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Violet Mannion

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is, out of the series, i believe, the best book. It has the most action and life-threatening situations, and it answers the question that all harry potter fans were asking before the book came out; are there only wizards in england??? Personally, the Dursleys being left out was, more than most people know, a large disapointment, as they have the best scenes in the fourth. Molly Weasley sends Harry and invatation to come to the Quidditch World Cup, and as she always sends letters by owl, this was the first one she ever sent by muggle post, and it's covered in stamps. Then, when the Weasleys try to come by floo-powder (as in movie #2), they get stuck in the Dursleys' blocked up Chimney. Also, in the books, the twins are not only up to mischief, but always have no inventions that help them with their scheming and joking. In the fourth, Dudley eats candy that makes his tounge ten times its' normal size. The movie was very well-cast, however, and I did have fun going to see it with 3 of my friends and some of their family memebers as well as mine. We actually laughed at the Death Eaters' pointy dunce-caps, however. One of the better thigns about the movie was that it had a lot of funny scenes that were not in the book; the ferret scene with malfoy and mad-eye was one of the most memorable, but that one was in the book. They never learned how to dance in the book, though, and it was Dobby who returned to give Harry the gillyweed, so neville was never in doubt about its' affects onm fresh vs. salt water. so overall, it was good. it was still my favorite. there were a lot of sub-plots in the fourth that were taken out of the movie, though. For instance, karkaroff, the headmaster of Drumstrang (who had a very cool entrance, by the way) was a death eater. That was mentioned in the movie, but it wasn't as big of a theme. Or barty crouch jr.- he was much better that i'd imagined him, but in the book, it talks about how his father got him out of Azkaban by switiching him with his sick and dying mother by using an invisibility cloak and polyjuice potion--- but that whole fiasco is hard to understand unless you've read the book. they did have foreshadowing for the 5th movie, though...the lines about the Department of Mysteries? that was hard to cath unless you were listeing and knew it was important, but it was definately foreshadowing and it wasn't in the book. the tasks were very good, none diasapointing except maybe the maze, which was, in the book, filled with nasty creatures.

Violet Mannion

*** that was *new* inventions, not *no* inventions.

Violet Mannion

oh yes, and my sister reminds me that dobby was in it, as well as another girl house-elf named Winky.

sfmike

I was disappointed in the movie, probably because it's not my favorite book in the series by a long shot. Also, it was way too dark. You don't get to see a sunny sky until at least two hours into the movie.

I also totally agree with the two young dudes: "Not enough quiditch," harumphed the 9 year old. "And no Dursleys." He likes the formula. The 12 year old just likes Prisoner of Azkaban better.

Prisoner of Azkaban was easily the best book and movie of the entire series so far, though the last literary installment "The Half Blood Prince" felt like a welcome return to form.

I'm just glad Hollywood didn't completely screw these stories up. There is a long and inglorious track record of them doing just that.

Matt

Meanwhile: Maud Newton reports that Ralph Fiennes, who plays Voldemort in Goblet of Fire, has backed out of a movie version of J.M Coetzee's Disgrace. Fiennes thinks he's too young and sexy to be disgraceful enough. He doesn't put it quite that way, but that's the upshot. And he's right.

Wow -- they're making a movie of that? Disgrace is one of the best books I've read in the last five years. What a terrific -- but completely harrowing and wrenching -- novel that is.

I'm sure they'll screw it up on screen.

Love the swipes at Lucas, by the way. Keep 'em coming!

mrs. norman maine

Random thoughts, prefaced by the observation that this may have been my favorite movie, though I'll have to mull that over, given that it was so much fun to see the book come to life in the first movie. (I'm chagrined to admit I actually choked up when I saw the Hogwarts Express and Diagon Alley for the first time.)

Back to the latest HP film: My kids were most disapointed about the absence of the house elves -- and somewhat disoriented, as the scene in the books takes place in the woods and after a few misadventures. Whereas in the movie, suddenly, BAM! There's the dark mark. Period. And no floating Muggles!

I wasn't disapointed by the lack of Quidditch; the first of the tasks kind of amounted to the same, as far as I was concerned. One does get the feeling, however, that there was World Cup footage cut from the movie, because that scene ended rather abruptly.

For me, the acid test for "Goblet" as a movie was the treatment of the three tasks. And I'd say, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. The dragon task was breathtaking. The underwater task (my favorite from the book) was eerily beautiful, although I suspect if you hadn't read the book you wouldn't understand why Harry seemed so upset when confronted with the four "victims." That part was a bit of a muddle.

