Monday, November 28, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - the movie

Well, a miracle occurred last week. I made it to two movies at the theatre. For a person who goes about once every 3 or 4 months, it was some kind of week.

Most of you know I am an avid HP fan. I have anxiously been awaiting the movie, and have perused each and every Entertainment Weekly in recent months in hopes of a tidbit about the movie. So, family and I went to a full house showing Friday afternoon. I was hesitant to take 8 year old Princess due to the PG-13 rating and the fact that I knew exactly what would happen. But - like most other parents, I figured, "Oh, well." It did scare her a little, but she seems fairly unscathed.
As for the movie, I was not disappointed. They took a well over 700 page book and turned it into a 120 page script. I assumed Hermione's fight on behalf of house-elf rights would be left out, as well as a number of little special touches that JK always adds. I was correct. I also expected the compression of some parts of the story. I must say that they did a great job turning such a sprawling and full story into this very enjoyable movie. The only part I wish they had left in - Mrs. Weasley. Molly was not to be found in the movie. In the book, she truly becomes a surrogate mother for Harry - supporting him in his challenges, letting him know that he is not alone, and comforting him upon the awful death at the end of the Tri-Wizards Challenge. It reminded us that Harry was still a 14 year old boy, and how much he needed a family - something Molly and her brood were always more than willing to provide for him.

However, with that one exception, I found no fault in the movie. They represented the characters and the magical events quite close to my own imagination. Even Voldemort was close to the description in the novel (not an easy task, but of course Ralph Feinnes was up to the job). The casting was great - from Cedric the Golden Boy (what girl wouldn't swoon?) to flamboyant, devious Rita Skeeter.

For those of us who have read the novel, we know that it begins and ends with tragic killings by Voldemort, particularly the end of the novel. I remember reading the book the day after Thanksgiving a few years ago, reaching the death scene at the end of the Challenge, and sobbing for quite some time. The world is up against great evil, and JK does not shy away from that in the story-telling. I was afraid I would come away from the movie depressed after dealing with such subject matter. Yes, I did tear up once again towards the end of the movie - but the screenplay was done in such a wonderful way - the movie was very balanced. The majority of the middle part of the movie was filled with great humor, adventure, action, and even romance. I laughed for much of the movie. For some great laughs, I particularly loved Harry's bathtub scene with Moaning Myrtle (poor kid!), the study session with Snape (no - I do not call him Professor either), and Mad-Eye Moody's various antics (especially his "teaching" of Draco Malfoy).

The part I most anxiously awaited was the night of the Yule Ball. Who wouldn't love the night when the brainy egg-head, ignored by boys, is instead beautiful and envied by all? The movie perfectly captured the euphoria, angst, and complete despair that a teen dance always brings. I felt like I had gone back in time 20 years (and was yet thankful those days are over for me!).

And being the parent of a beautiful girl of Chinese descent, I anxiously awaited the first appearance of Cho Chang. One look at Cho and everyone knew why Harry was so smitten and barely articulate in her presence. I look forward to seeing more of that wonderful delight.

The movie has driven me back to the book once again - I am currently on the fifth chapter. That's what a really great movie will do. My grade - A-


Edgy Mama said...

I'm not reading this until I see the movie. You know me. I don't even read the back covers of books. I can't wait to see it...

restless said...

1 movie every three or four months? That aint so sister, not since you had that boot dragging you down. Let's see, Kingdom of Heaven, History of Violence, Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice. Did i miss any? Guess your average will go down to normal when that boot comes off.

Rio said...

K of H had extenuating circumstances (as you remember); H of V was for theological discernment; and then Thanksgiving - gotta see movies because we don't have any friends in town yet and nothing else to do:)

RIOUX said...

Overall, I was disappointed with this feature. Granted the book was over 700 pages, however, I felt that too many changes took place from the book to the screen. The absence of Dobby and the other house elves as well as the changes to the plot with Rita and leaving out certain supporting cast members. I felt cheated to a certain degree as these aspects lead into the other novels. I consider the third movie to be the best thus far and give the goblet of fire a B- to C+ at best. If the producers of the movies could utilize a specific director for each of the installments then the flow of the films would be much better. Additionally, I would like the screen plays stick closer to the original books.