Thursday, November 24, 2005

Review of Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire

Don't worry, it's short ( tired out after a busy week ).

Overall, I thought it was pretty good, so let's dwell on the plus points first.

1. Awesome visual effects - check.

I can't remember much from the book, since it's the 2nd worst installment in my opinion ( the absolute lousiest being the latest one, yech ). All those flying horses and giant ships bobbing out of the sea are definitely impressive, as is the cool fireworks display with the dancing leprechaun during the Quidditch World Cup opening sequence.

Triwizard Tournament excitement is ample as well, with a vicious dragon doing a pseudo-King-Kong routine on a Hogwarts tower, a horde of deeply scary merpeople, the unnervingly creepy maze, and ( brrr ) all those teens suspended underwater waiting to be rescued ( reading about it and seeing it on the big screen are two very different experiences ).

2. Angst and hormones - check

These came in spurts, but each moment possessed its own magic. Full credit goes to the wonderful cast, without which the film's mood would never be effectively conveyed.

3. Cool new characters - check

Add spark, complicate things a bit, flesh out the story, provide eye candy.

My favourite of the lot: this dude. Like most of his fellow secondary role-players, he spoke little. But there're 3 scenes I remember clearly - him strolling up to the goblet to add his name to the list, another where he strides along the lake while being stalked by a chunk of groupies, and the greeting at the staircase to the great hall.

Trust exotic European men to draw the deepest sighs. With his athletic build, rugged good looks and lovely accent, he brings a quiet strength to the role, expressing volumes without even speaking a word. Despite his young age ( 20 ), he seems to have acquired a gift for conjuring ( pun unintended :)) the Intense Stare whenever he wishes. And the staircase bit, with the gorgeous uniform ( I love capes :)), smart salute and impeccable manners - ahh, I beamed from ear to ear. :D

He's got potential, but much will depend on how he markets himself in the near future. I, for one, would like to see how he handles an action role.

The not-so-good parts:

1. Bad pacing

This is when the novels start getting too cumbersome to adapt. The 1st 3 books were thin tomes, yet translated into films that stretched beyond 2 hours. Goblet hit the 150-minute mark, but STILL felt woefully incomplete. Each scene seemed truncated, with the enjoyable bits prematurely halted before audiences get yanked on to the next subplot. Others - like the nightmares Harry keeps having - shouldn't be repeated, thus saving 5 extra minutes for, say, more of the Triwizard Tournament maybe?

What suffered most, I think, is Cho Chang, who appeared as early as Book 1 or 2, but was relegated to a couple of lines and a handful of short appearances in Movie 4. The actress( Katie Leung ) is very sweet and pretty, like the character she plays. However, Harry's lovelorn infatuation isn't convincing, both because of the sudden-ness of Cho's introduction, and the measly screen-time she's granted. If you're not familiar with the novels, you might think Harry's lost his marbles. If you only knew he's been admiring her from afar for 3-4 years, you'd understand his behaviour much, much better.

2. A rather lacklustre Ralph Fiennes

This just perfectly illustrates how the worst makeup in the world can't compare with good direction, script and execution.

I saw Fiennes in Wuthering Heights ( a BBC special ). In Schindler's List. In Red Dragon. In Quiz Show. In The English Patient and The End Of The Affair ( never mind about Maid In Manhattan, which is vapid fluff. ). This is a man who excels at oozing pure evil at the drop of a hat. Who sent chills of terror down his co-stars' spines when he first stepped out in his Gestapo garb as Amon Goeth. Who effortlessly swung between gentle lover and crazed serial killer Francis Dolarhyde. Who ALWAYS exudes darkness in some form, even in the most romantic, sweeping epic.

As Voldemort, he ( most unfortunately ) didn't scare me at all.

In fact, he came across as campy and hysterical, which aren't the best attributes for something named "The Dark Lord". Now Sauron from LOTR, THAT'S a Dark Lord if I ever saw one.

Next up, The Order Of The Phoenix. Which incidentally, happens to be my 2nd favourite, after The Prisoner Of Azkaban. There's a secret society of Hogwarts students trained by Harry in Defence Against The Dark Arts, a new professor / headmistress who's absolutely horrid, and a whopping wizard battle right at the end, which will no doubt look spectacular on the big screen.

I can't wait. :)

House Quotes

James Wilson: Some doctors have the Messiah complex - they need to save the world. You [ i.e. House ] have the Rubik's complex - you want to solve the puzzle.

House: I'm in pain.

Very very ill but sagely patient: Aren't we all?

Lisa Cuddy: I can't believe you authorized something like this.

House: Really? Sounds EXACTLY like something I'd do.

House: NEVER apologize for a medical opinion.

Wilson: You really don't need to know everything about everybody.

House: I don't really need to watch "The O.C.", but it makes me happy.

Medical student: Dr. House, you're reading a comic book.

House: And you're calling attention to your bosom by wearing a low-cut top. Oh, I'm sorry, I thought we were having a "state the obvious" contest. I'm competitive by nature.

House: Treat them all [ i.e. patients ] as if they have Korsakoff's. We all lie anyway.

House: If it's dry, keep it wet. If it's wet, keep it dry. If it's not supposed to be there, cut it off.

House: You wanna know how 2 chemicals react do you ask them? No, they're gonna lie through their lying little chemical teeth. Throw them in a beaker and apply heat.

Patient's father: So you're treating him for BOTH diseases? So you're throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks?

Robert Chase: Works for spaghetti.

House: Fascinating story. You ever thought about adapting it for the stage? [ it's sarcasm, by the way ]

Chase: How would you feel if I interfered in your personal life?

House: I'd hate it. That's why I cleverly HAVE no personal life.

Wilson: What happened to you?

House: I had a massage.

Wilson: Looks like you had the masseuse.

Allison Cameron: All this hate - it's toxic.

Chase: Then stay away.

Ran out of time for an entry about med students, with apologies. Have to conduct a course tomorrow. On my day off. Sigh.

Enjoy your weekend.

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