Friday, November 18, 2005

Harry Potter and the Hormones of Fire

We saw a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (and yes, I've only had a few hours' sleep, so please excuse any grammatical weirdness). It was a fun and well-publicized affair -- I'll post photos soon; and you may catch me on CNN on Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, the movie: I thought it was the best yet. In no small part, that's due to child actors who have grown to the point where they can do some serious acting; and a director who is adept at working with human beings and making them believable as human beings. The director and screenwriter also deserve massive credit for hewing a taught, exciting two-and-a-half-hour thriller out of what was perhaps J.K. Rowling's most rambling narrative. In the process, the movie makers of necessity sliced out huge slabs of the story (there are parts of the Potter mythos that may just never show up on screen), but the film is still awash in elements of the Potter story that will dominate the next two books: Death Eaters, Dark Marks, the Nuremburg-like trials of Voldemort's followers, the unforgiveable curses. And most of all, the kids are definitely hitting the maelstroms of adolescents. The critics who cheered the adolescence metaphors of the previous film are going to be amazed with this one, where Hermione can complain that her new boyfriend is more "physical" than loquacious, and Harry can respond with a smirk.

The one discordant element was the depiction of Dumbledore. Although Michael Gambon is still a delightful actor to watch, the director has turned the supernally even-keeled headmaster into a high-strung chap given to shouting and even pushing Harry backwards into a glass case.

Anyway, I predict this is going to make another bushelful of money for all concerned.

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