The International Writers Magazine:Film Review
Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Dir Mike Newell
Cast: Eric Sykes,Timothy Spall, David Tennant, Daniel Radcliffe,
Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Mark Williams, and more
Gemma Ayres review
a huge Harry Potter fan, I approached the cinema on Friday night
with a mixture of excitement and nerves. Eager to see the film,
directed by Mike Newell, I was at the same time apprehensive;
how could J.K Rowlings 629 page action-packed novel, so
full of twists and turns, be cut down for a cinema audience, and
yet still retain the magic and suspense that makes the books so
This film, the fourth
in the series, sees Harry unwittingly selected to take part in the Triwizard
Tournament, where he must compete in three strenuous, even brutal tasks.
Throughout the year Harry finds himself taking on dragons and merpeople
and even facing Lord Voldemort himself; however none of these can compare
with the toughest challenge Harry has yet had to face at Hogwarts
asking a girl to the Yule Ball.
Harry and his friends are growing up, and this film is as much about
friendships, crushes and teen angst as it is about the battle between
good and evil. Harry and Ron fall out, Hermione finds she has a new
admirer and Ron must face public humiliation by attending the Ball in
frilly dress robes. The darker elements of the story are balanced well
with the comic, which come mostly from Rupert Grint as Ron, but also
from an amusing scene where Malfoy is turned into a ferret.
The Goblet of Fire introduces several new characters into Harrys
world; theres the deliciously irritating Rita Skeeter, played
by Miranda Richardson, the mysterious Mad-Eye Moody, (Brendan Gleeson)
and, of course, Lord Voldemort, played by Ralph Fiennes. Whilst Voldemorts
physical appearance was extremely close to the books description,
certain aspects of the character came across as rather too ordinary.
Although he was certainly chilling, his frightening appearance was somewhat
let down by the lack of haunting menace in his voice which is brought
alive in the books through Rowlings descriptions of Voldemorts
high, cold voice and sinister whispers.
Dumbledore too seemed different in the film; he was far more anxious
and agitated, which in my mind betrayed the image of Dumbledore as a
calming influence on Harrys life and a constant source of wisdom
and quietly-spoken advice.
One of the problems that screenplay adapters have to contend with is
the fact that fans already have an image of the characters in their
head before they see the film. Some of the casting in the films, such
as Alan Rickman as Snape, could not be more perfect, but some to me
just feels wrong. Roger Lloyd Pack, probably best known for his roles
in Only Fools and Horses and The Vicar of Dibley, plays
Bartemius Crouch, the stiff, stern, rule-loving Ministry official. Whilst
he gave a good performance, I just couldnt see him in that role
and therefore found it difficult to identify with the character.
The special effects in the film, particularly the dragons, were stunning.
Harrys performance in the first task is made more spectacular
and dramatic for a cinema audience, and includes a high-speed chase
around the castle which was exciting and visually powerful.
There were, of course, changes made from the book; this was to be expected.
Some worked well to further the plot in a condensed space of time, but
in some cases the effect of quickening the pace of the film also meant
that some of the suspense was lost. More clues as to the twist at the
end of the story were given from the beginning; having already read
the book I was aware of this twist, but for non-readers in the audience
I wonder whether there was really a shock at the end, or if it had all
been made too predictable from the start.
There were omissions
in the film which seemed to me might create confusion for non-readers,
but perhaps this is because I already know the full explanation from
reading the books, and so noticed more what was missing. The truth about
Nevilles parents is hinted at but not really discussed further,
and the significance of the Dark Mark and what happened during the Priori
Incantatem spell is not explained as fully as I would have expected.
Obviously time is an issue when making a film, and I am not suggesting
the filmmakers create a five hour long epic, (at two hours and forty
minutes the film is already long), but certain things seemed to have
been left out that I felt would have done well to be included, and there
were parts of the film that I felt could have been cut. Rita Skeeters
article on Hermione did nothing to further the plot, and given how most
of Ritas role in the book is cut in the film, this scene didnt
really seem to fit.
Some scenes were disappointing, and this is mostly true of the scenes
at the Quidditch World Cup. I understand the time restraints, but after
seeing the huge Quidditch stadium, the thousands of spectators and the
players soaring magnificently into the air, having the action cut just
as the game is about to begin to the gang in their tent celebrating
Irelands victory was extremely anti-climactic.
The conclusion of the film seemed rather messy; without spoiling the
end, lets just say that comments were made which had me shaking
my head in disbelief, and seemed to be a lame attempt to tie up the
loose ends which are so fully explained in the book.
But dont think I didnt like the film; I loved it. The very
nature of adaptations forces changes to be made; film and literature
are such different mediums, a truly loyal adaptation of the book could
never be made, therefore each much be enjoyed separately, and can never
really be compared. I strongly recommend the film for viewers of all
ages but if you havent yet read the books, I recommend
these far more.
© Gemma Ayres November 21st 2005
Nov 29th - Potter and Goblet has taken $400 million dollars since
the opening weekend
Gemma is a Creative Writing major at the University of Portsmouth
Dir Lasse Halstrom
Gemma Ayres review
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