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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

November 5, 2010

7/10 Polyjuice Potions

Doomed to disappoint from the get-go, but still a fine adaptation of a phenomenal book.

Harry Potter and the Goblet Fire picks up with 14-year-old HP during his fourth year at Hogwarts. This time around, the legendary Triwizard Tournament is being held on his home turf, and by some evil tomfoolery of the highest order, Harry is entered into the running despite his being under the age limit, despite never volunteering himself to compete in the first place, and despite his new shaggy haircut which must be in violation of at least 36 different wizard by-laws. All the while, he’s got a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to feel out, he has to grow a pair and actually ask a girl on a date to the wizard ball, and it looks like The Big V himself is getting that much closer to returning to his original form.

Yeah, well…I had to take the PSATs. Good luck using gillyweed to pass that shit, Har.

So, new director Mike Newell was fighting an uphill battle from the start with this one. He’s working with the best book in the series which happens to be 300 pages longer than Prisoner of Azkaban, he still has to fit it all into the span of two-and-a-half hours, and since Alfonso Cuaron blew the roof clear off the bitch in the last movie, he’s also got that to live up to. All things considered, Newell doesn’t quite capture the same magic that Cuaron did and his biggest strength seems to be emphasizing that whether you’re a muggle or a wizard, it rains like a bastard in England, but he’s still a step up from Columbus and he’s quite sufficient behind the camera. Nothing fancy, just sufficient.

Then again, the recurring problem of the movie actually doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Newell, but rather screenwriter Steve Kloves and what he decided to include or exclude from Rowling’s source material. I dug how the first Twizard challenge with the Hungarian Horntail gets turned into a broomstick chase scene around the heights of Hogwarts (almost makes up for skipping over the entire Quidditch World Cup scene), I actually dug all the challenges for that matter, the final one in particular that left out all the stranger obstacles like a sphinx that tells riddles and just stuck to the threat of a living labyrinth instead. So in terms of the Triward Tournament, Kloves is on point, but then he spends an inordinate amount of time on Harry and Ron in their quest talk to girls, and the tournament becomes an afterthought of sorts.

And, man, is Ron a whiny bitch or what? Yeah, he’s a drama king in the book, but at least Rowling gives us an explanation for it because he’s always playing second fiddle. Here, he’s just giving Harry the cold shoulder and moping around like a chump, and even after that whole phase of his ends, we’re still not clued into know why he lullaby’s HP to sleep with a nice, tender “Piss off!” in the first place. And why wasn’t Rita Skeeter written out of this? Dame’s annoying in the book and adds nothing to the movie.

Although I am grateful for Dobby being left out along with that whole S.P.E.W. plot line (which I actually liked in the books but most definitely could do without in the movie). Also glad we didn’t have to see those fuckin’ Dursleys for once.

But the whenever the plot was dragging through a sea of awkward hormones and I was hoping out loud that the plot would move along to my favorite parts already, those ended up being letdowns, too. Like when Voldy finally turned up, I was psyched. Voldy’s one mean bastard, he was lookin’ the part to boot, and you usually can’t go wrong with Ralph Fiennes on any day. But then Ralph starts dancing around his merry band of gothic klansmen on tippy toes, yelling and hissing for no apparent reason and borderline overacting a role that I always envisioned as far more on the subtle end of things. Just wasn’t what I expected considering Morty (that’s what his friends call him) has officially entered the highly elite pantheon of super villains over the past decade or so. Sorry if I just spoiled that turn of events for anyone, but come on, like you didn’t think he was coming back.

And the same thing goes for Dumbledore’s speech in the great hall at the end of the tournament. That’s probably my favorite scene in the whole series, I got choked up like whoa at that scene, it’s a complete summation of why Dumbledore is Rowling’s greatest creation, and while it did sound awfully similar to how Rowling wrote it, it didn’t have that same powerhouse effect. The circumstances are still a bummer, but since the whole rift between Dumbledore and the Ministry of Magic on the matter of V. Shnizzle is never addressed and it just doesn’t sound quite right coming out of the mouth of Michael Gambon, the effect is somewhat lost. Again, I miss Richard Harris, he would have nailed that shit.

Although speaking of nailing shit, Brendan Gleeson is an awesome addition to the cast “Mad Eye” Moody, and, man, is that one gross-ass eye he’s got. Here’s an actor who just doesn’t get the props he deserves, and since Moody’s a pretty awesome character to begin with, Gleeson does it up well. Only issue is that his true colors are kind of given away pretty early on, what with all the ticks and such, but that ain’t Gleeson’s fault in the least. And everyone else from the last three movies are still super duper. Snape‘s got some choice moments, Grint‘s getting better, Watson‘s still solid and Radcliffe still needs to stop laughing/yelling/crying/generally anything outside of staring straight ahead and squawking “Accio!” at everything in sight. Didn’t hate Rob Pattinson as Cedric Diggory though, and that was a nice surprise. A lot more likable when he’s not doing the whole albino spider monkey thing.

It should go without saying that this movie never had a chance of one-upping Rowling’s source material, and while it’s still doesn’t hold a candle to what Cuaron pulled off with Prisoner of Azkaban, I still had a good time with Goblet of Fire. Wish it hadn’t felt so rushed, wish it were funnier and I wish this review could have sounded a bit less like a nitpicky fan boy wrote it, but with the books getting longer and plot lines getting the axe, there’s only so much that could have been done about that. Still a great story that’s nicely filmed, and that’s enough for a 7.

Wasn’t too big on Warwick Davis crowd surfing during a wizard rocker show though. But huge bonus points for having Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway from Radiohead in the band. You bet your ass I’d dance like a hippogriff if they were kicking out the jams.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2010 6:05 am

    This is one of my favourite Potter’s. It’s suitably dark and I love the style of the film. The story is also probably one of Rowling’s best. Some good characters introduced too!

    • November 5, 2010 8:51 am

      Yeah, things are starting to get darker, but for some reason I still think Azkaban (the movie) is more of a turning point in tone than this is. Style is pretty good though and the story is most definitely Rowling’s best. Throw any kind of competition into the mix and you’ve usually got a winner on your hands.

  2. Ryan permalink
    November 5, 2010 1:54 pm

    Definitely my favorite of the books, and probably my favorite movie. Really thought the actions scenes in this were awesome. That scene where the dragon is chasing him around Hogwarts is pretty darn cool, and the underwater scene was pulled off nicely. But man, is that moaning myrtle a pervert in the bathroom…

    • November 5, 2010 1:57 pm

      hahahaha. that bitch would NOT stop looking at Harry’s cock, man. what the hell was Diggory thinking sending him up there? the tournament scenes were easily the best part of the whole movie, but just didn’t have as much fun in the long run as I did with Azkaban. not sure why.

  3. Lemon Meringue Copter permalink
    November 5, 2010 4:43 pm

    Bad case of hogwarts Aiden? Try Extra Strengh Compound W.

  4. November 6, 2010 10:05 am

    I’ve never seen a Harry Potter film before 😦 I think I might be the only one left on the planet.

  5. November 14, 2010 10:50 pm

    Seeing that TWILIGHT dude die makes this movie a must-see.

    I think this might be the funniest one of the bunch. Anything with Ron (when he wasn’t being a bitch) was hilarious.

    • November 15, 2010 1:07 pm

      hahaha. yeah, that was a definite perk but it would have been ten times better if it was actually that Cullen fucker on the wrong end of a killing curse. and while it is pretty funny, it’s not quite on par with Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix. I feel like I use that comparison a lot when discussing these movies.

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