Thursday, 23 June 2011

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: Book vs Film

The Goblet of Fire opens with the Quidditch World Cup - a magically protected event where no muggles are permitted. Harry attends with the Weasley family, meeting fellow schoolmate Cedric Diggory on his travels, and discovers yet more wonders of the magical world from microphone spells to giant TARDIS-like tents. But the fun everyone is having at this event is short lived as the dark mark appears above them and deatheaters start running riot amongst the spectators.

With this dark cloud hanging over the wizarding world, the book sees a change in tradition at Hogwarts. There will be no Quidditch, no clubs - just the Tri-Wizard Tournament and some extra students staying all year. The beautiful French girls from the Beauxbatons Academy arrive along with the boys from Durmstrang. Ron is massively impressed to discover his Quidditch idol Victor Krum is still in school and now attending his and all the boys are impressed with the new girls from France.

The rules are explained that there are challenges which will take place throughout the year and the goblet of fire will select one student from each school to take part. As there is an age restriction, Harry and his friends are relieved to learn that they will not be able to take part and Harry actually believes he might get a year off from the spotlight of being 'the boy who lived'. Wrong! After the three are chosen from each school, a fourth name appears... Harry Potter. He claims not to have done it but nobody believes him, not even Ron who has grown tired of living in his shadow and the two start to bicker. But the goblet has spoken and believe him or not, Harry must take part in the tournament.

The new year at Hogwarts also sees the introduction of yet another new teacher for the Defense Against the Dark Arts class - Mad Eye Moody. One roving eye can see through invisibility cloaks and through spells and works independently of the other but the man knows his stuff. Within days of his arrival at Hogwarts he has turned Draco into a rodent and taught the class the three unforgivable curses.

As the children are now 14 years old, there are a lot of hormones thrown into the mix here. There is a formal dance and the boys have to find a date. Hermione finds her girly side and everyone must learn to dance.

Ron: Oi, Hermione... you're a girl.
Hermione: Very well spotted.
Ron: Come with one of us! It's one thing for a bloke to show up alone, but for a girl it's just sad.
Hermione: I won't be going alone, because believe it or not, someone's asked me! And I said yes!
Ron: Bloody hell. She's lying, right?
Harry: If you say so.

The challenges continue throughout the book as the teen angst, bickering and relationships continue to develop and they get ever more cryptic and dangerous, culminating in one of the most shocking Harry Potter finales. On first release, this book was in massively high demand as JK Rowling had revealed that one of the characters was going to die.... but who?

The film version saw the rise of another young star. Before he was Edward Cullen, Robert Pattinson was cast as the hot young stud Cedric Diggory. Cedric is chosen to be the Hogwarts student in the Tri-wizard cup (alongside Harry in this case!) and the boy who gets the girl of Harry's dreams - Cho Chang. He is the stud of the school and Pattinson does the role well. Brendan Gleeson is suitably wacky as Mad Eye Moody and even former Dr Who David Tennant joined the cast as Barty Crouch, a deatheater and son of the respectable Barty Crouch Snr, played by Roger Lloyd-Pack of Only Fools and Horses fame.

The effects continue to amaze from the Quidditch tournament at the start and throughout the Tri-Wizard Cup tournament (which includes dragon battles, flying and underwater sequences and the final maze and dramatic finale).

This is the first Harry Potter film that made me really emotional but I realised the second time around that I had seen it dubbed in Spanish the first time and wasn't as moved when I watched it in English. Make of that what you will...

All in all, the conversion from book to film was actually very good. There are little changes throughout but nothing so major that it angered me. An excellent job!

Enjoy x

Book 5: The Order of the Phoenix book to film review

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