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November 18th, 2005

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08:13 pm - The boy wizard grows up . . .
Went to see "Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire" today, at one of the early showings in order to avoid a crowd of noisy children with their parents in tow.

I haven't read all the books -- just the first two, so far -- but I've seen all the films that have come out to date. I'd found the first film very true to the book -- unusually so for Hollywood!! The second I found slightly less faithful, but not by much. I'm presuming this and the prior film adaptation are fairly faithful to Rowling's work, although I can't say for sure.

Whether the current offering is close to the original text is a bit moot for me -- I was going to see a movie and I was hoping it would be good. And it was! :)

I like how the series is showing Master Potter's growth from boy to youth, and various social challenges he faces, such as asking a girl to whom he's attracted to be his date to the Yule Ball. "I'd rather deal with the dragon," he exclaims, a sentiment many men can surely sympathize with, looking back on their own youth.

I found the scenes connected to the Yule Ball to be the most interesting, from a character-development point of view. I found it to be most illuminating as to the interpersonal dynamics of the relationships of several characters.

One pleasant surprise was Neville Longbottom. In this film we get to see some unexpected depths to his character. Prior to this he had seemed to be something of an afterthought as a character, pleasant but on the stupid side. Here we see that he is anything but dull, and has quite a bit of romantic potential. I enjoyed seeing him begin to flower, particularly since I have a real soft spot for shy, introverted men in real life. I think he'll be a real catch for some lucky witch once he grows a little older . . .

Other pleasant bits were provided by the villains, who chewed the scenery with true glee. Jason Isaacs and Ralph Fiennes were both superb -- brilliant casting, IMO. Soooooo glad to see Mr. Fiennes in this -- he's one of my favorite actors, who displays great subtlety in his portrayals of the characters he plays. (He made me feel quite sympathetic towards the serial killer he played in "Red Dragon", for example.) Alan Rickman was excellent as usual, even though his character is portrayed as a "good guy" -- although here we get to hear a bit more about his "bad boy" past . . . He doesn't get much screen time, though, which is a pity, although he does make the most of what little he did get.

The special effects were pretty decent, although I felt a bit CGI-ed out by the end of the film. Sometimes I think that the old special effects produced more realistic results than the somewhat-TOO-perfect computer-assisted ones now common in films. I understand that computers make special effects less expensive, but I wish sometimes that filmmakers would realize that quality of effects is much more impressive than quantity.

All in all, though, well worth the price I paid for admission. But then again, I went to the bargain matinee . . .

Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: "Hagrid the Professor" -- Harry Potter & the PoA soundtrack

(3 seeds eaten | Eat a pomegranate)


[User Picture]
Date:November 20th, 2005 04:03 pm (UTC)
I don't know if you're aware...but it is addressed in one of the books that Neville's parents were killed by the same curse that Moody was flaunting in front of him, the torture one, and that is why he found it particularly upsetting. Hermione knows this, and that is why she objected. I believe this comes up again in more detail later...I was surprised it was glossed over.

Neville is actually a very strong character, who I really love, but he's awkward. It's wonderful to see him growing out of that awkwardness.
[User Picture]
Date:November 20th, 2005 08:43 pm (UTC)
I had no idea about that. I've only read the first 2 books so far. Thanks for telling me this -- I'd just thought he was the "sensitive" type, from how the movie handled it. Given what you just told me, his reaction now makes a lot more sense -- it's emotionally logical. (Yes I know that's an oxymoron . . . )

I've always liked Neville, but certainly in the movies he's been portrayed as something of a buffoon and certainly as the dim-witted one in this set of friends. I liked it that he's being given more depth to his character. And as I mentioned in my post, I have a decided soft spot in my heart for shy, awkward, introverted men in real life -- I think they are absolutely adorable.

[User Picture]
Date:November 22nd, 2005 12:49 am (UTC)
I think it's actually very apropo. Neville is shy and introverted because he's grown up without his parents. He's also faced with Harry Potter, the boy who lived, and has to know that his parents did not. He just doesn't have the normal parental input. They died because they would not submit, and they died horribly.

He has to simultaneously be frightened out of his mind, and determined to live up to their memory. After all, he made it to Gryffindor.

Another character that's really well thought out is Hermione. I love the fact that she's so crazy about studying and doing well. Of COURSE she is. She has more to prove than anyone...muggle parents who probably have to struggle to keep her in school. I don't think she's a bookworm just because it's natural to her. I think she constantly is striving for some sort of standard, even if she doesn't know it. She couldn't know it. She's just a kid.

But I love her...her and Neville are so much more intricate than Harry or Ron.

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