Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Not "Giblet of Fire" as I'd accidentally typed initially, although that would have been quite a novel twist (pun not intended).

"Whoever's name comes out of this chicken intestine will take part in the Tri-Wizard tournament".

But I digress.

Welcome to the fourth movie adaptation of Rowling's tale of a young wizard called Harry and his adventures at a school for wizards called Hogwarts. Oh you know all that already, why preach to the converted?

This was the first of the big books and it was always going to be interesting to see what would be cut from the film whilst staying true to the book. To be honest director Mike Newell seems to have cut the right bits out; so it's bye to Harry discovering that Darth Voldemort is his father and that Snape is really Keyser Soze. If you want those story lines you'll have to go and find the book that I just made up.

The vast majority of the book's start takes place around the Quidditch world championships but this gets trimmed to about twenty minutes in the film. Personally I'd have liked to see more of the championships as just as the intensity of the team introductions had built up we cut to Harry's gang making their way back to their tardis tent once the game is over. Instead the film focuses on the rest of the book with the Tri-Wizard tournament where 3 schools come together (a bit selective to say the least) and put their best pupil forward for the chance to become famous across the magic world; a sorceror equivalent of Pop Idol so to speak, only with no Simon Cowell to tell them how terrible they are. There's also a secondary story of Harry plucking up the courage to invite a girl to the school ball and no, it's not Hermione, but again you all already know that.

With so many characters established in the first 3 films, it was nice to see that the most famous actors and actresses took on more of a cameo role this time, allowing some of the minor characters to step up and take centre stage, in as much as there is a stage in a movie production. The likes of Snape, Hagrid, Dumbledore and MacGonagall all have much less of a role this time round with the limelight being given to the ginger twins, Neville and Ginny (they are not the Ginger twins I was referring to). This is the first film where you won't see any Dursley's as they've been cut completely. Of course Harry, Ron and Hermione are the principal characters in this film too. We get to see Voldemort properly for the first time in this film too and Ralph Fiennes does a good job here although I couldn't help but think that it was really Christopher Eccleston playing the part. Brendon Gleeson is this year's Dark Arts teacher Mad Old Moody, and his character is great with his ridiculously inflated artificial eye that sees all.

The film comes in at a little under 3 hours but the pacing is fine, and you don't get bored. Even the little kiddies in the cinema were enthralled for the duration, which after making the mistake of going to see the Phantom Menace during daytime and enduring bored kids climbing over seats et al, this was nice to see.

Earlier films have featured British Rock Stars in "blink and you'll miss
em" roles. If you were quick enough to spot Ian Brown in Azkaban will probably spot Jarvis Cocker this time. But did you spot the other member of Pulp and 2 from Radiohead? If not go back and look again!

The franchise is getting stronger, and to think if Steven Spielberg had been picked as director we'd have had to endure that kid from the Sixth Sense as Harry. Hurrah for JK insisting on a predominanlty British cast and another hurrah for demanding Cho retain her Scottish accent.

and yes, I was crazy enough to go to Leicester Square on opening weekend.
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