Sunday, November 27, 2005

# Posted 10:32 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE: First of all, there are no spoilers in this movie review. Second, the bottom line is simple: Goblet of Fire blows away its predecessors. I enjoyed the other Potter films, especially the first, but this one towers head and shoulders above the rest. The film has already taken in more than $200 million, and every dollar is well-deserved.

Why is that? Because the film achieves an almost perfect balance between showing off and simplicity. Throughout the film, you will be surprised and delighted by the gorgeous visuals, many of them obviously the work of computers.

Yet at critical moments in the film -- especially during the magnificent climax -- the film doesn't distract you with special effects. Instead, it uses narrative drama and a spare visual style to create tremendous suspense.

There is also an excellent balance between showing off and simplicity when it comes to the relationship between action and narrative in the film. The action is heart-stopping, perfectly-timed and often just plain scary. But no less importantly, the alternation between action and character development works well. Whereas a lot of blockbusters make you feel that the more dialogue-heavy scences were thrown in as a matter of obligation, Potter's are quite well crafted. For example, the WaPo points to the spectacle of
Ron's embarrassment when he's called out in front of his peers to demonstrate the waltz with the severe Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith).

"Put your hand on my waist," she demands frostily. The expression on Ron's face at this point is clear: He'd just as soon perform the fox trot with Medusa. It's a wonderful mark of this movie that a teenager's humiliation can pack just as much firepower as a life-and-death battle with scary monsters.
In spite of its familiarity to anyone over the age of twelve, adolescent awkwardness rarely comes across as charming on screen. Think Star Wars: Episode II. But somehow, Potter pulls it off brilliantly.

Really, there's nothing bad to say about this film. It is long, but I was holding onto my seat for the entire ride.
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

What? No more Freudian mis-readings?
I was most certainly looking for material to mis-read, but the film was sadly bereft. Perhaps if I consult the text.
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