Friday, November 25, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Lynda and I took advantage of the holiday-ness of the day after Thanksgiving today and went to see a movie--HP and the G of F.

The daycare was open today, you see, and since we pay by the week, we had already paid for Friday. We decided to take advantage of that and therefore planned to watch HP at 10:45 this morning.

We took the kids to school, dropped them off. Lynda then went to work for a few hours at the office and I waded into the day after Thanksgiving shopping to get some of the kid's Christmas giftage out of the way. The audio post below gives some of that experience.

About the movie, and YES . . . there are SPOILERS ahead (but you've probably already read the book anyway):

Speaking of the book . . . well, it IS 734 pages long, and unless you are Spike Lee or Peter Jackson, you aren't gonna get enough movie time to cover a book of that length.

So, stuff got cut, and I'm really okay with most of it. Hermione's Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare (S.P.E.W.) sub-plot is completely removed, as is any trace of house-elves. In fact, the entire intricate mystery of who is out to get Harry is simplified greatly in the movie. These things I can understand and accept.

What is lost--and what is a more significant loss in terms of the entirety of the story arc that runs throughout the books--is the process of knowledge acquisition that Harry undergoes in this pivotal book in the series. Here in Goblet Harry begins girding himself (thought he doesn't recognize it until the end of this story) for the coming battles ahead. But this movie, by focusing on the "movie-ready" Triwizard events and skipping over the months that elapse between each event, don't give you the sense that Harry has become proficient in various spells and charms that his classmates haven't had access to. Therefore, it might become less understandable in the upcoming Order of the Phoenix movie why Harry's classmates turn to him specifically to teach them Dark Arts spells?

But, I am nit-picking. Steve Kloves, the screenwriter who has adapted each of the four books made into films, is in a no win situation here. If he adapts the movies well, no one notices. Generally, people only pay attention when stuff isn't there. So, soldier on Kloves. You're doing a difficult job well.

Overall, I found the movie VERY enjoyable. It was funny where it should have been, scary everywhere else. And this movie IS scary. This book, as I mentioned is the turning point in the series, where the childish wonder of the magical world is pretty much replaced by the growing battle between good and evil that takes up Order of the Phoenix (Year 5) and Half-blood Prince (Year 6).

I cant'/won't speak for anyone else, but I would NOT take Sarah to see this movie. I wonder if she will be ready to watch it when the DVD comes out. If so, we'll be skipping a lot of stuff. I just think a great deal of the imagery in the film would stick in her mind and cause nightmares for many days afterwards.

So, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: A.

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