Here it is, the spoiler filled review for Goblet of Fire.[/p]
There are two fairly big complaints that keep me from enjoying this movie as much as humanly possible.
One, the beginning just goes way too fast. Blink you’re here. Blink you’re spinning through the portkey. Blink you’re on the train to Hogwarts. Way to condense 158 pages (US, paperback).
Two, Warner Bros. – I and every other fan have enjoyed the flood of clips and pictures, but as weird as this sounds, could you bring out less of them for Order of the Phoenix? I think there were maybe three main things I hadn’t “seen” by the time I got to the movie:
The introduction of Cedric (cute!)
The Yule Brawl (good scene to include!)
Voldemort-end (I think it counts as one big long scene in my head)
Less is more, thank you very much, especially at the rate the movie moves. There were a few funny bits that didn’t go out in advance, but very little filler to hold the first part of the movie together from the ‘steady stream of trailers’ feeling.
And can we just say Hermione simply stole that second scene and tweaked at sympathetic hearts all over? Which brings me to the trio themselves:
By far Dan Radcliffe has grown into his role so well you’d not believe he was the same stammering kid from Philosopher’s Stone. Gone are the wonder-filled (and almost annoying when you see them return in Chamber of Secrets) kicks of “hang on” as you watch Harry’s brain click-slide into place. Instead this is a Harry that knows what the deal is, and furthermore, doesn’t like it very much. Our movie Harry shows bits and streaks of sarcasm and a sense of humor that was totally lacking in Prisoner of Azkaban, and probably won’t return for a movie or two.
Finally, those of you as fed up as I am with rubberfaced goofy expression Ron can breathe a bit in relief. Yeah, there’s moments, but there are thankfully less of them, as if he was over that phase (now, get over the long haired Scooby-Doo Shaggy look and we’re on to something). The moment with the dance lessons (as seen in the circulating clips) was cringeworthy, and he just got knocked flat acting wise by Watson’s Hermione during the Yule Ball fight(s). Rupert Grint has finally added some dimension to Ron that doesn’t involve an excess of facial contortion – not a lot, but enough.
Oh Hermione. Now, I do have a soft spot for Hermione, but she simply sparkled through the movie, even when she was promptly putting her foot in her mouth about Viktor to Harry (many were snickering right along with you, Harry). Hermione definitely steals the scene away from Ron, and often. You may make her cry after the Ball, Ron, but Hermione won the fight, hands down. You can tell Hermione’s trying to struggle between wanting to laugh and cry at the departure of Hogwarts’ visitors, and it actually makes sense.
No review would be complete without an assessment of the newcomers, who by and large did not say much.
Very sweet and awkward and not entirely polished. It will be interesting to see if Katie Leung returns for Order of the Phoenix.
Tall, handsome, clean-cut and perfectly cast as the ‘hero’ of Hogwarts. Very noble – just when you think he’s probably going to land a comment or something that comes off probably too arrogant, he drops a nice word Harry’s way. You can’t help but like Robert Pattinson’s Cedric.
A bit frazzled and frantic, Poesy’s version of Fleur works and really is just pretty enough to be convincing.
By the time he says something you go “wait, who was .. oh that’s Viktor!”, but he really doesn’t say much.
The adults of note:
Less clever people would think he was just a mere drunkard through the movie. Sly, demented, and a bit frightful, he shows compassion at all the right moments. Even sadistic curse throwing professors can have a soft spot for tea, you know. I also missed the “Constant Vigilance!”, oh well.
Barty Crouch, Jr.
Someone needs to remind me to check out Dr. Who in a serious way. Tennant was properly unhinged from start to finish.
Creepy journalist with more flash than facts? Check! Nailed it perfectly, I believe.
Creepy with mesmerizing eyes, Fiennes almost makes you forget he has no nose. A very understated looking Voldemort, which I liked. No sense going over the top on that, and they didn’t.
And the returnees?
