November 19, 2005

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire

harrypotter4Director Mike Newell (Four Weddings & A Funeral, Donnie Brasco, Pushing Tin) deserves to be knighted by the Queen for the heroic effort in making a watchable movie out of an insanely dense and long novel. I didn't realize exactly the scope of the challenge until we saw the movie Saturday night. Besides ruthlessly cutting out plots and subplots (house elves, Quiddich, Rita Skeeter, the Dursleys, Mrs. Weasley, all either cut out or barely present), Newell valiantly struggles to keep this intensely episodic story moving. The previous installment, Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban, was delightfully organic and lyrical. This film, by contrast, was choppy and full of rough tone changes, but the whole story gets told in an entertaining manner, and that's all we could ask for.
The three kids are still very accomplished in their roles, Michael Gambon has made me forget the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore, David Tennant is intensely crazy in his few scenes as Barty Crouch Jr., and Ralph Fiennes is spot on as Voldemort. Brendan Gleeson delightfully chews up the scenery as the ex-Auror, paranoid veteran Alastor 'Mad–Eye' Moody. (AMC Fenway, November 19 2005)

SECOND VIEWING: February 11, 2006
Goblet was definitely better the second time around. We didn't need to focus on the plot, and which parts were left in and taken out. Instead, we focused on the subtext and the small details. We had a nice time despite the presence of many under-10-year-olds at this PG-13 movie.

Sure, it's easy for me to complain about parents when I am not one myself, but it seems like too many parents think babysitters are a costly option, not a necessity. It's not okay to bring a 5 year old to the movies, unless there's a monkey and a Man in a Yellow Hat. If the child does not know how to whisper in your ear, they should stay at home. Remember, this is a movie with tortured children (Harry is cut by Wormtail and suffers Voldemort's touch), murdered children (Diggory), Wormtail's hand is chopped off, and Voldemort himself, the personification of nightmare material. (Arlington Capitol Theater)