Monday, November 28, 2005

Harry Potter 4 - Goblet of Fire

Over the break, we got a chance to see Harry Potter 4 - Goblet of Fire. We were excited to see it, having felt that Mexican director who did Harry Potter 3 was brilliant and we wondered why they didn't ask him to do HP4 as well. Well, now I'm wondering if it was a bad case of Affirmative Action. The Harry Potter movies never had a British director, which was kind of ironic. So they hired a British director for HP4.

I'm not sure if this guy's a genius and just made a bad movie or if he was over his head with this, but HP4 was without a doubt the worst of the Harry Potter movies. It's not a bad film, just a major disappointment after seeing the wonderful work done with HP3.

They tried to make a Hollywood action movie for HP4. Big mistake. I know the book was huge and part of the problem was deciding what to leave out. So they focused on only two scenes - the Ball and the Tournament.

The director of HP3 managed to develop a lot of the other characters, the director of HP4 had more time to work with and failed to develop any. So character development gets an F.

Instead, we see an extended scene of Harry Potter getting chased by a dragon, kind of like how police movies low on plot have ridiculously long chases. Ron's jealousy of Harry, Hermoine's platonic love for Harry and romantic love for Ron, the bond between Sirius and Harry, the annoyances of Rita Skeeter, and the romance of Hagrid and that half-giant lady each get a brief nod but no real development.

I didn't pay to see a James Bond flick. I paid to see the next Harry Potter movie. The director must have thought differently. For those who never read the books, I imagine they'd be completely lost. For those who had read the books, I imagine they'd be wondering why X and Y stories were so poorly developed.

7 dead zombies. The movie itself gets five, but the scenes are gorgeous and take you to the Harry Potter universe which alone is worth the price of admission. Worst of the four, but still worth watching. I really hope they bring that Mexican guy back for HP5.

Caution - If you have little kids, you might want to see this first before deciding whether to take them or not. A teenager gets killed, which is always disturbing for a young kid to watch. Also, there is slight sexuality in the bathtub scene.


Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

The zomblings felt the same way... a tad disappointed. I actually liked it. I haven't read the book though. I just finished the first one and am about halfway through the second.

11/28/2005 9:00 AM  
Blogger jenbeauty said...

Oh bah humbug you!! I liked Alfonso's take on everything Hogwarts, he gave the audience what we needed. The Mike Newell provided us with another take and expanded on what Alfonso developed.

I believe this book was very difficult to get into 2 hours of film. We were introduced to so many new characters (with two new schools being introduced) that further character development of Snape, Hagrid, McGonagell was unecessary. This film was all about teenage angst and the horrible side of the wizarding world.

Ok Zombie off my geeky HP soapbox now!! lol

11/28/2005 9:35 AM  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

My grandma took the younglings this weekend as well. Everyone, including the 7 year old, was disappointed. My son (8) told me that the other Harry Potters were SOOOOO much better than this last one.
Interesting you mentioned the death scene--my kids were already covering their eyes when my grandma looked over at them to suggest it.
Sounds like I didn't miss anything although of course, I'll rent it.
I watched The Polar Express on DVD this weekend, seen it?

11/28/2005 9:39 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

It's funny how different people have different opinions of the same movie. I just read on someone else's blog that they thought this was the best one. I still can't wait to see it. I love Harry Potter, although I was disappointed in the last book. Not because Dumbledore died (I don't think he's really dead), but just because it was kind of boring. Took me a month to read it.

11/28/2005 9:48 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

I'm in the other camp... I liked this one. I was a bit annoyed by the last one, which was pretty, but didn't do it for me.

I liked the Englishness of this one. The English school side of it was really brought out for me.

I think the character development in this one was much more subtle. Like Neville learning to dance and then showing his innate bravery by stepping out on the floor when everyone else waited on the sidelines...teen anxiety...just like I remember it.

I would have liked a lot more story too, but with a long ole book that that one, there's got to be a lot of cutting. And, so far, about the only director I've ever seen do that much cutting without a hitch is the guy who did 'Lord of the Rings'.

