Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Spoiler-free Review

Granted, there’s not a huge reason to review this film. It’s the fourth in a fantastic series; if you’re reading this, there’s little chance you’re going to miss it. Because that would be stupid. So I’ll just provide some supplemental material to make you a more informed viewer.

First, Alfonso Cuaron gets the gas face. This bastard (who directed Prisoner of Azkaban) convinced Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell to NOT do a Kill Bill and create two movies from the book, released a few months apart. That was the original, glorious plan. While the movie is great as is, it does a major hatchet job on the plot in the book. As a result, many subplots and nuances are removed; the Dursleys and Molly and Percy Weasley don’t even show up. This is a sad way to treat a great book. To those who were planning on watching the movie and skipping the book to get onto the others, that’s no longer an option. You would be doing yourself a huge disservice, not to mention making books 5 and 6 a bit harder to understand.

And as Agent Assassin asked, didn’t the producers want to make twice as much money? You’d think with an extra $300M+ at stake, they could have paid off Cuaron to convince Newell to do the extra movie. Or just paid Newell extra to do it (he only got $1M, vs. $10M + percentage of gross for Sorcerer’s Stone director Chris Columbus).

Speaking of Cuaron, he declined directing Goblet of Fire because he said he’d still be working on Prisoner of Azkaban. This answers the question of how they’re getting them out so quickly (one every 1.5 years) – overlapping production. Must be quite the marathon for the actors.

Speaking of actors, Emma Watson is definitely coming of age. As Ms. Watson is (ahem) a few years my junior, I thought my mind should perhaps not be wandering in that direction. Then I found out every other guy thinks she’s hot, so it’s ok. Heck, Ebert called it when she was 12, in his Chamber of Secrets review. There are, in fact, two “countdown to 18” clocks for Emma, even though the age of consent in England is 16:

http://www.jonnydigital.com/countdowns/emma-watson (love the anime drawing)

Of course, for those worried about not looking as good as the actors in the film, another bit of trivia from the IMDB said they used computers to digitally remove any skin outbreaks, as makeup wasn’t cutting it in in the closeups. Amusingly they said they used the same process as Desperate Housewives, confirming that it doesn’t get any better with age.

I was asked to comment on watchability for kids, since this is the first Harry Potter film to get the PG-13 rating. While there is some scary/creepy imagery, it’s not very gory. Some dead bodies, sure. However, I definitely think it’s tamer than Star Wars III. If your kid’s 13, go for it. Especially if you can see it at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, that would be an experience they’d long remember. Heck, it almost makes me wish I had kids to share it with. Almost. Please don’t send me your kids.

3 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Spoiler-free Review”

  1. The commercials to these movies always look OK, but isn’t this a children’s series? I can’t see throwing money down on this until my kids are a little older to see it as a family.
    And you’re reading the books too? From the “young adult” section???
    You were always smarter than me, so my criticism must be the result of ignorance. Enlighten me, my liege!
    I think my problem is,… I have been through the entire Drizzt-Salvatore series and the Gunslinger-King books, so I’d have a hard time weaning off the sex and gore and deep-thought.
    HOWEVER it does seem (from the trailers, I mean) that Harry Potter is growing up and starting to draw a different age group.
    Is this the case?

  2. To be quite honest, I felt exactly the same way for years. A lot of people my age tried to convince me otherwise (the author herself says they weren’t meant to be childrens books), but I retained my snooty attitude. I, too, have read 6 Drizzt books, plus some Irvine Welsh stuff (Trainspotting) that really push the limits of good taste. So I can see the appeal of that stuff, too.

    I saw all the movies as they came out, and found them very entertaining despite the fact that they star kids/teenagers. I tend to hate any movie where kids play a big part, they’re always so cutesy, like it was made for a 45+ single woman who lives with 8 cats. These are more about kids who are getting a raw deal most of the time, which I can relate to. And the art direction is phenomenal. But as much as I loved the movies, I still assumed the books were for kids.

    Then book 6 came out (The Half-Blood Prince), and Agent Assassin was walking around stunned because he couldn’t believe what happened. So before the spoiler got out, I decided to have a go. I started from the first book (“Sorcerer’s Stone”, or “Philosopher’s Stone” in England), and was immediately hooked. I read all 6 back to back, pretty much nonstop. The books have larger print, and are easy reads, so this only took about 4 weeks (I’m a very slow reader). Thing is, they’re just damn entertaining, and I do acknowledge that I would have loved them even more if I read them growing up. But they also get darker with each volume. Violence and death are not ruled out, this ain’t G.I. Joe where only robots die, and your shoot opens automatically when your plane explodes. Books 5 and 6 become quite dark, and I’m curious as to how they’ll be turned into movies.

    So basically, they’re just good stories well told, for adults and teenagers alike. I know Agent Bladerunner is reading them now, as is one of my coworkers who’s also older than me. In fact, Bladerunner has said he had to stop telling the stories to his kids a few years ago because they were finding them a little too dark by book 3. Now that she’s 13, his daughter is picking them up again.

    And I have to admit, I pretty much enjoy the same crap now as I did at 13 :^) I think a lot of us at The Crack Team can say the same.

  3. If you like the Drizzt, you should check out the latest ones centering around Entriri and Jarlaxle. I ended up liking them better than Drizzt’s gang.

    Alright then. I trust your word on Harry Potter. Maybe I’ll get around to it someday.

    (ahem. but er um… can I put a Playboy book-cover over them when I read? because MY co-workers would kick my ass if they caught me.)

Comments are closed.