Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000/2005)

 

Book

Written by JK Rowling

This is my favorite of the series. I had always said that, but going into reading it I was nervous because the after re-reading the others so far in the series, it had a lot to live up to. Well, it did. This book is still amazing in every way possible. In the beginning I immediately began to notice the difference from the other books. This is the first one to baloon in size and the reason is that Rowling is so much more imaginative and detail oriented. She still writes simply, though I do feel she graduated her vocabulary at least slightly as her readers also got a bit older themselves. Her charm comes across so much more here than it already has in the previous books. There is so much going on in the book and it is wonderful.

I was worried that the length of the book would be cumbersome, especially when I was off to a somewhat slow start, but let me tell you, once I hit the middle of the book, the pages flew by with excitement and suspence on every page. Again there are new characters, new aspects of the wizarding world and I loved the Quidditch World Cup! And the Triwizard Tournament! Where did Rowling come up with these brilliant ideas!? The tasks, the teachers, the champions, the students. One of my favorite aspects of the book was the tone of it. The kids are now 14 and are entering into that wonderful part of all of our lives when girls and boys become a factor, when gossip and friendship go hand in hand. It is wonderful and Rowling seems to capture it perfectly with the row between Ron and Harry, and Ron and Herminone over the Yule Ball, which is another great episode.

This has tobe one of my favorite reads ever, though admittedly I haven’t read too much, but the imagination, the drama, I was rooting for Harry the whole way, and was left guessing what would happen next, even when I already knew having read it once or twice before! I also loved how much darker it seemed to have gotten. When the book first came out and I read it there was talk that i t may be too mature for the kids, what with the scene in the graveyard and all, but I loved it then, loved it now. The stakes were just raised to a whole new level. And now You-Know-Who is at large and a major factor in the series. Before he was just a possibility. Sh*t just got real. It doesn’t get much better than this. Or does it? We will just have to wait and see what happens in the next few books. Can’t wait to start The Order of the Phoenix.


 

Movie

Directed by Mike Newell
Written by Steven Kloves

Having loved the book I was always apprehensive about its adaptation. How do they take everything that happened in the book and fit it into the movie. The simple answer is they don’t, but you can hope that they can change it in the right ways like they did with Prisoner of Azkaban and make it work. Sadly, they do not. The film is average at best but it is so difficult for me to pinpoint exactly why. Sure, the screenplay can be to blame, but other than a handful of moments, the film just felt flat. It didn’t have the magical wonderment that I get from the series itself. It moved from one thing to the next like a line of high schoolers waiting their turn at the drinking fountain. Where was the magic? Where was the vitality? Like I said, a handful of moments were great, like the Yule Ball, and Neville at the Yule Ball, and the bewitched tent at the Quidditch World Cup, but apart from that it seemed too bland almost.

I still greatly enjoyed the film as the story itself is enough to carry it, but I feel itcould have been better. Other good things, however, would include, once again, the casting. We add Brendan Gleeson as Moody and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, both astounding additions. Both actors I appreciate a great deal and seem to fit seemlessly with the rest of the cast. However, others like Roger Lloyd Pack as Barty Couch Sr. and some of the kids were let downs for me. The main kids were not as good here as they were in Azkaban. Grint was not as funny, Watson was even more overly dramatic, though the Ball scene was good, and Radcliffe was somewhat basic when I thought I saw a glimmer of hope for him in the previous installment. Matthew Lewis remains a favorite of mine as Neville though. The other thing I wanted to comment on was the music. Once again the music is quite good, but oddly enough it was not the great John Williams this time. It was instead Patrick Doyle who does an above average job at scoring the film. So cudos to him.

Adaptation

In the end, maybe Kloves, the screenwriter,had too much on his plate and struggled cutting the things he did and keeping in the things he did, but I don’t know what could have made this film better apart from possibly making it two films like they did with the final book of the series, The Deathly Hallows. One of the things, which looking at it now was a good move, but one of the things I always hated not seeing in the movies was Herminoe’s ridiculous club, S.P.E.W. I was always intrigued and entertained by it in the book and was curious to see it come to life on screen. Related to that is also a view of the kitchen where the house elves work, I think that would have been marvelous. Overall, the adaptation was average. I can see the hurdles Kloves has to jump to be able to do his job and I respect his ability to do what he does, but here is not his best effort, though I don’t blame him really. It is just one of those things where there is too much to the imagination in the book that it could not all be coherently translated on screen. I usually avoid using this cliche, but in this case, the book is better than the movie. Though I blame neither. I was just talking to a friend the other day about the importance of judging the two separately. The point of the movie is not to be 100% faithful to the book, Cuaron and his team proved that with The Prisoner of Azkaban. The film adaptation is an artist’s interpretation of the source material and should not be 100% faithful, that is what the book is for. It just so happens that Newell and Kloves didn’t live up to the book. Go on and live another day I suppose. Make another film.

One comment

  • Harry Potter is the ultimate trope at my house. My daughter based part of her character in the high school musical on one of the characters from a later book. She reads a lot of HP trivia on the internets, and says that Rowling's own favorite line is one in the last book involving Peeves.

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