Sunday, November 20, 2005

My thoughts on HP film #4

I have seen Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and I thought it was great! It is also the funniest HP film yet. Mike Newell did a wonderful job directing. Nothing against Alfonso Cuarón — if you want, you can read my favorable review of Prisoner of Azkaban from a year ago June — but the third movie had some transition issues. Choppiness, in short. The fourth one has no such problem, and it improves upon everything from the previous movies, with the exception of the soundtrack, although it was excellent. (Keep in mind that I'm in love with the third film's soundtrack.)

My youngest brother and I discussed the movie over the phone this afternoon. One of the first things that came up was how much we both loved witnessing the transfiguration of Draco "white ferret" Malfoy.

I enjoyed the review written by Discoshaman, Harry Potter is an Actual Film, which I've linked for your reading pleasure. Here's an excerpt to entice more of you into clicking the link:
Wow. For the first time, a director has actually made a film out of a Harry Potter book, rather than just translating a book directly onto the screen. The others felt like pro forma movie-by-numbers. Goblet of Fire is outstanding. Not only does Mike Newell respect his own medium, but he tightens up some of Rowling's slacker portions, adding plenty of needed plot (and visual) tension. He was necessarily brutal in chopping out the uneeded portions of the story, rather than shoehorning it all in à la Chris Columbus.

The film is gorgeous. Rather than the happy shiny castle of the first movie, this one actually feels old and manky. Newell consistently picks the right pallete of colors to set the feel for each scene. The special effects don't overpower the actors, but really do add to the experience. Shoot me for the cliché, but they bring Rowling's world to life.

Not only are the actors not overpowered, they've actually learned to. . . act. And it only took four movies! Hermione, while weepy, has really improved. Ron does an amazing job playing the sulky teenager. The adults are all excellent. Professor Flitwick stage-dives (what else can you ask for in a movie?)

Yeah, Professor Flitwick's bit of crowd-surfing was great. The Yule Ball sequence alone was well worth the price of admission.

I will end by noting that if you sit through the credits, as I did, you will discover that no dragons were harmed during the making of the movie.