I'm probably a bit biased though. This was probably me favorite book of the lot so far.

11/28/2005 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Michele said...

Hi ZS, left a comment on The Fourth Ammendment Post answering your comment on Denise Richards post.
I didn't like the Harry Potter books. I tried to read the first one and just couldn't get into it. Levi and his wife and Rosalyn are super into them, though.
We're so pumped about Lion, Witch and Wardrobe, and have tickets to a special premiere show. Wish you could be there with us.

11/28/2005 10:28 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

I read the book, but it was just too long ago; so I couldn't figure out what all they left out. I was a bit dissapointed, but for the most part happy to see a new Potter movie!

11/28/2005 10:59 AM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

I agree with you on this one.
Why waste time with Rita Skeeter if you don't show what Hermoine does to her?
There was a LOT of plot left out that is crucial to following the story in HP5. Where was Percy? What about Harry giving his prize money to Fred and George?
The only character they appropriately developed was Neville.

11/28/2005 3:03 PM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Geez I quite liked it but it did lack the moving staircase/pictures type stuff.

Thought it was the best of the 4.

Hey ZS, did you like Sideways or The Royal Tannenbaums?

I hated those two and wondered if we just have opposite tastes in movies....

11/28/2005 4:31 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

ZS - I agree with your review. For someone like me who didn't read the book, I was totally lost. :-/

11/28/2005 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Michele said...

If you're going to answer my comment, do so on this post, as I can't get into the 4th ammendment post. (curses on my nanny) Man, this is becoming comical.
But, I'm fine with no comment from you, as I've always been one to relish the last word :)

11/28/2005 5:47 PM  
Blogger Mybrid said...

I actually loved this one over the others. Although I think they could have done away with the silly entrance of the girls and the guys into the hallway. That was just a bit too sexist to my taste. I did love the special effects and just watching Harry and his friends grow up from one movie to another. That's cool in itself.

11/28/2005 7:08 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

ZL - I read the books first, and still loved the first three movies. I didn't hate this one, just was a big letdown.

Jenbeauty - If they spent a little bit more time developing Sirius Black, I would have been happy. He had practically nothing in this movie. They should have done something more with Cedric too.

Sadie - Yeah, Polar Express was okay. Neither liked it nor disliked it. Funny, your eight-year-old son felt the same way I did. Maybe he should become a movie critic. ;)

Mel - Funny, I read HP6 in one day. It wasn't as good as four or five, but it's like my soap opera. It didn't have to be great, I just had to finish the story.

As you might remember since I did a post on it (and I think you commented), I don't think Dumbledore is dead either.

Shawn - It was my 2nd fav book (5 my fav), so maybe I'm just hard on it. But I really think the Mexican did a better directing job than the Brit.

Michele - I'm pumped about that one too. It's actually my fav fiction book of all time. We're planning on meeting you all come Spring. Just too much on the table now.

Yeah, saw that post and will reply shortly. Very well-written.

Becky - Don't get me wrong. I'll still buy the DVD as soon as it comes out and I was glad to see it. But of the four, I think it was the worst.

Tshsmom - Why waste time with Rita Skeeter if you don't show what Hermoine does to her?

Exactly. I love it when Hermoine gets nasty. She started off too much a goodie-goodie and I love how Rowling developed her as a character. Stuff like that is what's missing in the HP4 movie.

Bridget - Hated Sideways so much that I only got through the first half hour of it. Didn't see Royal Tennebaums yet.

Notta - Funny. Your review was spot on. I was hoping I'd disagree with you because I read your review before we saw the movie.

Michele - Will do...

Mybrid - The scenery was awesome. I gave the sets an A+. I just was disappointed in the lack of character development, since this book is so crucial. It's the middle year of Harry Potter and it's this book where things really start getting dark.

11/28/2005 8:37 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Michele - That was so well-written that it's going to be tough to respond to. It's funny, I was reading your response out loud to my real estate agent and we were laughing because every single point you made, we named people we knew who were guilty of those.

