Wednesday, November 23, 2005

HARRY POTTER & GOBLET OF FIRE: Potter's biggest challenge

(fantasy adventure)
Time: 157 minutes
Rating: * * *

Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson
DARK and difficult times certainly lie ahead for Harry Potter and his chums who seem to be facing the biggest challenge of their lives now. I am not talking about the Hungarian Horntail Dragon that Harry has to fight with at the Tri-Wizard Tournament, or his encounter with his nemesis Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). These and other sundry monsters are all in a day’s work for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and the student wizards.

Our young hero’s most fearful challenge here is asking pretty co-ed Cho Chang (Katie Leung) to the Hogwarts’ Yule Ball — and that is the feat that got Harry weak at the knees. You see, puberty has caught up with our friends at Hogwarts and it is not only affecting their relationship but the movie as well.

Besides the sexual jealousies that seem to be taking its toll on their friendship, the kiddie charm of the stars has given way to adolescent awkwardness. Rupert Grint’s Ron Weasley is no longer the cute kid and he frowns way too much. Emma Watson’s overacting is now more obvious and her fusspot Hermione Granger has developed into a stunning young lady. And Radcliffe’s inability to display emotions is even more noticeable.

It is to director Mike Newell’s credit that he emphasises on the youngsters’ sexual awakening although he has skimmed through the issue of Harry’s ‘attraction’ for Cho Chang (who seems to have emerged from nowhere into the story). The ‘romance’ between Hagrid (Robert Coltran) and the visiting principal Olympe Maxine (Frances de la Tour) fares better.

Hogwarts is playing host to two institutions in the Tri-Wizard contest and one of them is the Beauxbatons, an all-girls contingent from France, who sets hearts a-flutter with their grand entry. The Durmstrang boys from Middle Europe are also a force to reckon with. The tournament is for students aged 17 and above but somehow, 14-year-old Harry’s name gets picked by the Goblet of Fire in addition to Hogwart’s champion Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson).

The contest, with its fire-breathing dragons, menacing octopuses and a maze of killer hedges, is stunning to watch, but it is rather devoid of any sense of danger — except to young children who may be frightened by the computer-generated monsters (this fourth instalment is the darkest yet and may not be suitable for preschool kids). An eye-candy of sorts is provided by Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson), the latest addition to Hogwarts’ staff. Donning a porcelain eye, the feisty Gleeson manages to steal the show from titans like Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman and Gary Oldman.

JK Rowling’s book runs over 730 pages and it is impossible for Newell to cover all its episodes and subplots. That is why we get the feeling that everything seems rushed and under-developed.
However, Newell maintains the franchise’s standard of seamless special effects and wonders but the best so far has to be Alfonso Cuaron’s Prisoner Of Azkaban.


At 3:59 pm, Blogger hida said...

I have to agree that the director is unable to cover the whole story but I did hope that the plots between Harry and his love interest could be expanded. Also the feelings that Ron felt for Hermione was not precisely displayed, it was sort of left hanging. But overall, it was better that the previous Harry Potter's movies.

At 11:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, at least, it is much better than the last one. for those who read the book, it's just enough. if u wanna movie that explain all in detail, then u should overnight at the cinema then, of course the director didnt want the audiences feel cram at their butt! the real lenght for the movie is actually 9 hours before the editing, if you really wanna know where cho chang come from or emerge, ask yourself do u wanna stay up until 9 hours in the cinema?...


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