The maze task, was disapointing. No giant spiders? No Sphinx?

It was interesting that the two other schools were represented as one all-boys' and one all-girls', although I don't think that was the case in the book, was it? Violet?

Alarmingly, my pre-teen daughter expressed irritation that we saw so little of the dreamy Draco Malfoy!

Uh, that's it. Back to the dreary Muggle world -- worse yet, the ADULT Muggle world!

Claire

I'm looking forward to seeing the new HP, though I've heard some disappointment from other people too. I can never remember the plots to the books, so I usually enjoy them in a bliss of slight ignorance. Hopefully it will help with this movie. I did love the last installment, though. Alfonso Cuarón did a wonderful job of keeping the magic alive.

Thanks for the link to my P&P post... I guess I have gotten a little zealous, huh?

Greg

Here's a blogger you should know (if you don't already)who wrote a lengthy piece on the new HP.

She goes by the handle "Plaid Adder", and here's a snip and a link:

The child actors seem to be hitting their stride, perhaps because they are aging faster than their characters. Daniel Radcliffe is doing very well now, though his performance in this one is perhaps a little too reminiscent of Elijah Wood's Frodo. All in all, it was a good film--certainly much better than the first two, and perhaps better than the third though I liked the third very much--and I would say definitely go if you're a grown-up into the series. But there were some crying kids who had to be taken to the lobby pretty early on, and I would imagine that if you were, say, nine years old, you would really need nerves of steel to get through the whole thing. Then again, perhaps today's nine year olds are tougher than I was at that age.

http://www.livejournal.com/users/plaidder/134353.html#cutid1

Linkmeister

Michael Bérubé offers his review.

mrs. norman maine

Greg, I think it also helps if the kids have read the book and know what's coming. Mine, who are 8 and 10 and not especially hard-boiled, were a little leery about the PG-13. But we looked up those "what to watch for" parents' guides and talked about the scenes from the books (the graveyard one is the killer, you should pardon the expression), and as it turns out they were OK.

Pop quiz: there's a major blunder in the graveyard scene in the book, which (I think) the movie deftly glosses over --does anyone remember this? Hint: It has to do with Voldemort's wand.

Greg

I agree, Mrs. NM...

I debated taking my daughters to see "Dances With Wolves" when they were 6 & 7. They were mature and intelligent enough to understand the story, but my concern was the very graphic violence. Long story short, I saw it first, then prepped them for what they'd see. Afterward, we discussed it for an hour and again before bedtime. Needless to say, they were fine with it.

Violet Mannion

yeah- the infomus wand-order mistake. in the book, his mom and dad come out of voldemort's wand in the wrong order, as it was his dad who was killed first; not his mom. and mrs.nm- you're right. beauxbatons and drumstrang are co-ed schools in the book, but i think they're better off this way. also- with the absence of the house elves came the absence of spew, or, correctly pronounced by Hermione, S.P.E.W. (Society for the Protection of Elvish Welfare). She discoveres that houseelves cook the food in hogwarts, and doesn't like the way people treat them in general; as servants. Dobby becomes employed at hogwarts- with wages and holidays. hermione makes spew badges and knits hats to set them free. unfortunately, later in the book, she finds out that hosue elves like working, and so refused to clean the gryfindorr common room for fear of being freed. in the book, she discovers that dobby is the only elf who takes the hats, and the only elf who cleans the gryfindorr common room. the whole house-elf thing was also very funny. oh, and remember the sock that harry used to free dobby? dobby became obsessed with socks, but doesn't think they're supposed to match. he always wears socks that don't match, and knits harry a pair for christmas, which harry wears to the yule ball. that causes a short funny line between moody and harry ("Nice Socks, Potter", as moody can see beneath harry's sneakers. one was red with brooms, the other green with snitches, or possibly the other way around.)

mac macgillicuddy

Don't jump all over me, because this isn't my theory. I'm just the messenger. But one loyal HP follower theorizes that Harry will actually turn out to be Valdemort.

I'm not making this up. He knows more about it than I do, and he believes it all makes sense.

Violet Mannion

Yes, that's what my dad thinks. It is a very interesting theory. He says that it has to do with the fact that "awful things happen to wizards who meddle with time", as was said in movie/book 3. He thinks that Harry will go back in time to stop his parents from being killed, etc., and will actually become Voldemort instead. it's an interesting theory. very diferent.

