Okay. Let's clear up a few things.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a kid's movie. It's
based on a book for kids. There are many grown-ups who read the
"Harry Potter" novels and believe that they are great literature.
The Masked Reviewer, having flipped through the first book, is forced to
conclude that the grown-ups who go on and on about Harry Potter as
brilliant writing are people who don't read books.
It is truly great that J.K. Rowling has found a way to get people of
all ages interested in reading. People line up at midnight on each
book's release date, and fall over themselves to get a copy.
That's a beautiful thing. Literature should have that effect on
people. And maybe kids will start to appreciate books and there's
absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But...if you're over the age of fifteen (and especially fully grown
adults (and even more especially, fully grown adults who don't have
kids)), you should know this: people will think it's weird and kind of
creepy to hear you go on and on about how great Harry Potter is.
Be particularly mindful of people who actually read regularly.
Going up to your co-workers, who are all members of the book club, and
saying "Hey I read a great book! It's so totally
awesome! It's about this boy wizard and he goes to wizard school
and all kinds of magical things happen. The book is, like, several
hundred pages and I read the whole thing! You should check
it out!" won't impress them.
Granted, those people are probably all in the Oprah book club.
So they don't have much of a leg to stand on, either.
Keep in mind, the Masked Reviewer writes all of this, and he doesn't
read. The Masked Reviewer is practically illiterate.
The source of contention is that Harry Potter isn't brilliant
literature. It's highly derivative of other fantasy books, yet
people talk about it like it's ground breaking and Shakespearean in
quality. If you like Harry Potter, you really ought to keep
reading. There are genuinely good books out there. Really.
Praising Harry Potter as great literature is like praising
Independence Day as great cinema. Can you enjoy it?
Sure. Is it good? No. Although, Independence Day
is a bit too mature for comparison. Maybe a better example would
be Shark Tale. It's got Will Smith. It's got Robert
DeNiro. There are computer graphics, like Toy Story.
But, it's empty and not very good. It's no Finding Nemo.
All that aside, if you like Harry Potter, you have every right.
People like "American Idol", after all...and Paris Hilton has a career.
So, good for you.
Given that you like the books, will you like the movie? That's
really the question, isn't it?
The Masked Reviewer isn't sure of the answer. While the Masked
Reviewer has seen a couple of the Harry Potter films, he hasn't seen all
of them, and he hasn't read all the books. The first thing that's
noticeable is that the kids (Harry, Hermione, and Ron) have all sprouted
up. They look like college students. They're growing like
weeds. They'd better pick up the production pace, or they'll need
to re-title the next film Harry Potter and the Mystery of the
Metamucil. You won't believe the special effects.
If you haven't seen the other films, you might actually be lost at
times. There are characters brought back from other films, and
while you'll understand the gist of things (it's clear who the bad guys
are and who the good guys are, everything is black or white), you may
think people are plopped in at random. Other items, like Harry's
back story, are referred to but not explained and can be a bit puzzling.
People who are rabid fans of the books were heard complaining that the
film doesn't begin to capture the level of detail in the book.
That's the lesson for young people...the films never do justice to the
book. That's why books are good. Oh wait a minute. The
Masked Reviewer is having a change of heart. This site is built on
the review of movies. Not books. Reading is bad! Go
out and see movies!
On the other hand, this site is writing about movies...a
quandary! What to do?
Let's see...the plot is fairly straight forward. There are a lot
of characters, and some of the best actors (like Alan Rickman) are
underused. There are a couple of amusing bits, but not much in the
way of humor.
Of particular note for parents: there are some scary scenes. It
seems a bit dark for young kids. A kid dies (for good!) and lies
there, staring up at the sky. There's a body part that gets hacked
off. There are injuries. And Ron says "piss off". This
isn't the cutesy-wutesy Harry Potter. There are also girls and a
dance. No hardcore sex...but maybe that's coming in the next
installment, Harry Potter and the Enchanted French Tickler.
The special effects are fine. For a movie that relies so
heavily on the effects, there's not much that's new or different, but
then again, that's the major criticism of all the films. The
highlight has to be the cinematography. They did an excellent job
of blending the real world and fantasy world images, but the locations
and swooping helicopter shots are impressive and almost worth the ticket
The worst part about the movie has to be the length. It's about
two-and-a-half hours long. That's too long. There isn't a
lot of pointless fluff...there was just too much content to fit into a
All in all, this seems like a movie geared to teens or pre-teens.
It might be too intense for some kids. It'll also be a big hit
with adults who read Harry Potter books, so they can talk disgustedly
about how the book is so much better. If you're going to brag to
people about how the book was better, pick Pride and Prejudice --
Harry Potter won't impress people. The best part of the movie is
that somewhere, there will be a person who will go to see the movie and
then pretend that they read the book, but they were too lazy.
Don't let it be you.
You can send your hate mail through the feedback button on the web
site. Yeah, the Masked Reviewer knows that a lot of the readers
here are Harry Potter fans. What, do you want the Masked Reviewer
to pander to his audience? Sometimes the truth hurts. It's
for your own good. Reading Harry Potter does not make you an
intellectual or a literature buff! Reading the Masked Reviewer
Expectation from the Title: The chronicles of the hirsute
clay-thrower, and his flaming chalice.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
The kids in this movie grow up so fast! It seems just like
yesterday they were scampering around, without a care in the world.
The Pros: Beautiful cinematography at times. Great
backgrounds. One or maybe two laughs. Acting was fine.
The Cons: It's just another fantasy movie. Things move
forward predictably. It's LOOOOOONG.