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Eowyn's Heart

The name of this blog is based on the character Eowyn from Lord of the Rings because I strongly identify with her on many levels. The purpose of this blog is to proclaim the glory of my Lord and King through His work in conforming me into the image of His Son, Christ Jesus. In all things, I trust you will see His hand at work.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

Well, I've seen the movie twice now - and read the book inbetween viewings. The first time I came away a very impressed with the graphics and somewhat content with how they squeezed in the necessary plot points from a 700+ page book into 2 1/2 hours. In truth, it is way too much story for so little time - it needed at least 3 hours to be done properly.

Last Sunday, after a very busy week and social obligations Friday night through late Sat night, I took Sunday afternoon off and just read. I re-read the balance of the book in one sitting (I had gotten about 100 pages or so into it over the course of the previous weeks). The following Monday, I went with my friend Mark to see the movie again.

This time I came away much more disappointed - primarily because there were things they changed they didn't HAVE to change and because the 2nd time through, the arguement of "not enough time" to include a lot of the stuff they left out, rang quite untrue.

***Caution - Spoilers!***

There were tons of places where they could have conserved time simply by following the book rather than changing things up to leave out "unnecessary" characters - like Dobby. I don't mind so much that they started Harry out with the dream at the Weasley's instead of at Privet drive - and they did a good job with the dream - I didn't mind them bringing Barty Crouch Jr. into the story at this point. I DO mind, however, that on their way to the Portkey, someone asks Mr. Weasley where they're going and he replies "No idea." He knew precisely where they were going and the change only serves to insult the intelligence of this character. Yeah, Mr. Weasely is a bit eccentric - but he's a smart man with a lot of inner strength that shows itself later on. There was simply no reason to demean his character in this way.

Putting the Weasley's in a different box from the Malfoys was also an unnecessary change - another way of demeaning Mr. Weasley. Yeah, they're poor - but the do have some friends in high places and, in the book, they had really decent seats thanks to those connections - - connections which are vital later on!

Leaving out Bill & Charlie was also not needed and Bill will be important in the next part of the story. Neither were essential to this story, but it wouldn't have hurt to introduce them here.

Leaving out the Veela was a big mistake, in my opinion. Without the explanation of the Veela, you miss a huge part of who Fleur is and why she affects the boys the way she does - - without this information (which is never introduced in any way in the movie), Ron's blurting out an invitation to the ball to Fleur makes no sense. We needed to know that part of her character.

Leaving the muggles out of the World Cup was also sad - especially when it came to the DeathEater scene. Again - the changes they made were not needed - they could have spent the same time on telling the story properly. They did not need to separate Harry from his friends, they did not need to wait till everything was destroyed to introduce the dark mark. It really would have been a much more intense and exciting scene if they'd stuck to the book.

I didn't mind that they left the whole S.P.E.W. subplot out - it really served no strong purpose even in the book. All that plot did was explain a bit more about the nature of house elves, which doesn't end up meaning much to the overall story in the end.

Pieces of the tournament were also changed without any obvious reason. Again, they were untrue to character. Dumbledore would never shove Harry like he did in the movie. He has always loved Harry like a son and KNOWS without having to ask that Harry is innocent of the charges brought against him. There is no doubt. I'm sure they were just trying to infuse intensity into the scene, but again - if they'd stuck with the book and let the characters be themselves - the same goal would have been accomplished and it would have been better.

When Hagrid introduces Harry to the dragons they are in cages rather than being wrangled - why? My guess is that they didn't want to have to do more CGI. . . it is a bit expensive. (more on that thought towards the end). And, again, we leave out Charlie who explains these are "nesting mothers" - an important aspect of the first task. Then they change the color and appearance of the horntail - to their detriment, I believe. The dragon described in the book is far scarrier than the one they portrayed.

They also changed the battle Harry fights with the first dragon. It's as if they felt the dragon was the most important part of this scene and that a theatrical display of this dragon was essential. If they'd done more with the four dragons hidden in the forest and portrayed the horntail as it was described, they would have gotten just as many ooh's and ahh's from the thrill seekers who don't care about story and just want to see cool things flying around. A crucial piece of the puzzle here is the escape of the dragon and the whole flying around destroying roof tops stuff. TOTALLY unnecessary! The way it was done in the book was wonderfully exciting and kept the characters IN CHARACTER - the "nesting" mother shouldn't have wanted to leave her egg; the adults and students should have been panicking (not just ducking) and probably trying to hide from an angry loose dragon! Again, would've been better and still within time to stick with the way it was written.

The second task was done much better - though again, there were several unecessary changes - including the appearance of the mer-village and, most notably, the mer-statue that the "hostages" were supposed to be tied to. Another cost-cutting measure??

The maze was also terribly dissappointing. This was the last, and should have been the most exciting task. If they'd stuck with the book, it would've been! As it was, it was just a lot of running away from bushes. They also changed who saved who before getting to the Tri-Wizard Cup and left out Harry's injury. Both of which lent to much better defining of Harry and Cedric's personalities. The way it was done in the movie, Cedric's character (throughout, though especially here at the end) is never developed sufficiently for the viewer to get attached to him, and thereby truly mourn and be angered by his senseless murder. Cedric's character is flat in the movie when he was so alive in the book - they really did him a disservice.

The revival of Voldemort and the return of his servants was, in all the really important aspects, really well done. There were some minor changes that, again, weren't needed, but they didn't hurt the scene or the characters at all. I do think that it would have been more heart-stopping and exciting to exit Harry as it occurred in the book - Voldemort came in much too late after Harry called for the portkey and escaped with Cedric's body.

The last gripe I'll mention is the setting up of Barty Crouch Jr's character. When he's defined in the movie is while Harry is in the pensieve. They deviate from the book to have Karkaroff accuse him - which isn't so bad, but when he reacts with violence, that is TOTALLY out of character. The key thing for character development of Crouch Sr. is the condemnation of his son who is terrified, proclaiming innocence, and pleading with his father. I felt it was a true disservice to his character and his dad's to not give them this relationship and show that he might have actually been innocent in the beginning. Azkaban changes people, and that's what happened to Barty Jr. It also leaves out the sacrifice his mother made. Not an important plot point, but an essential character point.

In Summary: They sacrificed character for theatrics and they sacrificed story for time they lost in emphasizing the theatrics. I think the reason they changed so many scenes was that to do it properly, though it could have been done in the same time-frame, would have cost more money. Perhaps they're getting a little greedy?? In so doing, they have betrayed their primary audience. We who have been faithful to read and watch the movies - we who have become fans - deserved a much better effort than this last movie demonstrated. It is not one I will go see again and I will purchase the DVD begrudgingly just to have it in my collection. Perhaps there will be an extended version that will fill in some of the missing pieces. I almost feel like it simply needs to be re-done.


Blogger Mark said...

Could it be they did have the money in the budget to do the effects properly? Remember, they don't have unlimited funds/time to get this done properly. Sometimes they have to make changes to get the thing done at all, even when it's going to rake in the money on release.

Just a thought.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Eowyn7 said...

Yeah, it's possible $$ had nothing to do with it. Another friend gave the producers/director a bit more leeway for "artistic license" and I see her point. I still think it ought to be redone . . .MY way ;-P

8:06 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

That first line should have been did NOT have the money.

Stupid fingers not keeping up with my brain strike again.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Eowyn7 said...

I wondered about that...

10:54 PM  

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