Saturday, November 26, 2005

Goblet of Fire

I went with Sis to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire today. Thursday had been her birthday but in the holiday bustle I had forgotten the gift I had gotten for her, so I cruised up island and gave her her gift and went to a matinee.

Kudos to the screenplay writer and director for doing a difficult job: taking JK Rowlings enormous book and distilling it to the bare essentials without it feeling like a horrible hack job. Overall plot: Harry's fouth year at Hogwarts School of Wizardry. Hogwarts hosts a dangerous Wizard Tournament and is joined by envoys from two other Wizarding schools. Hormones rage. Movie five is set up.

Obviously, the plot focuses on the threat from Voldemort and how that ties in with the Wizard Tournament. They also had to develop some friendships and romances to a degree so that when they play a bigger role later you don't go, "uh, wha' happened?" Order of the Phoenix is a character driven rather than an action driven story, so with the exception of the big battle ant the end of Phoenix, I expect to see a good deal more interpersonal drama than was in Goblet. Pros and Cons then:

Pros: The kids come into thier own, this movie was light on the adults, so there was some wonderful bits with the elder Weasleys, Fred and George, the Patil sisters, and Cho Chang which we didn't really see much of in the earlier movies. Neville continues to make an appearance and I am very pleased with how the young actor portraying him handles my favorite character. The Tournament itself is handled beautifully especially the scene where Harry must face the dragon. The wonderful comedic scene between Harry and Moaning Myrtle caught just the right note; broadly played without being heavy handed.

Cons: Not enough Snape. Alan Rickman was wonderful, but needed more screen time. The secret villian was laughably easy to guess even for my never-read-the-book, I-don't-try-to figure-it-out Sis. Not enough about the dark mark on Voldemort's followers. No mention of Fred and George's joke shop and the money Harry gives them. I know this seems like a small thing to include, and I know they were pressed for screen time but Fred and George's joke shop, and Harry funding it plays a much bigger role in the movies to come and it should have gotten a minute of screen time.

I look forward to more of Jason Isaacs in movie five, he exudes such villianous malice that Ralph Finnes will be hard pressed to catch up as Voldemort.

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