Potter Turns Attention to Plot, Action
I’ll admit in a number of things here. First, I watched the fourth Harry Potter film – The Goblet of Fire. Second, I honestly came out enjoying it – I can tell because I talked about it with my fellow moviegoer afterward (even when I bitch about a movie, the bitching doesn’t last long). Thirdly, there were a number of improvements made in the film over the previous three, while it missed one or two opportunities. Fourthly, I’m not going to dwell on the plot details here; go see the movie yourself, if you’re not part of the $125 million and growing audience yet.
I think the movie was genuinely scary at times – much like the second and third had their moments. It kept me hooked through two and a half hours to the point where I didn’t honestly think it lasted that long (which is a good thing). And the cute 14-year-old teenager problems made their appearances (including an embarassing Yule Ball that was kept short), including cross-wiring love interests.
But the plot kept moving, almost matter-of-factly. Unlike the other films, we didn’t see characters droning on about dangers, mysteries, and the like. They just dealt with the next problem that came along. And it’s barely noticed that none of the awe-inspiring teaching of magic used in previous films was done, except a scene about curses and a test-taking scene. There’s really not much “lull” time either – things just don’t settle down long enough to cause problems that most 150-minute movies face.
The main flaw in the film, however, came from how it ended. Now, I understand the importance of keeping to the texts and making sure each film covered a year at Hogwarts. But, honestly, have Harry return from the maze having escaped You Know Who once more, returning with his dead classmate and a warning about the arrival of You Know Who would have been a spectacular foreboding message to end the film on.
Yet, it continues on for another five minutes or so, as we go through the rituals of closing the rest of the year. Hermoine even gets to say a trite “Everythings going to change now, isn’t it?” near the very end.
Given how focused we were on the plot and what Harry’s fate was headed toward, those last 5 minutes of discord (most of which could be packaged as pre-credits intro for the next film) were not needed. Now, I admit, they did unravel one last detail in those final moments, but it really wasn’t important to the story.
All in all, a very good film, and one that while allowing for teenage moments, really started to focus on a darker plot and more dangerous adventures. A really good turning point and one that has almost turned me into a fan. (But no Sean, dear brother of mine, I won’t be reading any of your copies of the books.)