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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)

Harry Potter’s fourth film translation got a new director: a very British and a very boring Mike Newell. This film has its moments but only because the book was filled with great moments. It was a step backwards for the franchise; it pales in comparison to what Alfonso Cuarón did with the third film.

Prior to filming, there was a lot of discussion into splitting the film into two parts because the book was so lengthy. Instead they decided to cut out most of the side plots and minor characters and focus primarily on Harry. By doing this, the film feels very rushed, and you get jerked around from place to place. It gives the movie an awkward flow. The Dursleys are noticeably absent from the beginning, instead we jump to Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys meeting up with Amos and Cedric “Twilight” Diggory and they all go to the Quidditch World Cup. They build up the excitement and introduce all the Quidditch players and then skip right over the game. You don’t see a second of actual Quidditch. I remember thinking that the projector must have made a mistake or they were missing a reel or something.

The whole movie goes on like that. They constantly cut over and skip significant things. And then they have the audacity to add characters like Nigel, and they even give Nigel lines! And they add whole scenes like the kids learning to dance. Why waste precious running time on stuff that isn’t even in the book? There is only one scene with Sirius Black. There is no Winky, Dobby, or Bagman.

Daniel Radcliffe is maturing more as an actor, but this film didn’t give him as much to work with as Prisoner of Azkaban. It is less character driven. Harry’s haircut is the worst out of all the films. It’s one of the worst movie haircuts of all time, up there with Tom Hanks in the DaVinci Code. Emma Watson stands out in the Yule Ball scene, and Rupert Grint’s best scenes were when he was fighting with Harry, and later making up.

The acting from everyone else was decent, Brendan Gleeson does a good job as Mad-Eye. Michael Gambon made a huge mistake as Dumbledore: he would never grab Harry violently like he did when he thought he submitted his name to the Goblet of Fire. David Tennant plays Barty Crouch, Jr. He added an annoying little tongue flick, something that Gleeson copied, and that shows that fake Moody and Crouch are the same person. It is a big “FUCK YOU” to the audience. Inserting Barty Crouch, Jr. into the opening scene with Voldemort and Pettigrew is another big “FUCK YOU.” Please Hollywood, treat us with some respect.

It is always good seeing Potter on the big screen. There are some really cool sequences in the movie. The first task with the dragon was really dynamic and action packed. It might be the best Harry vs. Magical Creature moment in all the films. It was good to see Moaning Myrtle again, creepy as she is. The second task underwater was eerie and memorable. The climax at the graveyard redeems the entire movie. First off they kill Twilight, and I love anyone who kills Twilight. And Voldemort comes back and gathers his army and him and Harry have a sweet light saber battle. I mean wizard duel. Yeah, that part was cool.

All in all the movie is entertaining and you have to see it if you’re watching the Harry Potter saga, so you can’t really avoid it. It just leaves a lot out, and maybe splitting it into two parts wasn’t such a terrible idea. They cut out a lot of important things, and some of the things they included didn’t need to be there. It was a step in the wrong direction for the movies. It might be some people’s favorite film, but some people eat glue sticks.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (book)

J.K. Rowling’s fourth entry into the Harry Potter world is a turning point for the series. The book’s length is almost double that of Prisoner of Azkaban. They are no longer children’s books, now they are novels. It is more adult and much darker than previous entries.

J.K. expands the wizarding world in a lot of ways. The Quidditch World Cup is a huge event, drawing witches and wizards from all over the world. She introduces new wizard schools like Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. The Ministry of Magic plays a bigger role, foreshadowing events to come in the Order of the Phoenix. J.K. Rowling starts to explore the political side of the wizarding world, showcasing how the accused Death Eaters were put on trial, and comments about how Fudge is afraid to lose power and control.

Harry and his friends are now teenagers and their hormones are raging. They start to notice to opposite sex. Harry has his first crush, Hermione has her first boyfriend, and Ron gets jealous. Ron and Harry also have a huge argument and spend a significant part of the story being mad at each other. There are a few new notable characters like the snooping reporter Rita Skeeter, the star Quidditch player Victor Krum, Barty Crouch, Sr. and Jr. and perhaps most importantly Mad-Eye Moody.

A lot of the book tackles subject matters that aren’t suitable for kids. People die in this book, innocent muggles like Frank Bryce, Ministry members like Barty Crouch, Sr. and even Hogwarts students like Cedric Diggory. Voldemort comes back, and there is a fierce dual between him and Harry.

Harry is mysteriously entered into the Triwizard Tournament, and he stumbles through the tasks with a lot of help and a lot of luck, but not much skill. Harry’s biggest turning point in the entire series takes place in the graveyard after the third task. “Harry crouched behind the headstone and knew the end had come. There was no hope… no help to be had. And as he heard Voldemort draw nearer still, he knew one thing only, and it was beyond fear or reason: He was not going to die crouching here like a child playing hide-and-seek; he was not going to die kneeling at Voldemort’s feet… he was going to die upright like his father, and he was going to die trying to defend himself, even if no defense was possible….” This is the moment where Harry steps up, where he accepts that he can’t control his fate but he can control how he handles it.

This book was a huge step forward in the saga. The story didn’t just darken, it also became more complex. There are more story arcs and subplots that only become relevant later on. There are subtle lines like, “For a fleeting instant, Harry thought he saw a glimpse of something like triumph in Dumbledore’s eyes” that will eventually get explained in the final few books. And Voldemort finally comes back, and the threat is now real. J.K. Rowling took Potter to the next level, and the phenomenon became justified.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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