The Electric Commentary

Friday, November 18, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

I actually like this particular Harry Potter movie better than I liked the book, which is some of the highest praise that you can bestow on a movie that is based on a book.

One of the most annoying aspects of the middle Potter books (4-5) is all of the overblown teen angst that goes on. I understand that portraying fourteen-year-olds as anything but angst-ridden would be terribly unrealistic, but it gets very, very annoying in books 4-5. The movie cuts the awkward teenage moments down to a minimum, keeping just what the plot requires. The focus in this movie is action, and the action is very well done.

This particular Potter story focuses on a competition called the Tri-Wizard tournament, which thankfully replaces the Quidditch season this year. Three champions are selected by the Goblet of Fire from three different wizarding schools to compete in three extremely dangerous competitions. After the Goblet has selected the three names, it mysteriously spits out Harry's name as well. The rules are binding, and what the Goblet wants, the Goblet gets. Harry is forced to enter the competition against Bulgarian Quidditch superstar Victor Krum, the beautiful Fleur Delacour of France, and his own schoolmate Cedric Diggory. All of his competitors are at least 17 years old, and much more adept at performing magic.

The cast is excellent, especially Ralph Fiennes, who makes the most of his brief screen time as Voldemort, and the movie looks consistently spectacular. It's over 2.5 hours long, but when it was over it actually seemed a bit rushed to me.

This was exactly the treatment that the book needed. If memory serves, The Goblet of Fire is the longest book in the series, and Rowling would have been well served to have had the book edited as the movie was. Some side plots are discarded, which may annoy die-hard fans, but I didn't miss them a bit. Director Mike Newell does an excellent job and I hope that he is also tapped for the upcoming Order of the Phoenix.

Harry Potter is sure to be a smash hit, and deservedly so.

4 Comments:

  • Thanks for the review Paul.

    I agree with you completely on the teenage angst of books 4-5 and am happy to hear that it was toned down for the movie. I was most concerned that while condensing a 700 page book into a movie that key elements were going to be omitted but judging by the reviews it looks like the screenwriter did a fantastic job in the translation.

    I am looking forward to seeing it myself on Saturday afternoon.

    BTW, Ebert liked it too.

    By Anonymous Spenser, at 10:31 AM  

  • Yeah...how many times do we see Hermione, Harry, and Ron storm off because of some misunderstanding in these books? And the long time Hermione and Ron don't speak to each other because of all the hormones running around?

    That's one thing I think we'll see muted, at least a little, in the movies.

    By Blogger Chris, at 1:04 PM  

  • I haven't read any of the Potter books and saw only the first movie and parts of the others, but from reading reviews I thought the teen angst sounded great. I love the idea of this kid who's a wizard but also as nervous about asking a girl to the dance as I was at that age.

    By Blogger MDS, at 2:08 PM  

  • I think that the movie gets it just right. Very John Hughes.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 2:24 PM  

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