New Harry Potter Movie...Books Are Better

There is no question that new comer Mike Newell's exceptionally dark and wonderfully eerie version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a hit. Just look at the numbers: It raked in over $104 million dollars in its opening weekend. It should not surprise anyone if GoF pushes close to a billion dollars in revenue, bringing it into the top ten of all-time highest grossing movies.

As the third director on this project, Newell is forced to make the best of what others left behind. From Christopher Columbus he inherited some brilliant actors, both youngRupert Grintand oldMaggie Smith et al, but he was saddled with a somewhat wooden lead (Daniel Radcliffe) who looks the part and muddles through, much like his character. Alfonso Curon contributed and darker look and a hightened sense of sexual tension between the leads, but he also set a precedent by interpreting Rowling's text in a less faithful way than Columbus. Mike Newell picks his way through the best of the two to create a strong interpretation of Rowling's Goblet of Fire.

First, Newell's casting is spot onViktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski), Cedrick Diggory (Robert Pattinson), and even Allastor Moody (Brendan Gleeson) seem to have stepped right out of the pages of book. Certainly they were better than Michael Gambon's Dumbledore who is worthy of carrying Richard Harris' hip flask, much less replacing the revered Irishman.

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All the major scenes—the Quiditch World Cup, the dragons, the merpeople, the bubble bath, the yule ballaccomplish their task, advancing the story and conveying the mood. The triumph of the movie, though, is the climatic graveyard scene where He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named returns after thirteen years. Ralph Fiennes embodies Voldemort in his terrible totality; he looks, sounds, moves, and terrifies the audience as only the Dark Lord could. The tenderness of Lily and James Potter's return in the Prior Incantatem would bring even one of Gringott's goblin to tears.

In order to reduce GoF's 752 pages to a little over 150 pages of movie dialogue, much of what makes JK Rowling's story so much fun must be shorn away. Dobby didn't make the cut; neither did Winky nor Ludo Bagman. Hagrid's Blast-end Skrewts never see the light of day, and Percy Weasley never replaces his boss in judging the competition, thus having the opportunity to prove himself a complete git. Sirius Black apears for only a few moments in a fire place, but he is never forced by Dumbledore to shake hands with Snape. The Dursleys had not a chance (though Dudley lolling about with an engorged tongue sounds like everyone's idea of fun). SPEW and Weasley Wizard Wheezes never even made it to the editing room's floor.

Steven Kloves, the writer who adapted the GoF for the screen, may have the most difficult job in the world. How does one choose what stays and what goes? Add his to the list of jobs you that originally sounded good but turn into a nightmare. Kloves announced in an interview with the LA Times that he will not continue with the Harry Potter movies; it cost him six years of his life and several personal projects. Wish him good luck, and let's hope the next guy is half as talented with what can only be the three most difficult of the novels.

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Demarle at Home said…
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Health-Mor said…
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Jessica said…
I'm surprised you enjoyed it as much as you did! I saw it over the weekend, and really didn't enjoy it at all. I thought all the cutting lost some of the best parts of the story, I hated Brendan Gleeson as Moody (I'd always had Christopher Plummer in my head, anyway), and I was so distracted by the fact that it was Ralph Fiennes that I couldn't concetrate on the scene. But other than that, I thought Rupert Grint was great...