Harry Potter Never Goes to Class

by Tim Dodd on November 18, 2005

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • IMDB: link

Alright, I admit it. I’ve never read a Harry Potter book. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid this intense cultural phenomenon which has swept our nation like a very excited case of hepititis. The avoidance is not intentional, I just don’t happen to read very many books that aren’t about rock and roll. I did, however, see the second Potter movie in the theater a few years ago and I wasn’t thrilled. Well, lemme tell ya, I enjoyed this one pretty well. As a movie, with no connection to a book or any other part of the story, it stands as a very entertaining piece of 21st century computer-generated eye candy.

Let me start this portion off with a small warning: since I’m not very familiar with the Harry Potter world I’m not even going to try to use too many of their goofy terms and names for things. After only seeing the movie once it’s kind of hard for me to remember what a “death eater” is and, oh yeah, I think the school is called Hogwarts or something… anyway, all of you intense Potter fans GIVE ME A BREAK. Don’t cast a spell on me or anything like that. Thank you. And now…

In the Goblet of Fire, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his two main pals Hermione (Emma Watson) and Weasley (Rupert Grint) spend their fourth year at the Hogwarts school of magic worrying about a “tri-wizard tournament”, trying to cope with having to dance with members of the opposite sex, and hardly ever going to class. In the one scene where the kiddies are actually shown attending class, they are traumatized by a demented wizardy guy with one hell of a glass eye who uses magic to torture a gigantic spider. Is this some sort of comment on the state of education today? Probably not.

Even though students 17 and older are the only ones allowed to submit their names for this tri-wizard thingy, Harry mysteriously gets chosen along with three others to compete in it. Well, since he’s the hero of these stories we all know that the 14 year old is up for it, right? Yeah, but he nearly gets himself killed a few times, which provides us with the drama and excitement promised in such adventures. I won’t give too much away for the other two of you out there that haven’t already read the book, but let’s just say that the dangerous competition involves evil dragons, breathing underwater for an hour, and running around some spooky shrubberies not unlike those found at end of Kubrick’s The Shining.

The look of the film is intensely CGI, with entire chunks of the movie undoubtedly filmed in front of a blue screen (or green screen or whatever color they use these days). However, this didn’t bother me as much as in other movies because it’s basically a big cartoon anyway. Actually, I was so lost in the story and the action that I didn’t even notice the computery aspects of it. I’d say that’s a pretty big testament to the film’s success as a solid piece of entertainment.

I really dig the acting, the characters, and the story. There were a few wince-worthy parts that were kind of cheezy and kiddish, but those kinds of things are to be expected in what is essentially a kids movie. I’ve heard from those in the know that the fourth book is where the series starts taking on darker elements, hence the PG-13 rating. Yeah, I guess I wouldn’t be taking too many younger kids to this flick (that is, if I were so unfortunate to have any little brats of my own or were some sort of demented nanny-type weirdo) because our heroes curse a bit and some evil death occurs at the end. Oops, I gave it away. Harry dies. No, just kidding.

I was impressed with The Goblet of Fire. It was a bit long (around two and a half hours) but ultimately satisfying. In fact, I think I’m gonna try to read the books and see the other movies now. I’m not saying that I’m a full-fledged convert or anything, but stranger things have happened (like my addiction to Buffy and Angel and a new-found love for KISS). Go out and see this movie. You know you will anyway. Take part in a cultural phenomenon and revel in that cozy feeling of actually belonging to the human race. Ha!

Previous post:

Next post: