Friday, November 18, 2005

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

It is impossible to make a 700+ page book into a 2 1/2 hour movie without significant cutting. Having read (or listened to, in the spectacular Jim Dale audio edition) Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire at least a half dozen times, there may be 4 or 5 lines from the book that I'd willingly forego, but I'm not sure of that, and certainly there are not more. The movie dispenses entirely with the Dursleys, Dobby and Winky, blast-ended skrewts, the Marauders Map, bubotuber pus, Rita Skeeter's secret and other various and sundry plots, sub-plots, plot complications, creatures, creations and beings, spells and curses and jinxes.

And it's marvelous nonetheless. I would willingly have sat through a movie an hour longer to get some of the other stuff in, but on the whole, they did an excellent job of pruning to essentials, to take a story that requires a 700 page book, and put it on film in a manner that gets the big stuff in with style, flair and excitement. I was, frankly, moved to tears during the graveyard scene (though not, I think, from what was on screen creating the reaction so much as evoking the feelings I have towards that scene in the book.) As with any adaptation of any kind, there are things I would have done differently. But any complaints that I have (and there are some - I didn't care much for the fireplace conversation, I wanted the duel to last longer, there was room for more exposition both early and late) would fall clearly into the category of "nit-picking." It was an outstanding film, and I take my hat off to the producers and director and all of the actors. Well done.

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