling like someone who had ridden out a tornado. Plot flying at me left and right, and what part of the year is it now, oh look there goes the ball and wtf it’s the last challenge now and hey the movie’s over. To be sure, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the book more, though. It’s still the first book I’ve really gotten into. The Weasley twins totally made it worth watching. They need their own damn show. Good times.

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