And now…my long awaited post on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, now that I’ve had a chance to see it twice, re-read the book, and mull it over a bit.
It was excellent.
I will not stand for any quibbling. It was superb. The writer and the director did an outstanding job of dealing with 700 pages of material. I came into the moving fully preparing to be deeply disappointed–I read that they had gutted the plot. They did. The plot needed to be gutted in order to make a feature-length film. But the gutting was brilliantly done. The movie had a very English feel, which I feel was due to the director, and it felt more true to the books than the previous three films. The crew found a way to transcend the snarl of plots going on in GoF and pick out the themes, the threads of wisdom within the book, that captivate the readers. The movie was extremely fast paced–you had to focus and pay attention to follow the plot. My primary concern as a fan of the books was that people who hadn’t read them would find the film confusing–as happened with the previous movie. However, several friends of mine (I hesistate to call them friends, really) who have not read the books said they were able to follow the plot and didn’t feel short shrifted by any of the action.
I was a bit disappointed that the house elves got cut, because Rowling makes some excellent statements about racism through them. (And other non/part-human characters, such as Lupin.) I feel that examining the way we treat each other is an important theme in the books, and I was also saddened to see Dumbledore skipping over the “cooperation” part of the tournament and focusing on the glory. Hopefully the theme of kindness and respect for others can be revisited in future films, because I believe it to be valuable.
I was also somewhat concerned that Crouch’s fate was not revealed. For individuals who haven’t read the book, it needs to be made clear that the Demontor’s Kiss was delivered, and that he is therefore rather a non-entity now. Crouch is not going to rise up suddenly in the next film and endanger anyone. He has no soul, and is rotting in Azkaban. I rather hope they mention that in the quick expository bit at the beginning of Phoenix.
It’s always bothered me, as well, that when they fight the dragons, Harry doesn’t just summon the damn egg. “Accio egg!” End of story. Better yet, I would have loved to see someone use the Imperius Curse on their dragon. It would have been interesting.
I was also a bit irked to have Crouch added into the opening scene, but I understand that for viewers who haven’t read the book, Crouch needed to be introduced. They were a bit obvious with the Polyjuice though. Part of the excellence of the book lies in the fact that the reader has NO IDEA that Moody is not the real Moody. Whatsoever. Rowling really kept that cat firmly in the bag until the end, and I liked it better that way. However, given that the film needed to move quickly without being confusing, it’s a plot change that I am willing to concede was probably wise.
At any rate, this film gives me high hopes for Phoenix, although apparently the same writer will not be working on that script. I hope that Newell sticks with the films, though. I am bitter, however, that Phoenix is not projected to release until 2007. I want to see it next year, not the year after next, damnit! Besides we’re all waiting on tenterhooks for book seven, we need something to distract us.
I know that there have been some complaints about this film, from book fans and movie goers alike. However, it seems like the news has been, overall, positive. I cannot stress enough that it is not realistic for fans to expect the entire book to be compressed into a 2 1/2 hour movie. It takes much longer than that to read it, after all. Fans might also want to keep in mind that Rowling works closely with the film crews, and she doesn’t strike me as the kind of woman who would be afraid to speak out if she was bothered by anything in the films. She is nothing if not precise and organized, and her influence in the films shows.
Oh. And. Hermione=woah.