Movie review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Right off the bat I want to make sure that parents of young children realize that HP&tGoF is rated PG-13 for good reason. This movie will scare little kids with the initial scene, with Mad Eye Moody’s roaming eye, with the claustrophobic maze, plus all the usual spooky stuff characteristic of the series.
The movie leaves out a couple of subplots, including Hermione’s house elf liberation movement, which was one of the book’s brighter stories. Omissions are to be expected since the HP4 book was 700+ pages long and something had to be left out. Even then, the film clocks in at 157 minutes. Director Mike Newell also spares us the odious Dursleys, and the quiddich games. I praise his quiddich restraint particularly since the World Championship was a big to-do in the book.
As we were leaving the theater The Husband pointed out that the prior 3 movies focused on the “Three Musketeers” relationship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione, while this one focuses on Harry. Some reviewers stressed the puberty aspect, but I thought it was well handled, even when I could have done without Moaning Myrtle’s bathtub diving.
The action takes place under gloomy skies, darkly-lit rooms, and/or in the dark of night. I do wish one of the three directors would have had the inspiration to show a rare sunny day sometime. In HP&tGoF, even the Weasley’s house was enveloped in darkness. Strangely enough, most of the actors seemed to have dirty fingernails (was it dirt, or was it the bad lighting?).
The visual effects are magical and engaging, and the submergible tall ship and Pegasus-pulled coach that deliver the international students are fanciful and beautiful.
The cast of HP3 & 4 remained and the newcomers did a good job. Since Ron Weasley is my favorite character, I wish the directors would have Rupert Grint do more than grimace – it won’t steal Harry’s spotlight, for sure. Ralph (pronounced Rafe) Fiennes looked like the burned English Patient with his missing nose, but his voice more than made up in creepiness for Voldemort.
This episode of the HP saga delivered an emotional punch towards the end when Cedric Diggory dies and asks Harry to deliver his body to his father. Make sure to bring Kleenex.
Harry Potter’s themes of loss, yearning to belong, friendship, and helping others, remain constant through the books and the films. HP&tGoF deals with those themes, and with meeting life’s challenges while at the same time, as Dumbledore says, having to “face the choice between what is right . . . and what is easy”.
For that, the series will continue to resonate with our generation of readers and moviegoers, and with those reading and watching in the future.
(also posted at Blogger News Network)
La Shawn will be doing a HP&tGoF round-up this week.