Ordinary Human Language

by Brian Crane

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I found this movie pretty boring, but again, there's so much going on in the book that there's barely time to hit the essential points. Nuance and color isn't going to survive even a two and a half hour adaptation.

I will say this though: in the source novel Harry's struggles and successes in the early stages of the tournament are joyful enough to make Cedric’s tragic death at its conclusion devastating. Likewise this early joy makes learning that the Death Eater impersonating Mad-Eye Moody has been cheating for Harry feels like a punch to the gut because it suggests that early joy wasn’t real because it was a cheat.

None of this carries over to the movie because the tournament struggles to make any sense at all. The subtly is gone, and the tournament is reduced to three action set-pieces, all of them race-or-chases. The thing is that I see the joy at the beginning of the novel as the last truly pure, truly childlike happiness Harry experiences in the books, and I missed it not being there in the film.

All that said, I have two principal take-aways from the movie:

- Robert Pattinson is a Hufflepuff. This explains everything.

- The scene in book in which Harry deciphers the second clue by bringing the golden egg to the pool in the prefects' bathroom seemed to me when I read it to be very much — and very awkwardly — as an elaborate gag about Harry's nakedness. Watching the movie, it was clear that this is in fact the case. And for the record, I'm relieved to have this settled.

Posted April 12, 2019