Monday, December 05, 2005

The Kid with a destructive Wand



Harry Potter is back in town and this time, he is not pretending to be a kid. The fourth film in the series is showing at Cineplex and from the response, it is as big as the previous movies. Fans of the franchise will be happy to note that this film is a get-way to another.

Named Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the movie is darker than all the others put together. The mood is reminiscent of the second Lord of the Rings flick. There are changes in the setting and in the characters. The actors themselves have changed visibly since we last saw them. There are broken voices all over the film; Rupert Grint (Ron) is at that stage when a boy should not sing. And this time, we have guys with real beards at Hogwarts.

This year, Hogwarts, Harry Potter’s wizardry school, is getting ready for the Triwizard competition, an Olympic style competition that brings together wizard schools from all over the world. In addition, there is the Yule ball coming up and the students have to find dates. Harry and his friend Rupert are getting desperate because it seems they can’t summon up the necessary courage to ask the girls. Harry, the great wizard does not have a clue when it comes to matters of the heart.

But the Dark Lord, that menace from way back in the earlier films is rising. Harry Potter is having nightmares and it seems he is being warned of this new advent of his old nemesis. Back when he was a child, the Dark Lord wanted to kill him but his mother saved him by sacrificing herself. That act of love overpowered the Dark Lord. Until now. There are signs that there are people trying to raise him. So as they go about the competition, there is another battle going on for the life of Harry Potter, which if lost could spell doom for the world.

The first thing one notices after watching this film is that it is too long. When people start yawning in a Harry Potter movie, there is something wrong. For a movie that was meant to be for kids in the first place, two and a half hours is too long. Plus the fact that it was shot in very dark colours. It was meant to create mystery but maybe it was overdone. One can’t even see their hand inside the auditorium for most of the movie.

The acting is okay for the main actors. These people have grown up on this film and they have picked up skills along the way that are going to put bread on their tables when Harry Potter is long done with. Daniel Radcliff has made the surprised look his very own. Rupert Grint is a natural when it comes to expressing his emotions. Emma Watson’s Hermione is underutilised in this plot, unlike in Prisoner of Azkaban.

Unfortunately, the good acting does not redeem the slow plot. The relationship between Hermione and Ron is underdeveloped and we are left wondering what the point was anyway. Then we have to choose between the Triwizard, the romance between Harry and whichever girl he thinks he is going to ask out and the Dark Lord’s designs on Potter. He represents a more sinister form of death. “I’m going to kill you, Harry Potter,” he says and we know he is not playing this time. But that theme is also trifled with and we have to wait for another film to see him carry out that threat.

The costumes are good. They transport one to another time when all you had to do to get out of boredom was to open up your Enid Blyton book. Always have a feeling you are about to see the famous five. And one will enjoy the swelling orchestra that works throughout the film.

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