Linkmeister

That theory doesn't wash, at least for me. It would run into a variation of the classic time-travel grandfather paradox. Harry would have to have been reduced to one of the Horcruxes at the moment of his initial confrontation with Voldemort, and we know that's not true because Hagrid/Dumbledore found him and carried him off to his aunt/uncle.

mrs. norman maine

Mac, I was about to say vicious awful things about that theory -- good thing I read Violet's comment next! Ahem. It's very intriguing actually, but boy would that break my heart. First Anakin, then Harry?!

Thank goodness for Linkmeister's counter-theory, which I THINK makes sense though I'm not a great one for following the space-time flux stuff. But like all zealots, I'll stand behind the answer that doesn't trigger anxiety in me.

Violet, we missed the elf stuff too. It was especially odd because Dobby was a great favorite in the second movie. And I think all of the S.P.E.W. business would have underscored the bickering between Ron and Hermione, which is always great fun.

Greg, I've done a fair number of previews as well, especially with the HP movies. But this time around we just all had to rush out on the first weekend and risk it. Bad, bad parenting!

mac macgillicuddy

Hey, I said, don't jump on ME. I just report 'em.

mrs. norman maine

Violet, I forgot to say thanks for explaining the wand thing. As I said before, thinking through time stuff -- especially in reverse! -- is not my strong suit.

Mac -- pfffft.

grishaxxx

I am still trying to carve out some matinée time to see Goblet in a big dark room before it flees and I will be consigned with it in a small dark room a few months hence. Agony. I want to be creeped out NOW.

What held the marketers back? Maybe some of what
Charley Taylor wrote in last Sunday's NJ Star-Ledger:

"Harry, Hermione and Ron's uncertainty about what awaits them in their three remaining years at Hogwarts describes, I think, what life is like for many of us at this moment, wondering what awaits us in the final three years of the Bush presidency. Our days consist of a simultaneous desire to know the worst and the temptation to shut it out, to ignore this morning's paper or tonight's news, to hope that the next three years will evaporate like a nightmare, leaving no trace behind."

It's a horror film on that basis alone, and no one can tell me that Rowling has not been alive to the consequences of parallel Magical/Muggle Ministry mendacity for years now. I don't think Taylor reaches too far in trying to figure out why these books (beginning in the run-up to a new century) have a stronger grip on us as the next millenium presents us with a long night rather than a dawn.

burritoboy

The Harry is Voldemort theory makes very little sense, since Voldemort actually has his own pretty well-defined background and personal history beyond the problems of a. the already noted time reversal issues, but also: b. Harry and Voldemort appear in the stories in massively different places at the precise same times. It's even likely that Harry and Voldemort are more closely connected than it appears, but I find it hard to believe how Rowling can effectively make the two characters the same. Saying something like "Harry's magic is so strong that his subconscious /id can take a physical form and run all around on it's own" is a bit too much (and still wouldn't explain the time reversal issues).

Tom

Like many of the people who fretted over the missing characters, plot twists, &c., I had read the fourth book often enough to be able to instantly pick out the missing parts. Unlike most of them, I didn't mind the missing bits because I'd made peace with the idea that the movie wouldn't reproduce every little red herring and one-note character. I'll bet that the producers of this installment really had to push just to get 2 1/2 hours of screen time; Lord of the Rings got about three hours per movie, but that was an extraordinary circumstance (and even then, LOTR fans fretted over the exclusion of the likes of Tom Bombadil, whom I for one did not miss at all). Perhaps there will be more Quidditch in the nigh-inevitable director's cut DVD.

I agree wholeheartedly with you on the amplification of the tasks into cut-scenes for the videogame. At least it wasn't as bad and obvious as Lucas'. One thing that came to mind after I'd seen the movie, though, which is also a criticizm of the book, is, why have Harry do the tournament at all? If the whole point is to let Harry get his hands on something that will deliver him to Voldemort, aren't there quicker and more reliable means of doing so than entering him into a tournament that has been known to kill some of its participants? The "mole" at Hogwarts could have enchanted something and claimed it was a memento of his father or mother and steered Harry toward it. Making him enter the Triwizards Tournament was just plain stupid; if he'd tripped over a rock, just once, during the first task, for example, he'd literally have been toast.

Still, the movie was very well done. The father's cries of grief near the end will stay with me for quite some time.

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