Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Reactions To A Movie You Saw A Month Ago

I really love how the Harry Potter movies get not only darker, but grittier with each installment. Despite the fantasy trappings, Prisoner of Azkaban and now Goblet of Fire have a delicious aura of casual realness about them. For instance, the Quidditch World Cup at the beginning of the movie crackles with the raw energy of a live sporting event. As for the first two movies, I don't know whether their Chris Columbus sheen is a missed opportunity or a fittingly innocent contrast to the later films. On one hand, I like how the feel of the movies palpably changes as they progress. On the other, while the first two are integral chapters in the overall story, I have no interest in watching either one ever again.

As for Goblet of Fire, I thought the story flowed pretty well. A couple of scenes do feel a bit truncated--like when the kids are in the woods with Hagrid, presumably for some kind of campfire, and they find the dead guy, and then we're out. But aside from the surprisingly well-paced Prison of Azkaban, all the Harry Potter movies tend to have an overstuffed feel, and I'd rather it feel rushed than bloated.

Ron's pouty falling-out with Harry feels rather forced. The acting is fine, but the fact remains there is no reason for him not to believe Harry's denials of submitting his own name.

I didn't have a problem with Hermione's eyebrow-acting. She did move them a lot, but I'm not sure I would have noticed if I hadn't read complaints about it beforehand.

I liked the sequence about trying to find a date for the ball. But why did all the girls suddenly turn away from Harry, when he was super-popular moments before? I do wish that just once, a movie/TV show would show the awkwardness of asking for a date the way it really is, where you pop the question in one smooth, phonily casual breath, then don't breathe again until you get the answer. Because you don't want to sound awkward--you pretend you're not, but you do anyway. All the stammering and stuttering movie guys always use to convey awkwardness really set a bad example for me back when I was a teenager and trying to learn how to ask girls out.

It was funny how bored and annoyed the Indian girls were when they were with Harry and Ron. The one girl's reaction to Ron's awful suit was great. I don't understand why Harry sat out the dance and made his own date miserable, though. I get that Ron was jealous about Hermione. Was Harry pining for Cho? Or was he sulking just to keep Ron company? It seemed not very considerate of his own date.

The Mad magazine satire pointed out that tricking Harry by making the Tri-Wizard Cup the portal-thing is an awful lot of trouble, since you could theoretically make anything a portal and put it someplace where Harry would touch it without having to win Fear Factor: Hogwarts Edition. But, eh. Plotting climaxes has never been J.K. Rowling's strong suit.


Simon said...

At the risk of sounding both gay and like a weak little pussy, am I the only one bothered by the fact that Harry and Ron are what, 15 in this book, and both are as big as houses?

Ron looks a linebacker and as the movie made upsettingly clear, Harry Potter is more toned than Dennis Rodman. Who knew that spending all your time casting spells and riding a broom could be so much better than pilates?

PS: I thought Cho would be hotter ... and less Scottish.

Kenny said...

If you think about it, hanging onto a flying broom would be pretty hard. I can see how you would get pretty ripped doing that after awhile.

Oh, and they're 14, as Harry repeatedly corrects the reporter who thinks he's 12(!). It's definitely on the far side of credible, but preferable to recasting.

Simon said...

True, though I admit I thought the casting was less of a problem before you corrected me and told me they're supposed to be 14.

Kenny said...

Dang, Simon, why are you reading blogs at 5 am?

matt said...

Harry sits out the dance because he's pining for Cho. That's clearer in the book. The Cho infatuation actually starts up in the third book, but that didn't make it into the third movie. Harry's cluelessness with women features prominently in the fifth book.

Simon said...

Was pulling an all-nighter for finals. That's all done now though.

It's nice to know that much like me and every other berkeley guy with few options, Harry Potter has Asian Fever.