“Do you think we’ll ever just have a quiet year at Hogwarts?”
―Ronald Weasley, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.
Although i am not a fan of World Cup or soccer in particular, it seems that the event always resulted in euphoric fever always swept the global citizen in general. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but Indonesian seemed to love their soccer matches. Public world cup viewings at homes, cafes, or even large venues (like a movie theater auditorium) were held and fans enthusiastically joined in, even though the matches fall during night time. But through global events like this we can see the multi-cultural facets that color the world. Even in the world of Harry Potter similar events occur in the form of Quiditch World Cup in the fourth installment, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.
Goblet of Fire was the most political piece among the seven books in the series. Not only it opens with a World Cup event, which allows us to expand our understanding of Wizarding community in an international level. It also serve as the backdrop for promoting an multi-national relationship in the form of Triwizard Tournament, which main goals are to promote friendship and cross-cultural understanding between different wizarding communities. In this case we have Hogwarts, Beauxbatons Academy, and Durmstrang. Our expanded views of the world also appear in the form of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in flesh and blood as well as the return of his band of Death Eaters (which showed some familiar faces).
Directed by Mike Newell, the first british director for the series, the film started its path towards a more PG-13 territory although he brought back the fantastical adventure facet of the series that kind of amiss in the previous installment (Prisoner of Azkaban) as well as transitioning into darker themes. Newell stick to colder hues just like Cuarón did for his film allowing the sinister atmosphere to really set in this particular installment. Harry also begin his transition into adulthood represented by puberty and one of the first attractions towards the opposite gender as well as facing peer pressures in pure teenage angst. Harry was literally thrust into various gruesome situations that he never really want to be a part of in the first place: being one of the champion for the Triwizard Tournament (who in the right mind want to voluntary face a fierce fire-breathing Dragon?) as well as literally facing the nemesis he never really want (He-who-must-not-be-named).I think Newell manage to balance the transition really well, allowing the bigger story of the series to developed while entertaining the viewer with some the subplots.
PAGE TO SCREEN. Please put your hand together for the arrival of Anger-management Dumbledore, which became the joke of internet meme. Maybe, I just don’t get Gambon’s portrayal of Dumbledore most of the time. Newell took a lot of brave decisions in omitting unnecessary subplots from the books (including leaving out the return of Dobby and Winky, another house elves). Although i am not entirely happy with the fact that he left out Hermione’s S.P.E.W which should be familiar for the fans of the books. Omitting S.P.E.W is actually a sound decision though, since it is a representation of racisim and diversity within wizarding communities, a theme that should occurs starting in the first films, with Firenze the centaur, Hagrid’s giant origin, as well as slavery and maltreatment towards house elves. I think it was one of the thing i found fascinating with Harry Potter, how much it is a reflections of a muggle society and also humanizing them in an unexpected way.
One of the champion, Fleur Delacour (presumably French in origin) was a mixed breed with Veela in the book, but this backstory (and Veela itself) was omitted in the film. Another example of the filmmaker direction to simplify the structure of wizarding community, but maybe that’s just me. Another highlight from the book aside from the Quidditch World Cup was the Yule Ball. Which i felt a little bit too muggle prom-ish than a magical ball in the film. (and let’s be real, Hermione’s transformative cinderella-slash-‘she’s all that’ moment is non-existent in the film because she always that good looking). Instead, i felt the production designers spend much of their time developing the arenas for the Triwizard Tournament (like that structure on the Black Lake and underwater shots of the Second Task, which was just glorious) and the first glimpse of the court room in the Ministry of Magic.
CAST. The resurrection of you know who was chilling, but even more so Ralph Fiennes who embodies the dark lord formidable air was not merely coming from his deformed, snake like face or his yellowing tallons, but from his presence and body language. Might be borderline theatrical, but Fiennes literally slithers as he gracefully moves in that menacing manner. It gave me chills. I never thought of Voldemort could be this scary. Pre-sparkly vampire, Robert Pattinson give an amicable, next-door-boyish charm as the popular Cedric Diggory, the original Hogwarts Champion. The other two champion, Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski) and Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy) was a forgettable and could easily replaced by anyone else. I love that Fred and George got a little bit more screen time, and become a comic relief throughout the entire film. This film also marks the first appearance of Brendan Gleeson, though he appeared to be a polyjuice’d double by Barty Crouch Jr. (David Tennant).
For me this 4th installment of Potter films is a hit and miss, it did manage to bring back the adventurous vibe through Triwizard champion, and it captures malicious return of the dark lord in a sinister atmosphere that still remains unforgettable for me. But it also simplify a lot of the series important subplot that could’ve shown the gravity of the threats they are facing. I enjoyed the ride, but after the standard set by Prisoner of Azkaban, i really wished it wouldn’t be afraid to be a little more complexity.
PS. Love how Miranda Richardson portray the nosey Rita Skeeter in this film. Best thing after Fred and George ridiculousness, really.
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (2005)
GENRE Fantasy, Adventure
DIRECTOR Mike Newell | PRODUCER David Heyman | WRITER Steve Kloves | MUSIC Patrick Doyle | CINEMATOGRAPHER Roger Pratt | EDITOR Mick Audsley | DISTRIBUTOR Warner Bros Pictures | COUNTRY United States, United Kingdom | BUDGET $150 million | RUNNING TIME 157 minutes | RATING PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images | RELEASE November 18, 2005
STARRING Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Griffiths, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Harry Melling, Tom Felton, Warwick Davis, Matthew Lewis, Oliver Phleps, James Phelps, Bonnie Wright, Jamie Waylett, Josh Herdman, Devon Murray, Mark Williams, Robert Hardy, Gary Oldman, Emma Thompson, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, David Tennant, Robbert Pattinson, Stanislav Ianevski, Jeff Rawle, Miranda Richardson, Roger Lloyd Pack, Jason Isaac, Clémence Poésy, Brendan Gleeson, Katie Leung
DID YOU KNOW? In the ending credits a line reads, “No Dragons were harmed in the making of this movie“. It’s a reference to the First task, in which Harry caused his dragon (the Hungarian Horntail) to be greatly injured in a fall.
This post has been the part of Harry Potter Appreciation Month at KaramelKinema. Don’t fall under the scrutiny of Mad-Eye Moody’s Eye!