Last night, I set out into the bitter cold (there was a hard frost on the ground even as early as 8 o’clock!) I headed off to the Oxford MyVue to see the three hour (almost) long fourth installment of the Harry Potter movies…
Of the books, book four, The Goblet of Fire, is my least favourite of the books. The film of it, goes some way to improve upon it, but I am not sure how well it stands as a film in it’s own right, outside of the Harry Potter universe. Being the fourth film in the series you can excuse the film makers for not making it accessible to anyone new to the films, but I think that it possibly relies on the prior knowledge of the books too much. Events happen, and stories unfold, but they are not placed into a defined story arc. Also, in the last film I loved the older, rundown Hogwarts that they have retained in this book, but the oldy-worldy look stands at odds with characters wearing clothing made of modern fabrics. I’m not saying that this doesn’t work, but it does bring up some intriguing conflicts in the mís en scene.
The effects are of course stunning, and the aging of the young leads, is not a problem for me – the whole point of this series after all is that they do age. And there are some brilliant touches to this film, the Yule Ball for instance, just how did they film that with all those shiny-reflective surfaces. And the Wyrd Sisters was inspired. Jarvis Cocker, singing This is the Night, Magic Works, and Do The Hippogriff was fantastic in a post-The Darkness environment.
Yes, we lose the Dursley’s in their entirety, and ‘school’ is kept to the barest of minimums (but then this isn’t Grange Hill), but I feel that this adapation actually makes a better story out of The Goblet of Fire and the book. In some ways, it’s the story that the book could have been if it had been edited more. I will also be intrigued as to what we are presented with on the dvd. Part of me wants the ‘extended edition’ with all those extra ‘little’ bits that they had to trim off the scenes to bring it down to time. The detail they’ve gone to is exquisite.
In short, I enjoyed it! 🙂