If you can’t tell there are going to be spoilers in this post, you are a fool!
Goblet of Fire is my favorite of the Harry Potter books…I think because it’s a huge turning point. Things happen that forever change the world. None of it, really, is unnecessary. It’s a tight story that just happens to be jam-packed with information and character development, and is thus fairly long.
Which is why I wasn’t sure how in the world it was going to be made into a movie.
I wondered if the Quidditch World Cup would simply be omitted. That turned out not to be the case. Instead, it was shortened to not much more than a prologue, and the whole House Elf subplot was lifted right out. This greatly simplified things and removed quite a few scenes. And to be honest…I didn’t miss the House Elves one bit! (And I didn’t miss SPEW, either.) Apparently people knew about this beforehand, but I managed (without really trying) to avoid “spoilers” before seeing the film, so it was a surprise to me.
Without Winky, there was no need for the main characters to be in the top box, so they weren’t. This meant there was no Ludo Bagman…which meant that the twins did not bet with him that Ireland would win with Krum taking the Snitch. (Actually, the game isn’t shown at all, and it’s unclear afterwards who even won–there’s only one line that indicates Ireland.) I think this is important to note because Harry didn’t receive prize money at the end, and therefore he didn’t give it to Fred and George to make up for their being cheated by Bagman. How they start their joke shop will have to be explained in some other way, I suppose.
There were a couple of other things that were shortened or explained differently or just done differently. Ron knew about the dragons. Hagrid and Madame Maxime didn’t have their fight, and Rita Skeeter didn’t out Hagrid as part giant. Cho didn’t save Harry from Filch in the Owlery. Hermione’s Yule Ball dress wasn’t blue ;P The Goblet of Fire was tricked by a Confundus Charm, rather than simply by having Harry’s name thrown in with the name of a different school. The Marauder’s Map does not come into play. Our heroes do not meet up with Sirius in Hogsmeade; the fireplace is his only appearance. Karkaroff is shown to be a Death Eater, but it’s not mentioned if/when he flees.
There was only one Pensieve memory, and Barty Crouch, Jr. acted maniacal in it rather than frightened. Junior was also in Harry’s dream at the beginning of the movie; this simplified matters immensely (and was necessary in the absence of Winky). The Barty Crouch, Sr. Imperius Curse subplot was missing; it looked like it was going to be there when he was found fallen in the woods (not by Harry and Krum but by Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Hagrid), but then nothing else happened with it. Also, Beauxbatons was an all-girls school, and Durmstrang all boys. I don’t remember them being that way in the book. It’s a little annoying, actually, because Fleur is the most useless of all the Champions, and I at least liked to think that she’d beaten out some guys to earn her position.
One other, small thing I didn’t like was Sirius’ head in the fire. I thought that was kind of silly. I always imagined the face as appearing over the fire; since Floo Powder is used for this kind of conversation, it just made sense to me that the head would be semi-corporeal, if orange.
I was pleased, and I’m sure commenter K will be too, to discover that they fixed the gravestone discrepancy.
Voldemort’s gloating scene with his Death Eaters is much shorter than I’d expected. I think they probably could have cut down the huge dragon fight to add to this, because it’s the scariest part and there should probably have been more weight to it. (Plus, Harry’s supposed to have beaten the dragon the fastest.) I would have liked some foreshadowing of Bellatrix Lestrange; she’s probably the creepiest and most evil character in the books other than Voldemort. It also would have been nice to have the subtle references to Karkaroff and Snape.
I do think that Ralph Fiennes made a fantastic Voldemort, because you can tell he’s pretty under all that makeup :> I thought the Voldemort special effects were really neat–the way his robe moved, making him seem to slither. The “Kill the spare” line wasn’t issued the way I expected at all, but that’s minor.
I did wonder if they would show Cedric fully spread-eagled. In retrospect, that might have been a bit ridiculous. The framing of his lifeless face, frozen forever in shock, was far more powerful.
I didn’t cry until Harry made it back, and he was sobbing, and it was just like the book.
I’ve pointed out a lot of things that were done differently from the book and a few things that I didn’t like, but really, I loved this film, and the only change I would make would be to extend the Harry vs. Voldemort scene.
The music was fantastic. It didn’t interrupt the film at all. I loved the way the introductory music played on John Williams’ original theme, perverting it, making it creepy. I was actually kind of surprised to see that Williams didn’t do the score this time. This Patrick Doyle fellow is good…he probably did better, I’m sad to say, than Williams would have.
I sat through all the credits, partly because I was enjoying the music and reading the names, and partly because I was sorry it was over, and I was hoping there’d be some amazing sneak preview of Order of the Phoenix–never mind that filming hasn’t even started for that :> Then, finally, when the film reel stopped and “Widescreen Radio” came on, I stumbled out of the theater and into the bathroom. (I’d been holding it for at least an hour. My two breaks before the movie didn’t help!)
Goblet of Fire = good. Right now, all I really feel like doing is watching the movie again.
Ah well. Reality bites ;>