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  1. #1

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    GoF trade review

    Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire
    By Kirk Honeycutt The Hollywood Reporter

    For legions of Harry Potter fans, the coming of a new film, the fourth adapted from J.K. Rowling's hugely successful literary series, is all they need to know. For nonfans or parents who accompany children, there is this: The movies keep getting better and better.

    Where the first two films stood in awe of Rowling's work with all its magic and trickery, "Prisoner of Azkaban" and now "The Goblet of Fire" look more deeply into the developing human drama. As the three young protagonists move into their teens, they become more recognizable as young people rather than young wizards. They confront such coming-of-age issues as hormonal urges, questions of identity and peer pressure. They confront, in other words, emotions and experiences faced by all teenagers. Magic can't help them here.

    But there will be magic at the boxoffice. The series actually has declined domestically from the dizzy heights of $317.6 million for the first one to $249.4 million for "Azkaban." This one suffers from a 156-minute running time that might cut into attendance by the very young, but the film should come close to equaling the success of the previous edition.

    The new director is Mike Newell, which is interesting because he is the first British director on what is a very British movie series. Perhaps this explains why "Goblet of Fire" feels much more intimate. Newell and writer Steve Kloves, who has adapted all four books, waste no time in the world of the Muggles, humans with no magical abilities. From the opening nightmare to the last shot on the last day of Harry's fourth year of study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the movie is rooted in the world of magic.

    Harry's recurring nightmare features a room glimpsed from a dark corridor, wherein Harry's nemesis, the evil though unseen Lord Voldemort, conspires with minions. More disturbingly, as school opens and returning students visit the Quidditch campsite, dark figures attack. These are Death Eaters, who haven't materialized since their leader, Voldemort, lost his powers 13 years before on the night he murdered Harry's parents -- but failed to kill Harry.

    The school year focuses on a rare Triwizard Tournament. Two other prestigious wizard schools -- the Beauxbatons Academy with its graceful girls and the Durmstrang Institute of athletic, vaguely Eastern European boys -- join Hogwarts for the competition.

    The enchanted Goblet of Fire spits out the names of the champion for each of the three schools. Then a curious thing happens: A fourth name flies out -- Harry Potter. At 14, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is too young to compete. Yet the Goblet rules, so Harry is entered into a dangerous competition against witchcraft students more advanced than he.

    His inexplicable selection upsets the dynamics with his two best friends. Redheaded Ron (Rupert Grint) is angry and jealous, certain that Harry pulled some trick to earn the championship slot, while the lovely Hermione (Emma Watson) is confused and worried for her friend.

    The school's head, Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), is worried too. Surely someone is setting up Harry for a fall, and the professor might not be able to protect him. He asks the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor -- the wacky, scared amputee Alastor Moody (Brendan Gleeson), called "Mad-Eye" for a bulging, all-seeing eye -- to keep an eye out, so to speak, for trouble.

    The three "tasks" of the competition provide the backbone of the movie. Each is a magnificent set piece of action, danger and trial by fire reminiscent of the early "Star Wars" battles. One involves a contest with very cranky, fire-spewing dragons. The next sends the four contestants into the dark waters of the Black Lake to rescue marooned friends. The final challenge happens in a malevolent maze of tall, vicious hedges where pathways are thick with mist.

    It is this final task that brings Harry into his first contact with Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), an almost reptilian personification of pure evil. Coming in the fourth movie, the much-anticipated confrontation does not disappoint. Voldemort emerges from a boiling cauldron, born again into venomous hatred for humanity, feeling power surge once more through newly formed muscles and tissue, while Harry trembles with hatred and fear. This initial skirmish sets the stage for battles to come.

    Interspersed among the heroic tasks are the rising level of threats against the school and the discovery -- a different kind of magic to be sure -- of the opposite sex. Hogwarts' Yule Ball requires that boys come with dates. Despite his fame, Harry finds himself tongue-tied. He finally works up the courage to approach Cho Chang (Katie Leung). Meanwhile, Ron asks Hermione but does this so poorly, at least in her opinion, that she chooses to attend with Durmstrang's champion Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski).

    Here is the place where the film seems hesitant. Rowling's story insists that Harry pines for Cho Chang even as Ron looks at Hermione in a brand new light. Only Harry and Hermione must spend so much quality time together because of the plot that they seem to go together more comfortably.

    The three leads continue to smoothly chart the evolution of characters who must learn lessons fast to survive. Also returning are Alan Rickman, as anal and crabby as ever as Professor Snape; Robbie Coltrane, the burly giant Hagrid, Hogwarts' caretaker, given the task of wooing Frances de la Tour's even taller Headmistress of Beauxbatons, Madame Maxime; Maggie Smith as the ever-practical Professor McGonagall; Timothy Spall, still looking rodentlike as Wormtail aka Peter Pettigrew; and Tom Felton, the representation of upper-class hauteur and cowardice as Harry's archenemy Draco. The one role left stranded is a gossip journalist played by Miranda Richardson, a character the movie easily could have jettisoned.