But, it does corrupt the person who views it to some extent, a little more each time.

One of our best friends has been such a bad p#rn addict that the stuff he watches is so extreme, I don't even want to hear about it. His p#rn has become downright disgusting.

...and ask yourself this: Would you want your adult son or daughter to be a P#$n star? If not, why not?

No. I really hope Junior chooses another medium and would feel like I screwed up if he became a p#rn star. I don't think it's the best career choice, especially since he'll be getting a college education.

You also made another point that brought me to one of my real estate agent's best friends. The guy's a good guy who has a wonderful wife. Unfortunately for his wife, he's a p#rn addict and would rather download p#rn than make love to his wife.

Now in defense of p#rn, I think it can be used in a healthy way. Take for instance a travelling salesman. I'll try not to get too graphic, but let's not kid ourselves and say that being away from your spouse a week or two at a time is easy and gets severely lonely for both parties. P#rn in this respect could be a safer (not safe, but safer) substitute than something bad like an affair.

My wife and I have watched p#rn movies together. Anything that offends either of us gets fast forwarded. Some times we end up busting up laughing because the positions look implausable.

I think we're healthy people though. Neither of us smoke, both of us can control our drinking, and I'd much rather be with her than watch a p#rn movie.

As for the Peeping Tom, there are people who are exhibiti#nists and love being n#de and having s#x in front of the camera. I don't see it as a bad thing to download their fantasies.

Another interesting story. A San Francisco lady who has become famous in some feminist circles watched a few p#rn movies with her then boyfriend. She got so disgusted by them, not the content but the lack of acting, storylines, etc., that she decided to produce her own. She's now a successful p#rn director/producer who makes what I feel as healthy p#rn movies.

Speaking of women, the hands down best p#rn photographer out there is Suze Randall. She's amazing. Her work is head and shoulders above other p#rn and I wish other p#rn photographers would attempt to mimic her talent or at least take a shot at it.

But with p#rn, I'd readily admit, there are a lot of people out there with serious problems with it. As for the single worst problem with marriage, I think it's actually communication or finances that cause the most divorces.

Wonderful piece you wrote. I hope my response was at least worthy.

11/28/2005 9:20 PM  
Blogger tenxinchoden said...

zzcqbgee! i didn't even watch the movie... i guess i'll have to "be prepared" for a huge chunk of dissapointment as you say!!

SCREAMS *bring the Maxician back... for the sake of Sombie'

ps: missed you:)

11/29/2005 1:06 AM  
Blogger Moni said...

I don't know, I kind of liked HP4. I thought it explored the angst ridden teenage years and the developing relationship of Hermoine(sp) and Ron. Of course, I read only bits and pieces of the book. Therefore, I had to have my daughter explain the movie to me. :)

11/29/2005 5:19 AM  
Blogger jenbeauty said...

I have to agree with you on the lack of Sirius in this movie. But I thought they portrayed Cedric in a pretty good light.

I agree with Shawn, this movie was very British, and I liked that aspect.

My dad has not read the books, only watched the movies. He had a pretty good feel for what was happening and loved the final cemetary scene.

We re-watched POA this weekend and my kids were more scared by the werewolf scenes and the dementors in that movie than the cemetary scene in GOF. My son remembers the dragon scenes the most and pretty much blocked out everything else.

Good response to the p*orn issue.

11/29/2005 6:36 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

TC - Well, it's still worth watching. It's visually gorgeous and it wasn't a bad movie. If this wasn't my 2nd favorite book in the series, I probably would have been easier on the movie.

Moni - You really should read the book. Harry Potter 4 and beyond is when Rowling starts writing more adult oriented themes and she has more freedom to do anything she wants, which is a good thing in her case. Her best two books are 4 and 5.

Jenbeauty - That's cool. I understand not everyone has the same taste as me. But yes, the dementors were pretty scary in HP3.

Some kids though are bothered when a kid dies in a movie. Not all kids, but some kids are. I just wanted to give a heads up to parents out there that a kid will die and they might want to consider that before taking young children.

