Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Pensieve thoughts

That's not a typo.

We caught a relatively uncrowded Saturday morning matinee of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I think there was either a problem with the lighting in this particular screening room, or director Mike Newell really didn't want us to see what was going on. While I admire the degree of excision required to pare down 700 pages into 150 minutes, I think the result would be confusing to those who haven't read the book. (The third film -- Alfonso Cuaron's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban -- did a wonderful job of entertaining both readers and non-readers, though the source material there was admittedly much shorter.)

As is policy here at Brevity, spoilerish observations are confined to the comments section. I can say that the film's action was sufficiently scary enough to merit a PG-13 rating; until the climactic face-off, I figured the new rating had more to do with a mostly naked Harry being ogled by the ghost of Moaning Myrtle in the prefects' bathroom. I'm also pleased with how the budding romance issue between the students was handled; adequate time was spent exploring how Harry and Ron were completely useless in this regard, to humorous effect.

I also caught a sneak preview Monday of the Yours, Mine & Ours remake (which opens tomorrow). The pacing is unusual; it takes forever for Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo to get together, and then it's unclear why they think their combined 18 (!) kids will merge into a family so smoothly. The film goes pretty much as you'd expect: kids fight, kids unite for a destructive cause, kids end up getting along, then all is well. And in case anyone is wondering, this film is not 50% better than Cheaper by the Dozen.


K-Lyn said...

I guess this is where we disagree...of the HP books...3 is my fave. Of the HP Movies...lowest of the low. Hated it. I thought this was a HUGE improvement and basically it got us back on track towards brilliance.

And I'd say the PG-13 rating was from the nicely grotesque Ralph Fienes (never thought I'd say that!) as Voldemort. I thought the graveyard scene was very well handled. I even found myself grieving for Cedric (the 'cute one') in a way I never did in the book.

Neel Mehta said...

Hmmm. Aside from the inexcusable absences of Oliver Wood and Lucius Malfoy (together at last!), I thought Azkaban was nicely lean and mean. Hogwarts never looked better, the Sirius story was set up nicely by Arthur Weasley, and, well, Trelawney.

In Goblet, Hogwarts was unwieldy and darkly bloated. Rita Skeeter's character made little sense, especially since she's shown in the pensieve. And while Cedric doesn't get a whole lot of attention in the book either, they could have spent more time on him in the movie so we'd feel the loss more.

I will say that I would never guessed that Voldemort would look so much like Ralph Fiennes! I thought he'd be made unrecognizable, but the minimalist transformation was a brilliant move.

Oh, and the actress playing Fleur Delacour? Too young, and anemic. I can't see her as the Fleur of book 6.