Released 11/18/05 Rated: PG-13
I could nitpick about these movies all day, so I’m just going to keep it short and hit a 3-for-1 post.
I absolutely love Goblet of Fire. I didn’t realize how funny it was until I recently saw it again. This installment is hilarious. The filmmakers did a fantasic job on the movie. Considering that half the book was left out, and then it had to be slightly rewritten; I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything at all.
The only thing in this one that I gave to complain about is Michael’s Dumbledore. I felt he was a little too frantic, maybe. I still see Dumbledore as Richard Harris’s character: a quiet, wise, possibly even passive wizard who always had everything under control. For instance: when Dumbledore asks Harry if he put his name in the goblet of fire, it would have come out as a soft question, but the weight of how he said it would either show disappointment or could inspire a feeling of guilt. But instead it was more like a howling accusation that ran Harry up against a wall. Michael plays a good Dumbledore most of the time, but I feel he was a little too loud, and in Harry’s face in this one.
Released 07/11/07 Rated: PG-13
In Order of the Phoenix we meet Deloris Umbridge, the one person you probably hate more than anyone else in the series. Imelda Staunton plays her beautifully as a power hungry, slightly sadistic, paranoid, pink-loving witch. The only scene I wish they’d kept was when she evaluates Professor McGonagall. I would have loved to have seen Maggie Smith go off on her like her character clearly wants to. I’ll give the crew casting Harry Potter one thing, they certainly knew what they were doing.
This one I didn’t remember being as good as it was. I do still think it could have been a little more thorough, but considering the size of the book, it’s still very good. I feel as though they touched on everything, but they didn’t really follow through on most of it. It would have taken two seconds for Hermione to say “We need a name for our group,” and then write Dumbledore’s Army on the name list, which would have made sense when the group gets found out and Umbridge confronts Dumbledore with it. Or how the last we see of Umbridge is her being dragged into the forest, and then in the paper she’s smiling as she resigns. It causes a lot of “How did that happen?” for those who didn’t read the books.
Released 7/15/09 Rated: PG-13
Half-Blood Prince has to be the funniest of all the movies in this series. Especially the Felix Felicis scene; that cracks me up every time.
It really is a bummer that because of the length of the story, the audience loses the sense of the school atmosphere in these movies. When everything takes place after class, on holiday, or at the end of the night, it’s like “Oh yeah! They’re at school!” when the filmmakers weave something back into the movie. For instance, in the previous movie they do touch on the O.W.L.s (similar to our SATs) and we see them taking the written portion of the exam, but the importance, the stress, and the content is completely lost to the rest of the plot. And part of that carries over into the beginning of this movie with Apparition. The non-book fans aren’t going to completely get it. That’s actually one of the reasons I love these books so much; the integration of the school with the rest of the story and what’s going on in this magical world. If only I could write that well!
There were two scenes that were added that I didn’t really understand the purpose of their addition into the story. The first was in the beginning at the cafe in the subway. Were we not up for visiting the Dursley’s this year? I’m not complaining because the movie wasn’t exactly like the book, but this scene seemed out of place for me. The second scene was the attack on the Burrow. Isn’t the Burrow supposed to be protected? Anyway…
I love these movies. I just wish they’d hurry up and put out the rest of the series as extended editions.