By and large, most of them were hilarious and much needed comic relief in spots. You could feel the frustration pouring off of Dumbledore (who could have been a bit more restrained), and the annoyance from typically jumping to conclusions and getting them wrong Snape (in his place, whacking students with books was probably the most fun he had all year). I thought Sirius in the fire would be awful, but a barely recognizable Gary Oldman plays it well, and the CGI is impressive enough and not cut too short.
Both the Patil twins are not in Gryffindor. Padma, get out of the common room! Furthermore, the speaking simultaneously cliche on both sets of twins in the movies and dressing alike has got to stop in a bad way. We get they’re twins! Honest. Also, you could have played up that Ravenclaw connection by having Padma hang out next to Cho or something, but no. Don’t tell me it was lack of Ravenclaw ties that made her presence in Gryffindor essential.
Nigel: superfluous and dumb, dumb, dumb. I don’t know who owed who what that needed that bit in, but I’d have tossed it out.
The arrival of Ron’s dress robes probably would have been better after McGonagall explaining the ball, which seemed redundant after that scene.
Gabrielle’s presence at the beginning of the movie. It gives the impression the Beauxbatons just knew she’d be picked, because I can’t figure why she’d be along for the ride otherwise. Cute kid, though.
The upgraded appearance of Ginny and Neville. While Ginny didn’t have a whole lot to say, the fact she was actually visible during Goblet of Fire was not lost (and the bohemian chic and slightly retro look? Perfect costuming.). Neville – he was the perfect choice to fill in some otherwise missing information, and just geeky enough about Herbology you have to go “aww”. Of course, this is most likely a substantial build up to their expanded roles in Order of the Phoenix, and I found Neville to be wholly endearing and utterly sympathetic – this is a Neville the trio can appreciate.
The subtle “signature behaviorisms” of a couple characters, even if by the end you’re like “ok we got it already, put that brick down”.
The Dark Mark and the Death Eaters.
Effective use of stained glass in two places. I don’t think I want to detail this out, just see it.
The Potter badges.
Lily and James.
Hoggy Hoggy Hogwarts!
Things I didn’t miss at all:
Dobby, Winky, SPEW
The extra Weasleys
There were things I wanted to miss:
The cringy-ew feel of Myrtle in the Prefect’s Bathroom. I squirmed right along with Harry, truly.
Madame Maxime and Hagrid.
The clue-by-fours through the movie, whacking people with clues. That’s a fangirl talking, don’t mind me, they didn’t take away much from the movie.
But then, the cringy-ew feeling is sort of important to the movie, whether its Hagrid and Madame Maxime, the Prefect’s Bathroom scene, preparing for the dance with Professor McGonagall.. it fits. These are awkward teenagers, with more than just the return of the Dark Lord to fuss over, and it shows.
Now, here’s where I admit a couple tears got shed – just after the Third Tournament. Right there. If you aren’t misting up at this point, well, you are then made of more stronger stuff than I, because I’ll admit – it moved me harder than the book seeing everyone’s reaction to what was going on than just imagining it. Movies don’t make me cry, by and large. Maybe I’m becoming a softie. Nah.
The movie ends on a more bittersweet one than the book, at least by my take on things. It was a truer ‘book ending’ than any of the three previous movies (no cheesy hugs or lame freeze frames posing as art). The film is not entirely accessible to the non-hardcore Potter-fan, but followable enough if you don’t understand a lot of the details, you still get enough of a fine story. (Drag those significant others if you must, but they may just enjoy meeting you after for coffee.) The changes from the book didn’t kill the movie. Where the movie could have improved was as always, more length, and probably swapping out some scenes for others (this will be revisited when the DVD comes out).
Goblet of Fire earned it’s rating in the best way possible, and while people feared they may soft-pedal around the horrific scenes of the graveyard and try to soften it up, it did not dissapoint. It wasn’t soft. It was squirmy, difficult, and quite saddening.
As Harry said, “I love magic.” Goblet of Fire is fine magic. It’s not a 10 star movie, no, but it’d score at least a fine eight and a half.
But seriously? Move over, Azkaban. You’ve been dethroned.