Thursday, April 6, 2017

Movie #398: Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire is, you might recall (if you've been here a long time), the only one of the Harry Potter movies that I didn't own. There was a reason for that, but a friend of mine decided he couldn't abide the hole in the collection, so here we are. Movie stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, David Tennant, Ralph Fiennes, Robert Pattinson, and Brendan Gleeson. And that's not remotely all.

So, picking up after the events of Prisoner of Azkaban, we find Harry (Radcliffe) having nightmares, and then whoosh, we're off to the World Cup of Quidditch, and then whoosh, Death-Eaters show up and nuke the place, and then whoosh, back to Hogwarts and there's this Tri-Wizard thing and OMG THERE ARE OTHER MAGIC SCHOOLS! But no time for that! Also a new Defense Against Dark Arts teacher, "Mad-Eye Moody" (Gleeson), but whoosh, Harry has to compete even thought it's like obviously a trap for him to do so, and then there's a dance, and a seriously 10-minute-long bath sequence, and then a maze, and Cedric Diggory (Pattinson) who's actually kind of cool in the book dies, and Voldemort (Fiennes) is alive again, and "Moody" was really an evil Death-Eater named Barty Crouch (Tennant), and whoosh year is over and...Harry and pals are all smiles.

Fuck. This. Movie.

OK, where to start? This movie jumps around like a cricket on a hot plate. It never gives you any time to establish...anything. The Quidditch match should have been fucking fantastic, instead we get a dancing CGI leprechaun and then bam, it's over. The Death-Eaters invading the World Cup should have been fucking scary, but it happens too fast and mostly we just hear what happens from Harry's perspective in a tent (not the only time in the movie that happens). The Tri-Wizard Tournament...I'm sure there was some reason given in the books why Harry couldn't just be like "lol no" and not compete, but it never gets mentioned here, just this grave assurance that it's totes a magical contract. And then we get the Yule Ball, which could have been played for better laughs, but the movie is already overstuffed and so it's just a distraction from the main plot.

Alas poor Cedric; he seems cool in the few scenes we get for him (likewise Fleur (Clemence Posey) and Krum (Stanislva Ianevski)), but not only do we never get a good establishment of who these people are, the scenes they're in are so trite and thin that it's hard to care about them. Indeed, the ones we do care about (kinda) are Moody and Crouch Jr.

As usual, the casting is spot-on. Gleeson is fantastic playing not-Moody, and Tennant looks very happy to be a bad guy for a while. Likewise, Matthew Lewis is coming into his own as Neville Longbottom, looking fucking shell-shocked at the realization of what his parents really went through.

All in all, though, this movie is one huge miss. It would have been possible in the hands of a deft screenwriter and director to cover the ground it needed to, but really, it might have been better to split it into two movies, especially since it's really the point at which the series transitions from "kids stories that are kinda dark in places" to "holy shit a beloved character dies every book."


My Grade: D
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: Mary Poppins