Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Short review: I didn't like it.

Ok potter heads, calm down.

First, let's review my opinions of the first three. I enjoyed The Sorcerer's Stone, although I thought it had an absolutely despicable ending that still pisses me off. I thought that The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban were both very good movies, with maybe a slight edge to Chamber. I should also mention that I have never read any of the books.

Nearly all of my friends who have read the books consider Goblet of Fire to be the best of the whole series, so I had high hopes going into the theater. And when I came out, I felt reasonably satisfied with it. But, after letting it stew for almost a week, my opinion has decreased significantly. Although I didn't like then end of the first movie, I have felt that the three previous movies were Complete Films. That is, without having the novels to reference, I didn't feel like there was more information that I needed to see that wasn't there. That wasn't the case with this film. Part of it may not have been able to be helped, since the novel The Goblet of Fire was about twice as long as any of the previous ones, but the movie was the same length. But I still think that any movie should work on its own terms, regardless of the source.

The biggest thing that bothered me was the treatment of Sirius Black. The end of Azkaban set up Harry and Sirius's relationship to be very important. And, while Harry has one conversation with him early in this film, he is never mentioned or heard from again. If he's still in hiding or whatever, it wouldn't have bothered me for him to be left out, but to introduce him and then completely drop the storyline didn't make much sense to me.

I also thought that Ralph Fiennes was absolutely terrible as Voldemort. After four movies worth of build-up over how dark and terrible he was, he actually came off as kind of sniveling and
annoying. I guess that's just my opinion, but it just didn't impress me at all.

I wasn't very impressed with the director either. After how wonderfully moody Azkaban was, this film just seemed drab. The CG was terrible at times (especially the underwater scenes). I also thought it was a step back in terms of acting, especially for Emma Watson as Hermione, who was great in Azkaban and just kind of annoying here.

I also continue to be bothered by the thing that almost ruined the first movie for me. That is, Harry keeps getting advantages just because he is "Harry Potter". In this movie, he only won the Tri-Wizard Tournament because he has someone cheating for him, and was out-right given a co-first place in a competition that he finished last in, just because he's Harry Potter. A hero should overcome adversity, not back his way into things as Harry continues to do.

So I'm sure that all you Harry Potter fans will explain to me why I'm wrong, but this movie, unlike the other three, just wasn't a Film, it was a Book Report. Add to that the decrease in quality of acting and directing, and that makes the least effective movie of the series.


Blogger stephcl said...

i agree. i am a huge harry potter fan....and the goblet of fire was a huge disappointment. sirius black is an important character in this book. his relationship was definately building in the last book...and did so in this book as well. it also sets the stage for a huge plot within the next school year. in the movie they simply brushed it off with one letter and a mention or two here and there that he was in existance somewhere. as far as harry winning the tri-wizard tournament - - i was sad to see that the whole movie revolved around just that. i know the book is called "the goblet of fire"...but the movie focused all around three 3 tasks he had to complete (which came across as much more challenging in the book than in the movie...i mean, the maze was more than moving bushes and running to cup!!) and less on the development of the characters. the acting did stink. most of it was overdone...and actually out of character for some. anyone who has read the book knows that dumbledore would never grab harry and raise his voice to interrogate him! speaking of characters, they cut out several good ones: dobby, ludo bagman, bertha jorkins, percy and charlie weasley, sirius black....and they even added extra parts and scenes for characters who weren't supposed to be there: neville longbottom, barty crouch sr and jr...it was just sad. the visual aspects of it weren't that great as well. my husband, who has never read any of the books, didn't care for it either. he picked up ont he sirius black thing too. i didn't care for it one bit...i enjoyed the first 3 movies, but this one bit the dust for me. i am still a big potter fan...and i'll probably go see the next movie...but i won't be expecting anything spectacular unless it's from my hardbacks.

11/29/2005 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger BigX said...

Harry Potter super freak reporting for duty.
Your analysis is not wrong in this case Wiley (as if it ever is), and I wouldn't even say that your attitude is either. Allow me to express my own oppinion on the matter. The first movie was surprisingly close to the book, outside of them botching it a bit at the end and a few minor details. I mean, learning Wingardium Leviosa in Transfiguration? Give me a break [nerdy laugh + snort]. I believe this is due to the length and depth of the first book, and it is my general belief that the quality suffers with each new movie. Now, here is how i am still able to enjoy them. I have read the books, nay, I have STUDIED them, and my general approach to the movies is that they are a highlight reel of the books. I can easily forgive leaving out parts of the book, as long as they don't have many glaring contradictions. This is where the fourth movie failed. I mean, did they have to have the extra scumbag that first scene? No. Would it have been so difficult to just have Dobby pop in all of a sudden to give him the Gillyweed (which is from the meditaranian btw!!!) without any explanation? That's how it happened in the book. The things that made me mad were when they could have just as easily stuck to the book and did not...for whatever reason. And what was up with the first task??? The dragon got loose... why wasn't EVERYONE flipping out? I blame the director, and the screenwriter for not laying off the fire whisky. I could go on...and on. But I will not, rather i will give my advice and my hope. My advice is going to be that you read the books anyway. Of course i am not going to push the issue seeing as I know you to be rather well read, so I feel no need to pressure you too much. I do however feel that you will still get a lot out of it seeing as how vastly different it is from the movie. In fact, dont even bother with the first 3 as they are pretty well covered by the movies. Definately 4 though, as it remains one of my favourite stories of all time. May not be quite as fun as if you hadn't seen the movie, but still worthwhile and it will take you 2 days tops. Now on to my hope. My hope is that this entire series will be remade in a decade or so, and they will do it justice. I know, it is sad that I am already looking forward to the remakes, but I have been since I was so let down by 3 (ending on a FREEZEFRAME?). By doing it justice, I mean it should be done by something like HBO, where they could allow the fourth book to be made into 4, 6, 10 or 12 parts of an hour to two hours. Maybe even staying true to the story. I am begining to think that Warner Bros. just can't make a series of movies without getting their panties in a bunch, changing directors etc. etc. I mean, are these morons breaking down and rebuilding the set for each movie? The common room never looks the same, and looked downright stupid in this one. Okay. I'm done. I feel a little better now.

11/29/2005 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've always said that I'd probably read the books sometime after they're all out and the buzz has died down. I always tend to shy away from things that are too popular . . .

11/30/2005 10:28:00 PM  

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