Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

*1/2

Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

I know I'm going to make loads of enemies by saying this, but I just don't see why everyone is going nuts over this film. There are billions of biased Harry Potter lunatics out there, who would give The Goblet Of Fire 10 out of 10 before seeing it, even if the director did nothing but wipe his ass on the celluloid. This isn't the case, but it's still one of the most boring films I've had to sit through in a long time.

The books do not adapt well to film. J K Rowling's universe is so dense and involving one can become immersed rather easily, which is one of her major selling points. The films were put into pre-production before Warners fully understood how long and drawn-out the novels would be. As a result, they were forced increasingly to cut down on what they put up on screen. I found The Prisoner Of Azkaban to be anorexic, compared to its literary counterpart. The Goblet Of Fire goes even further and strips it right down to the bone.

Copy picture

Director Mike Newell had the option of releasing the film in two separate volumes (a la Kill Bill), but his overconfidence got the better of him and he reckoned he could do a 500+ page book in 157 minutes (with 12 of those minutes being credits). It doesn't work; I don't care what anyone says. The story is badly damaged by being whittled to almost nothing. I'm not complaining at the lack of the Dursleys. I know they don't make or break a film. But important sub-plots and important characters are barely featured.

Harry's co-competitors in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour, are interesting and developed in the book. Here, they are so absent you'd think they'd been completely cut out. I think I heard Krum speak once. And the British tabloid press made a huge fuss (as they do with everything) over a girl from Fife being cast as Harry's would-be girlfriend Cho Chang. But she's in it for an absolute maximum of two minutes and has about three lines of dialogue! And what of this nonsense that Ron and Hermione are in love? They have a single conversation, with no longing glances or butterflies in stomach, or anything! Being jealous of each other's dancing partners simply isn't enough. Also, many important plot developments that the scriptwriter doesn't have time to touch on are given a single line of explanation and quickly forgotten, as things move from A to B to C. For anyone who hasn't read the book this could be very disorientating and you'll probably get lost at some point.

Keen to distract us from this, Warners has chucked in a massive SFX budget in hope that lots of CGI will make us think the film really is amazing, when it just plain ain't. How superficial can you get? I really don't think the kids will mind, though. And the zombie parents dragged along with them won't care either. Those of us who are serious about film (people who go nuts over Harry Potter not included) will notice how plebeian the franchise has become.

Newell does chuck in a couple (only a couple) of nice shots, but has this simplistic theory that the darker the film looks the more sinister it will become. What nonsense! Much of the film is so poorly lit, you'll struggle to see what is happening on screen. And the daytime scenes are shot with an ugly green haze to make things look enchanting, or spooky, or something. It makes the film look stupid.

In the hands of a skilled director, who is familiar with action, fantasy and even a touch of horror, this could have been better. The director of Mona Lisa Smile and Four Weddings And A Funeral is a totally inappropriate choice. For some reason, John Williams has jumped ship and left scoring duties to Patrick Doyle. But you'll hardly notice the difference. Doyle retains the Harry Potter theme and sticks to the loud, bombastic sound Williams used for action scenes in the previous films.

I'm not a Harry Potter hater, however negative my opinion may sound. But trying to talk sense into someone who loves the films, no matter what, is like trying to convince a Christian Fundamentalist that God doesn't exist.

Reviewed on: 19 Nov 2005
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It's darker now and Voldemort is close. Can Harry triumph at the Tri-wizard Tournament and save the world?
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Read more Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray ****1/2
Scott Macdonald ***1/2

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