Saturday, November 19, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Goblet of Fire has exactly two things going for it. First, the cast is pretty much perfect by now and the actors literally draw us into the world, like it or not. Second, it’s a Harry Potter movie and that means there’s a going to be a fun, semi-serious story that’s pure escapism and that’ll leave you awaiting the next one. Unfortunately, while all of the previous films had these traits, they also had qualified direction and pacing, something that Goblet of Fire lacks. I hate to be the one to say it (well…others have said it) but Mike Newel is the first director to fumble on the Potter series and the producers would do well to find someone else next time around. It’s not that he fucks it up per see, The Goblet of Fire is a fun movie and I enjoyed it, but it’s a definite step down from Columbus or Cuaron’s focused and thoughtful interpretations. The Goblet of Fire basically coasts on the character development in the previous films and uses it as an excuse to turn into Harry Potter goes to the OC, falling prey to allsorts of teen melodrama. I understand that this is actually part of the book but the fact is it was badly put to screen. I don’t object to its presence so much as its lack of execution. There’s a better way to handle a ball sequence than a 30 minute interlude that bogs down the film and turns it into Degrassi with wizards. Nice shou out to those who hated their proms though, but that credit goes to J.K Rowlings.

If anything, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire makes me want to start reading the books for real this time: all of the stuff I did like seems to come straight from the source and all of the boring or miscalculated stuff is cinematic in origin. To put it in perspective, Azkaban left me with a fairly magical feeling; it handled character growth deftly and completely pulled me into the world. This time around, I felt like smacking the narrator for being so inefficient at bringing me into the world. I mean, Voldemort comes back: that should be a big deal but in this film, somehow it’s not. Its little things like that which make The Goblet of Fire a muddled affair. I’ll still go see the rest of the series, but PLEASE guys, sign Cuaron again. Or at least someone who has a grip on where this is going.

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