Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
I thought Harry Potter was fantastic! Unlike the reviews I read in some other blogs (I saw a D+ once!) but perhaps its because I'm not quite a true-blood HP fan, so forgive me if my reviews are wrong.
Brit director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and A Funeral) really did put a darker edge to the story, just like the main poster itself. For most of the time, the film was shrouded with a gloomy feel to it, and everything did seem darker in contrast to the previous HP installments, really hammering in the "Everything Is About To Change" tagline.
However, one thing I didn't quite like about the movie was the cuts by the director, which happened too often and too "coarse", where you see the film being suddenly SNIPPED off, and at times, without being given a smooth transition from one scene to the other.
Altogether, the movie was different from the start, with Harry wakening up from a nightmare (Matrix Reloaded, anyone?), minus the Dursleys and the trip to King's Cross.
I simply loved the stadium for the Quidditch World Cup and its atmosphere (brooms flying around and the screams and the paint on the fans' faces and Irish leprechaun and the flipping screens across the stadium to show Viktor Krum's face..) Well I thought it was the BEST part of the movie. But all of a sudden it was cut to show people running and screaming from their tents to escape from the Death-Eaters. Personally, I felt that the movie didn't do the World Cup much credit, as some other scenes SHOULD be cut short to show more of the World Cup, which in a sense, is one of the climaxes of the story itself.
The arrival of the Beauxbatons on winged horses and the Viking/pirate-like ship of the Durmstrangs was breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL, thanks to special computer effects. Another scene that I particularly liked was the entrance of the Beauxbatons's girls into the hall, with the over-show of polite girly behaviour "Ahhhh~", their blue uniforms and the flittering butterflies, which reminded me of the days in my convent school. Hehe.
Up next, the Triwizard Tournament, to which, I feel, was given generous credit by the director. I jumped with a start at the dragon Horntail (good!) and the castle was wondrously ominous in its setting, where Horntail was perched on in its furious flight after Harry. The filming of the Black Lake scene was equally good for a watch, especially the scene where the 4 captives floated eerily beneath the waters while waiting for their rescue.. it was more than what I imagined while reading the book.
The Yule Ball was also spectacularly filmed, with all the splendour of a posh English boarding school promenade night. Hermoine never looked more beautiful and was quite a bit not at all like her usual self with all that glittery make-up on. However, the sudden blowout between Hermoine and Ron directly after the Yule Ball didn't seem at all to fit in smoothly between the sequences. I mean, people who don't read the book, especially guys, wouldn't at all fathom what's going on between the two; a burst of female hormones, maybe?
So although the ball scenes were fantastic, I, for one, felt that some of them and the bubble bath sequence with Moaning Myrtle should be cut short to accomodate for more of the World Cup and the Maze (where's the Sphinx and the Spider?!!!). Especially the Maze part, it wasn't really much of a challenge seeing that all you had to get past was just a bunch of crazy weeds and moving bushes. It kinda led to an anti-climax to the Maze sequence, which was supposed to be the TOUGHEST task of all the three inside the book, having to face your own fears...
Some other good contents from the book were also cut out, like the part where Rita Skeeter was found out to be an Animagus, and also the funny Save Our House-elves campaign (although it was good that they left out the irritating Dobby elf.) But by God the worst part of the movie was really the Maze.
As for the last part, where Cedric Diggory was killed and Harry meeting Lord Voldemort face-to-face was commendable, but could have been so much better. I would also rather Voldemort not talk so much crap, but maybe he was too excited after being a baby in Wormtail's arms for so long.
As for the characters:
Daniel Radcliffe did a marvellous performance in GOF and has thoroughly claimed the role as Harry Potter. No doubts about his acting now, he portrays the young, frightened at times but brave and determined orphaned hero with full perfection and a sparkling glint in his eyes. As for his compatriots, Rupert Grint gave his usual thumbs-up performance as Ron Weasley while Hermoine seemed a little bit too overacting on her part this time.
Robert Pattinson as the handsome Hufflepuff Champion Cedric Diggory was the eye candy of the show, while Katie Leung was only so-so in her role as a demure Chinese girl. (International appeal??) Poor Draco Malfoy was only given a few cameo appearances, while on the other hand Neville Longbottom was given far too many, given his creepy appearance and dancing feet.
The Durmstrang champion Viktor Krum was the one whom I think did not suit the casting; should have starred someone more moodier and sulky, and less bulky, though he suits the role of Quidditch player well, he didn't seem mysterious and appealing in the work-out scene, and quite a bit fat in his Yule Ball attire. Plus his brief romance with Hermoine had no on-screen chemistry at all, seemed hard to believe what Hermoine saw in him. Clemence Poesy however played the part of the haughty Fleur Delacour extremely well, and does exude some foreign appeal in the show.
As for the new Dumbledore, somehow he seemed a little too thin and far too agile for the previous Dumbledore... and a bit too infuriated and overreating at times, making his performance a little bit unbelievable. The same goes to Ralph Fiennes, although perfectly conniving in his role as The-One-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named, he did seem a little bit too talkative and too eager in his role at times. The wonderful Alan Rickman as Professor Snape also only appeared less than what I wished for, while newcomer Brendan Gleeson as Mad-Eye Moody brought the character wondrously to life.
Needless to say, I personally felt that the GOF book was the best and most illustrated in the whole Harry Potter series, but as I mentioned at the top, the movie was fantastic but yet has plenty of room for improvement.