PG-13, and I'm kind of glad. The Harry Potter movies get creepier the further you go into the series. I heard something along the lines of J.K. Rowling's attitude towards her series. Harry's age is the appropriate age for each story. Harry's gettin' up there by this point, so the maturity level should be reflected. Kids die in this one. There's talk of torture and death throughout. The bad guys are also excessively creepy, including the Doctor. A well-earned PG-13.
DIRECTOR: Mike Newell
No surprise, the blog is dying. I tailored it for years to a Catholic audience and now I'm not in the group anymore. There was a surge in readership once I got booted as a show of solidarity. But that was a couple of weeks ago and now the counter is on life support. I have to tell myself that the blog was never for other people. But I did have a regular readership. I have to find a way to A) get out of Facebook jail and B) find a new way to promote this page without being able to write the URL. Whoever reported me to Facebook, I'm not a fan of you.
And this is where I make all of the enemies. I have to say that I couldn't wait to write about this one. I am the terrible example of the self-fulfilling prophecy. When Harry Potter hit it big, I loved being above such things. I hate this attitude today. Don't be above anything. I now try to give things honest shots. If I don't like it, that's something else. But I try giving everything a fair shake. But considering that everyone loved Harry Potter, I wanted to be the elitist turd who thought it was dumb. But my students all loved Harry Potter. So I made them a deal. If they all did well on their final projects, I would read the Harry Potter books. Sure enough, they all crushed it and I read all of them. Now, my takeaway is that the books are bloated and really repetitive, but the mythology stuff in Harry Potter is actually pretty darned good. But I always held, and still do, that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a travesty, despite the fact that people like it so much.
Before I go any deeper, I have to whine about the 2 hour 40 minute runtime. My daughter and I have tried watching this movie over and over again. She loves this book. I'm not going to take that away from her. But I get upsettingly bored watching this movie. We finished it on the third attempt together. I mentioned that Rowling padded out her novels and Goblet of Fire is definitely a part of that. One of the major side threads in the story is that Ron and Harry are on the outs for a part of this story. Now, I get that characters need to evolve, but there's very little that ties the themes of broken friendship with the primary plot. Really, these characters are in disagreement because it is simply added conflict. But I love when the internal conflict is directly tied to the external conflict. Because there is no purpose to the internal conflict, it has a really hard time giving the majority of the film purpose. When I say that Harry Potter stories are full of filler, it's this stuff. Perhaps it is meant to tie Harry to the human stories of the average teenager, coupled with a dash of magic here and there.
The boredom that I get from the movie comes from the fact that it is overy bloated, despite an appearance from David Tennant. I've spouted off to my class about this before. I actually had a student, one who just graduated, write me a letter about how wrong I was regarding this theory. Now that he can Facebook friend me, there's a real good chance that he'll see this and write something epic in response. But the movie doesn't work. It has that problem that I talked about in my Gone Girl essay: everything is part of the villain's master plan, regardless of how absurd that entire concept is. The story really starts with Harry's name coming out of the titular Goblet of Fire. He's too young to be in the game. It's part of the rules. Harry insists that he didn't put his name into the Goblet of Fire (why wouldn't Ron believe that, by the way?). The fact that Harry's name pops out of that would come down to Dumbledore. It's not like they're going to enslave Harry for choosing not to be part of an absurd set of games that murder kids. (That's something that we should probably all think about. Every single one of these games seems to want to kill kids. Why is the wizarding world so great?) A lot of Voldemort's plan rested on the fact that Dumbledore would go against better judgment and force Harry to participate. What if Dumbledore just said, "No. This is clearly against the rules and it seems like Harry really doesn't want to be involved." That would be the end of the story. But let's say that, like it happens here, that Dumbledore ignores all logic and common sense and lets the story play out the way that it does.
The plan, according to Dumbledore, is that Harry is going to participate in these competitions against all odds. The other players are the best of the best from their schools. Harry is underage and has never even heard of the Tri-Wizard tournament or whatever it is. He's not been training for it. He's outclassed in every way when it comes to this. Voldemort's logic is that he's going to help him win these amazing and over-the-top feats of wizardry by placing Barty Crouch, Jr. into his life to help him get the competitive edge. But as we see throughout these events, it would still take the most amazing wizard to survive these events, let alone win even with help. Harry's almost completely vaporized by a dragon. Is that part of Voldemort's plan? I mean, Barty Crouch, Jr. helps him out in small ways. How is he going to ensure that Harry would win. He shouldn't win. Rowling and the storytellers remind us that there's no logical reason why Harry should keep winning these events. This is no more confirmed than by the fact that Harry and Cedric Diggory touch the cup at the same time. How do you iron out the edges of that? Harry and Cedric touching the cup at the same time shows how insane this whole plot is? The odds on that happening are astronomically small. It really should be Cedric who portkeys to Voldemort, much to everyone's confusion. There are so many places where this story could fail that it is absurd that the events play out the way that they do.
And this is where the story should be over in five seconds. Are you ready? Take into all that I've just said and realize: anything can be a portkey. There's specific instructions about this in the movie. The movie starts off with the portkey being an innocuous object. Why make the hardest thing in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to touch the portkey? Why not have Mad Eye Moody / Barty Crouch, Jr. just ask Harry for a pen when he's teaching all kinds of secret stuff? "Hey Harry, hand me that pen." Poof! Harry Potter delivered to Voldemort COD. My student argued that it had to be done secretly, so no one would know that Harry was taken by Voldemort. He also argues that you can't do certain kinds of magic on Hogwart's grounds. Well, there are a ton of solutions for that too. Why not do it during the summer? The Dursey's house is full of stupid stuff happening that's illegal in the wizarding world. What about at the tavern where the kids all get drunk on butterbeer? That place seems great. Harry also takes angsty walks, like, all the time. To have this complex set of adventures that all lead to Harry, despite every odd in the book, touch a trophy that, for all intents and purposes, shouldn't be able to touch, is silly.
When I point to why I'm not obsessed with Harry Potter, a lot of it can be chalked up to the frustrations I have with the plot. If it was interesting character development over a stupid plot, I could probably forgive the movie pretty well, like I do with Star Trek Into Darkness. After all, David Tennant is one of the big bad guys. It also introduces the formal idea of Death Eaters. The world is pretty intense in this one. The one thing that the movie probably does right is foreshadow a war very nicely. Instead of happy-go-lucky wizarding world, we get some scary stuff. I'm happy to be a muggle after seeing some of the events of this movie. But ultimately, the setting isn't enough to get me to like a really long movie that is phenomenally dumb plotwise. Again, you like it? Keep it. It's yours and I never want to take it away from you.
Because that's the thing: every franchise has garbage. Well, the MCU has things that are less great. This movie really rubs me the wrong way, but it shouldn't rub you the wrong way. I do want to make people aware that the story REALLY doesn't work . But why should that matter? If you like it, you like it. I just...really don't.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.