11/29/2005 8:44 AM  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Sadie - Yeah, Polar Express was okay. Neither liked it nor disliked it. Funny, your eight-year-old son felt the same way I did. Maybe he should become a movie critic. ;)

I think it's important to me that my kids love movies and books. I don't know why--probably because I loved movies and books and sometimes they were my only escape from the pressures of being a teen.

11/29/2005 9:21 AM  
Blogger Slade said...

awww man, I loved it!!! But #3 is still my fav....I just really liked the ending to 4--Voldemort was really cool and the graveyard scene was awesome!

I bawled like a baby

I've missed you since I've been away, but I caught myself up on the missed blogs

11/29/2005 4:18 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Slade - I'm glad you liked it. Didn't do it for me, although you're right about the graveyard scene. That was good. That's pretty much the image I had in my head when I read the book.

Sadie - I think it's important to me that my kids love movies and books. I don't know why--probably because I loved movies and books and sometimes they were my only escape from the pressures of being a teen.

Heh, did anyone enjoy their teen years? Mine were so extreme - either way up or way down but no in betweens. :p

Yeah, my escapes were football, heavy metal music, and Dungeons and Dragons. Didn't get into film and books until my 20s.

11/29/2005 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Michele said...

Your response was not only worthy, but respecfully made. I like when folks can disagree without getting all sensitive and personal. I have a brother-in-law, (my sister Melanie's hub) who is so fun to argue with because he's always polite and well-spoken, and will debate for hours, without getting his feelings hurt, or becoming hurtful. Your rebutal reminded me of his style.
However, I don't agree that p@#n is useful to keep men faithful to their wives. The very act of viewing someone they're not married to is being unfaithful, in a way. If I walked in on my traveling husband in a hotel room, and found him viewing p#$n, the last thing I'd say is, "Oh, honey, it's good to see your working towards being faithful to me."
The mentality that we have now, that people have to be s@xually satisfied all the time bothers me; " Give kids cond#ms, they certainly can't wait till they're married!" A person never died of not having s%x. We're not animals. Men were able to be faithful to their wives for many years before p"$n became so available.
It's funny to me how obsessed with the idea that we must be having s#x, as much as we want, never going with out. For example, men get old, start using Vi@#gra because they can't anymore. This drug gives them strokes and migraines. Women get old, lose desire, and put themselves on testosterone, which messes them up. Can't anybody deal with the thought that they might have to go without? Perhaps it's a different season? Geez. What next? Should we put toddlers on hormones so they can perform s#xually?
It sounds like you and Mrs. Z have a good marriage, and and an understanding in this area.
Again, still pals, and thanks for responding.

11/30/2005 12:45 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Good or bad I have to see it. And frankly yours is the first bad review I have read of the movie, but of course yours has me scared. Don't mess with Jen though, she loves Harry Potter!

11/30/2005 1:00 PM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

ZS, I think you just described EVERYBODY'S teen years!
I escaped to books, movies and the outdoors.
Hmmm...Sadie started some post fodder here.

11/30/2005 3:32 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Tshsmom - I need to do teen-age years as a separate post.

Scott - Definitely go see it. I gave it 7 dead zombies, which is still acceptable. It was visually gorgeous. It was just a let down for me, but it did a decent job of bringing you into a different universe.

I see movies to escape from reality. This movie succeeded. As a movie though, it was just okay. That's why I'm so hard on it.

Michele - Another reason I want to meet you all. I could tell from your words that you're good people.

Just one question though. Do you think p#rn is cheating if you see it with your spouse?

As for me and Mrs. Z, we have a wonderful marriage. She's so brutally honest, even more up front than I am. I love that. I don't go one hour without thinking of her, and we've been together for a long time now.

11/30/2005 8:20 PM  
Blogger Miladysa said...

We had a huge family outing and without doubt we all loved it and thought it the best yet. The majority of us have read the books and understand the problem (as in all cases of books being transferred onto the screen) that exists with such detailed storylines.

