Sunday, November 27, 2005

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

So, Sunny and I went to see the new Harry Potter Movie last night.

Now this post is going to contain some major spoilers, so for those who aren’t going to read on, I’ll just say that if you’ve never read the books, and only experienced Harry Potter through the movies, go and see it, you’ll enjoy it.

If, however, you read the books first, this movie is not so good.

A few weeks ago, when I heard that the new movie was coming out, I discussed it with my daughter-in-law, and Sunny (both rabid HP fans).

I looked at the HP boxed set on the shelf and said:

“The first book was only a couple hundred pages long, and that made a three hour movie. Goblet of Fire was four times longer… they’re gonna have to cut an awful lot out.”

I was as right as Righty McRight, Who has a degree in being right from Right University.

The movie begins with Harry in the Burrow, not in Privet Drive. He has his dream, but instead of it just being Wormtail, Nagini and Voldemort, Barty Crouch Jr. is there as well.

Harry is woken by Hermione, and they head to the Quidditch World Cup, although for some reason, none of the group other than Mr. Weasley have a clue where they’re going.

They arrive, get in the tent, cut to the game, we see the teams rush in, cut, and back to the tent. None of the game at all.

Then the Death Eaters arrive, burn up the entire camp site, and then Barty Crouch Jr. Conjures the Dark Mark. Winky and Dobby are absent from the entire movie.

Cut to Hogwarts, First task, second task, ball, third task, Voldemort’s rise…movie over.

That’s pretty much it.

No mention of Mad-eye blowing up his dustbins, Neville tells Harry about the Gillyweed, Sirius only has one (CG) scene. The first task is extended which leaves Harry hanging from a Hogwarts tower, but the second task is only a few minutes long. The third is laughable. There are no magical enchantments in the maze, only the maze walls change to block you in, and devil’s snare tries to grab you.

Not a Blast-ended Skrewt in sight…and I have to admit, I was wondering what the Veela would look like on the big screen. They never showed up.

Ok, ok, I can understand them seriously shortening the movie. If they’d stayed completely true to the movie, it would have made the extended version of Lord of the Rings look like a trailer. It did irk me a little that they extended some scenes, at the sacrifice of other important plot elements.

However, I’ve no idea if they thought that movie-goers are a hundred times dumber than fans of the books, but they drop so many hints about the ending, they might as well have handed out postcards with ‘Moody is Crouch Junior’ on them.

For example, in the book, they make sure you know that Moody is so paranoid, that he only ever drinks from his own hip-flask. In the movie, they go in the opposte direction, and make a point of showing how suspicious it is.

Every time Moody does something suspicious, he takes a conspicuous drink from his hip-flask.

Moaning Myrtle tells Harry that she saw ‘Bits of Polyjuice Potion’ in the drain, and asks if Harry is ‘up to something again’.

Snape corners Harry and accuses him of stealing the ingredients to Polyjuice potion. (This is in the book, however, in the book Snape only mentions the ingredients, and Harry thinks that he didn’t steal them, but Hermione did the previous year.)

In other words, in the book, Rowling drops the occasional, very subtle hint that may give you an idea of what’s going on, and only introduces Barty Crouch Junior about halfway through… and then only to say that he died in Azkaban. At the end, you discover that Crouch Jr. escaped from Azakaban, and you learn how he escaped.

In the movie, you know he’s alive and well from day 1, and it’s never explained how he escapes.

Basically, the book drops subtle hints… the movie bludgeons you over the head with them.

Oh, and the book makes you believe that Crouch Jr. might have been innocent, and sets him up as a sympathetic character. In the book, he gets accused, and goes full fledged psycho…complete with snake-like tongue movements. The book led you to believe that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Movie shows you he’s a complete and utter psycho bastard in the shortest time possible.

Also, because of this, you never learn the Crouch senior has been bewitched, or any of the other slightly ‘behind the scenes’ stuff.

There are also a few glaring omissions that are going to make the next movies a little difficult.

For example, it’s never mentioned that Rita Skeeter is an unregistered Animagus. The whole Harry-Hermonie-Krum ‘love triangle’ is completely missing.

In ‘The Order of the Phoenix’ Hermione blackmails Rita Skeeter into writing Harry’s full story of what happened the night Voldemort returned by threatening to tell the Ministry of Magic about her being able to turn into a beetle. This can’t be in the next movie, because the whole Animagus thing was left out.

In closing I’ll say this:

The Goblet of Fire is a good movie, it’s far, far from being bad. You go into it expecting to get the ‘Reader’s Digest Condensed Version’. However, even though this is a kid’s movie, you can’t help but feel like you’re being patronized and spoon-fed the story. It’s a ‘leave your brain at home’ movie. It’s also annoying that new scenes, that bear no resemblance at all to the book, have been included at the expense of some of the more important plot points.  

So, I’ll give this movie Two scores. One for people who have read the books, and one for people who only watched the movies:

Movie-goers only : 8/10
Book Readers       : 5/10

1 comment:

rayray said...

I took my 8 and 10 year old boys to see this last weekend, and my 10 year old (who has read the series) had the same thoughts.

Overall, they both enjoyed it, but my eldest couldn't help but tell ME all that was different from the book.