Sunday, 22 January 2012

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Review

If you're going to have to raise up this child prodigy wizard to defeat the most evil wizard the world has ever known, you should maybe try some consistency with your Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.  That seems like it might be an important skill to develop.  It appears that these movies are going to have the formula of a new one each time.  To me, that takes a bit away from the flow of the entire story and makes it a bit too predictable.  Going in, you know that the new teacher is going to be a problem for Harry and there's really no surprise.

But that's really the only thing wrong with the fourth movie in the series.  Because Harry and his friends are growing up, they (thankfully) have gotten rid of all the little tidbits that children will titter over (like "all exams are cancelled" and "eating chocolate helps").  Instead, they have focused more on the growth of Harry and his own personal struggle with good and evil.  You can see him developing a crisis of conscience.  He's a teenager with incredible power and he seems to take some pleasure in using that power regardless of the consequences to other people.  This makes it a much more enjoyable movie for an adult to watch.  There really is no kids element to this one.  It is way darker and adult oriented than I thought it would be.  As the target audience for Potter grew up though, so did the themes of the stories.

They've still made the same mistakes in adapting such long books to the big screen.  I'm assuming that the books take a long time for character introduction, descriptions and story progression.  They are keeping a little too much of that in the movies and the film slows down.  However, this was needed in the first one to set the stage.  They kept it in the second and third ones which was a mistake.  They've kept the slow story progression in the fourth but they have dropped a lot of the introductory and extraneous stuff and made a much tighter movie with some really good suspense.  In fact, the last 30 minutes or so of this film are very, very tense and fun to watch.  The drawback though is that the two elements of the story are not woven together well.  They have the whole Tri-Wizard cup story and then they have the bigger Voldemoort story that is the plot of the entire saga.  They keep these a little too separate and it makes the film feel a bit disjointed.

But the bottom line on this one is that the tension and effects keep you riveted and it doesn't feel as long as it is.  The technical aspects, while nothing to write home about, are all solid enough to not distract you.  But the most compelling aspect of this movie is that the tension keeps building.  It doesn't start to taper off so your adrenaline builds a lot to the climax and you come away from that scene with the "wow" factor.

See it.