    Newell achieves the same brilliant production values of his predecessors. Along with the brooding and at times ominous look by designer Stuart Craig and cinematographer Roger Pratt, Patrick Doyle contributes the best musical score of the series, one richly symphonic yet with a pop overlay that reminds us we are in a world of fantasy.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  2. #2

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    Re: GoF trade review

    Do these reviewers get the same press release sheet? Just wondering. The rottentomatoes story in the other thread had some very similar passages.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  3. #3

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    Re: GoF trade review

    Quote Originally Posted by ALIASd
    Meanwhile, Ron asks Hermione but does this so poorly, at least in her opinion, that she chooses to attend with Durmstrang's champion Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski).
    This is a bit different from the book, in which Hermione had already been asked by (and had accepted) Krum's invitation by the time Ron got around to it.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  4. #4

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    Re: GoF trade review

    Quote Originally Posted by sediment
    This is a bit different from the book, in which Hermione had already been asked by (and had accepted) Krum's invitation by the time Ron got around to it.
    As a dramatic choice, this version lends more audience identification, sympathy and empathy for Ron.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  5. #5

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    Re: GoF trade review

    Quote Originally Posted by sediment
    Do these reviewers get the same press release sheet? Just wondering. The rottentomatoes story in the other thread had some very similar passages.
    In a way, yes. Everyone is supplied with the same media kits and publicity dept. ear-bending. Except for the Hollywood Foriegn Press (the Golden Globes people), they get the same info but even better promotional gifts and refreshments!
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  6. #6

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    Re: GoF trade review

    Quote Originally Posted by ALIASd
    As a dramatic choice, this version lends more audience identification, sympathy and empathy for Ron.
    Makes Hermione look like a scheming shrew, though, deciding after the fact to make Ron jealous.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  7. #7

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    Re: GoF trade review

    What's a girl to do...!!!!
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  8. #8

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    Re: GoF trade review

    I disagree with the notion that Rita Skeeter could have been left out- we already lose the Dursley's- in what is arguably the funniest scene ever at the Dursley home, and we have lost both Dobby and Winky. To dump Skeeter would have been an additional affront, IMO

  9. #9

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    Re: GoF trade review

    Quote Originally Posted by Nephythys
    I disagree with the notion that Rita Skeeter could have been left out- we already lose the Dursley's- in what is arguably the funniest scene ever at the Dursley home, and we have lost both Dobby and Winky. To dump Skeeter would have been an additional affront, IMO
    She's needed for OotP, too.
    Bagman was also apparently left out. Another red-herring. There's already Karkaroff, Snape, Krum, Crouch, Malfoy, etc. to consider as the bad guy here. Weasley twin story gets twisted a bit because of Bagman's absence.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  10. #10

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    Re: GoF trade review

    Variety's TODD MCCARTHY
    The teen wizard (Daniel Radcliffe) and best friends Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) face their darkest adventure yet in 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,' directed by Mike NewellFranchise newcomer Roger Lloyd Pack, as the Ministry of Magic's Barty Crouch, appears with Alan Rickman and Michael Gambon.No more kids' stuff at Hogwarts. In "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the budding teenage wizards-in-training grapple with incipient romance, jealousy and mortality. Last year's "The Prisoner of Azkaban" seemed dark, but this excellent fourth film derived from J.K. Rowling's books is the darkest "Potter" yet, intense enough to warrant a PG-13 rating. This factor alone will prompt another modest dip in franchise B.O. performance, as some younger viewers will steer clear, at least until homevid release. But pic's excitement and quality bode well for sustained fan interest and confidence through the enterprise's remaining three installments

    Full review at
    http://www.variety.com/ac2006_review...ryid=1986&cs=1
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  11. #11

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    Re: GoF trade review

    Quote Originally Posted by Nephythys
    I disagree with the notion that Rita Skeeter could have been left out- we already lose the Dursley's- in what is arguably the funniest scene ever at the Dursley home, and we have lost both Dobby and Winky. To dump Skeeter would have been an additional affront, IMO
    I had not heard that they dropped Dobby and Winky. Oh man, those characters do have a rather important part in the book. They helped tie things together in the end. I'll be interested to see how they end up making it all work with out them.

    I'm glad they didn't take out Rita Skeeter because she plays an integral part as well.

    ANd the Dursley's, well, I can see how they can be left out, but they are so much fun to make fun of. I love the the Weasley's scare the bejezus out of them. haha.
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