I am wondering if perhaps there is and British/American thing here? When we were in the USA we went to the cinema on several occasions and one of the films I remember seeing was Forrest Gump - we were laughing at scenes that our American friends thought were strange and vice versa :)

Anyway, how can you fail to LOVE this film? :)

12/01/2005 3:25 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Miladysa - Hmm...
I'm wondering now if there's something that I just didn't like about the movie. My wife and son didn't like it either, but a lot of you liked it and some said it was the best of the four.

I really did think they tried to make it too action and I thought the guy who directed HP3 had the right "pace," more like the books.

12/01/2005 11:10 PM  
Blogger Miladysa said...

HP3 was good I agree - I just think that the films are improving. 1 & 2 look pretty dull today. Let us see what happens with HP5 :)

12/02/2005 9:22 AM  
Blogger dave said...

Caution - If you have little kids, you might want to see this first before deciding whether to take them or not. A teenager gets killed, which is always disturbing for a young kid to watch. Also, there is slight sexuality in the bathtub scene.

thanks for thinking of the little ones, my friend.

12/02/2005 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Michele said...

To watch p#rn with your spouse may not be "adultery" by the book, but it's sideways because it's not love, it's selfish, caring more about getting off than protecting the ones you need to protect. True love cares about the integrity of the beloved.
Like I said before, s#x is more than just getting satisfaction. It's supposed to be the ultimate expression of love; full disclosure, giving it all. To separate it from true love makes it something creepy. (You know how Indians didn't want their pictures taken because they believed the camera stole their souls? I think the s#x act is something like that. A part of your soul or heart is given. It's more than just bumping bodies. There's something really mystical going on.) This is why people inately, in every culture have laws against having s#x with children, and against r*pe, and often, prostit*tion. We know it's not right to just take someone's body, without love, even if the person is willing.
When folks watch p#rn, there is no love involved. It's all about taking and exploiting because it feels good for awhile. Sure the p#rn star may get kicks doing it, but that doesn't mean it's OK for us to watch her destroy herself. It would be like watching a person do crack or commit suicide and say, "Well, they like doing that!" The married couple that watches together are just training their minds to look elsewhere for satisfaction. Their saying intimacy and full-disclosure isn't unique or important and can be experienced with many, not just one.
True love gives, doesn't only take. It protects and sacrifices. This is why you drive so far to feed Mrs. Z and ZS Jr. Because you love them. You don't want any harm to come to them. As I see it, to encourage anyone we love to watch p#rn, is to take part in their harm. Remember when you were a kid and had toys? Kids could come over and play with a lot of stuff, but you probably always reserved the special things that were valuable to you. Those weren't just for everyone to play with. You didn't want them to get broken, because you treasured them. That's how it should be with our family. We keep them from being exposed to stuff that's going to mess them up and break them, because we love them. They're our treasure.
And that's why I think it's not cool for spouses to watch p#rn together.

12/05/2005 2:55 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Michele - Good points all.

I have to disagree with the spouses thing though. The way I see it, some folks have too much imagination, myself included. I'm always having to feed my head, whether it's a new CD a week or a new DVD.

I won't get into detail about s#x because as I've said, I know a few young 'uns who read this. But I think I have a healthy dose of voye#rism that can safely be channeled.

The thing is, I've never thought about cheating on Mrs. Z, but we still go out and see stripp#rs about once a year. More often when we had money. It's a fantasy.

But then again, I've always defined cheating as the physical act. That's where I differ from former President Jimmy Carter, who was a wonderful man (terrible President, but wonderful man). You may remember him being upset with himself for cheating in his heart.

I think some people have too much drive and it needs to be channeled into something that won't get them in trouble. I really think there's a huge difference between p#rn, seeing a prost#tute, and adultery. Maybe if Bill and Hillary would have watched p#rn together, he wouldn't have cheated on her so many times. Or maybe not, but it's a thought. ;)

12/05/2005 11:08 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Miladysa - Yeah, maybe I just need to see it again.

Dave - You know me. I hate the rating system. I think it's useless. Parents should really see the movie first or go to

12/05/2005 11:16 PM  

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