Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the film
I've been pestering my boyfriend and myself (who are about the only readers of this blog) with attending the premiere of Goblet for a small eternity. Now, that the premiere's over, one would expect I would rush to my computer to write about the film. Somehow, I couldn't bring myself to it.
It might be that I expected too much. I've seen many trailers and movie clips. Checked out a million of movie stills. I was impressed. But upon seeing the complete movie, my heart sunk. I won't deny that Goblet and Order (of the Phoenix) are monstrous projects. Goblet runs at above 600 pages and Order goes to 766 pages. I knew and embraced the fact that things had to be eliminated if they wanted to keep the film running for two hours and a half. However I felt that CRUCIAL information has been cut and if you haven't read the books you will have difficulty following the action.
Visually, the film's stunning. Let me say that again: stunning. Just about every second of it has been edited by computer technology. There's a scene where Harry and the Weasleys are climbing a steep hill to get to the Portkey which will take them to Quidditch World Cup. I thought the filming crew took a bus to the nearest wood and shot the minute long scene there. I was wrong. The slope was constructed in the Leavsden Studios where the Harry saga is filmed. The wood around them was computer generated. Now, I know Harry films take a fortune to make. Wouldn't they save a couple thousand dollars just by filming such scenes on a real location?
Another consideration of mine was that (to the careful observer) many details were missing. For example: Dumbledore told Harry that Crouch Jr. died in Azkaban. At the end of the film when we find Barty Jr. very much alive, nobody explains this. Also, nobody explains who killed Barty Crouch Sr. Hagrid never gets around to actually saying he's a half-giant, but rambles on about his mother and his father. Nobody mentions that a Dementor killed Barty Crouch Jr.
There were also two big mistakes. Snape threateningly jabs his wand at Crouch Jr.'s cheek - and thus metaphorically declaring his allegiance to the forces of light, in other words: Dumbledore. In the books Snape is one of the most mysterious characters, because you can never tell with absolute certainty where his loyalties lie. This was a serious mistake the script writer made. What was also lacking, was seeing Harry mourn the loss of Cedric. There was a short scene in the boys' dormitory, but that was not enough. At the end of the film Harry is laughing with Ron and Hermione, which is just wrong. How are the movie makers going to explain Harry's nasty temper in Order? Perhaps they think no one will remember this last scene? Anyway, the ending was a mess. Considering the time and effort the crew spent on the events leading up to the Yule Ball and all the romance in the film, the ending, (which was supposed to be the climax of one of the biggest kidnapping plots in history) was very crudely done and inadequately explained. I wonder how they're going to keep things consistent with the books if they allow themselves such slips. The books have an amazing consistency and are logically leading from point A to point B... to point Z. The films don't have that feel to them and often stress unimportant events which might prove difficult to stay true and close to the leading thread of the books - Harry's fight with Voldemort.
There's more humour in this film and that was refreshing, but I somehow feel that they gave up on the major plot twists to have certain funny scenes incorporated in the final product. I won't deny that the whole Yule Ball business was funny, but it took up too much time. They put lots of effort in those scenes and forgot to repeat the same level of involvement in other parts.
Otherwise it was a good movie, certainly taking from where Cuaron left the story and taking it to new dimensions. But I rather wish the main story (kidnapping Harry) was better explained and presented. To anybody who wishes to understand this movie, I most heartily suggest reading the book first.