Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Overall great adaptation
Cons: A few scenes truncated, occasional bad acting
The Bottom Line:
Missing some events
But is good at condensing
Novel to movie

Still Holds Up After Reading the Book

Even though I've just started reading the books this year, I've been watching the Harry Potter movies all along. When this movie hit theaters, I was captivated by it to the point of almost picking up the books to find out what happened next. I saw the movie with a friend who loves the books, and she was highly disappointed. I viewed it again expecting to feel the same way she did. But I really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire again.

Before year four at Hogwarts starts, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) gets a real treat. He joins the Ron (Rupert Grint) and his family and Hermione (Emma Watson) at the Quidditch World Cup. But what should have been a fun trip turns serious when the campground is destroyed and a giant skull shows above the area. The skull is the sign of the evil Voldemort. What could it mean?

All that gets forgotten when Harry returns to school. Hogwarts is playing host to the Tri-Wizard tournament. One student each from three wizarding schools will be competing in a series of dangerous contests.

But things start out weird when Harry's name is called as a fourth contestant. He's three years younger then the rest of them, yet he still must compete and survive the competition.

Meanwhile, there is yet another new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Mad Eyed Moody (Brendan Gleeson) seems to have taken a particular interest in Harry. Can his tips help Harry make it thought the contest?

The movie had a daunting task, take a 740 page novel and turn it into a movie that doesn't take nine hours. And they do a remarkable job of it. Yep, there were lots of things left out of the book, but the important plot points are covered without losing those who haven't read the book. That's impressive.

Ironically, they did add some things for the movie. The most noticeable is the first task. While dangerous in the book, they made it much worse here. That time could have been used for something else, but it does make for a dramatic scene and is a minor issue.

The only weak part is the ending. It is so rushed that it doesn't make the emotional impact that it does in the book. And it glosses over some of the things that made the ending of the book such a big cliffhanger. I watched the ending right after having finished the book and saw the weaknesses. Seeing it in the context of the film, it does indeed work. Still, more time would have made it better.

The comic relief is provided by the Yule Ball, a Christmas prom of sorts that happens because of the tournament. Watching the characters try to deal with their teenage crushes is funny and shows just how much the characters are growing up.

Each movie in the series has featured impressive special effects, and this one is no exception. Harry faces a dragon and spends quite a bit of time under water. Yet everything looks realistic. And the special effects do make the climax very chilling.

Most of the acting is good here. The three leads continue to make a strong showing. I was more disappointed in Michael Gambon's Dumbledore here. He came across as dumber then his character truly is. At times, some of the emotion feels a little forced and over acted, but these bits only last a second or two. Most everything else feels very real.

Once again, I must say that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the best movie version of the book we could hope for. If you view it on its own, you'll enjoy it. And if you haven't read the book, you'll love it. I'd give the movie four and a half stars if I could because of the ending, but I am rounding down in this case. Either way, this movie is well worth seeing.

1 comment:

  1. My personal favourite of the Potter movies (although I've only seen the first 4 so far).