Saturday, 19 May 2018

A No-Maj Ponders Potter: The Goblet of Fire

Have you missed my godson's journey through the Harry Potter films? Well, today he's back at it again with his review of the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)!

Unlike the previous chapters, this movie doesn't start with Harry being the victim of mistreatment in his uncles' house. Instead, we find ourselves with an old man trying to enter an abandoned house. Probably a homeless friend of Professor Lupin and Sirius Black. When he manages to get inside, he encounters that balding and very clumsy rat-man talking to someone sitting in an armchair. The only thing we could see form the person resting in the armchair was a skeletal hand poiting with his finger, recognized by all movie lovers. Shortly after this, the character notices the presence of the homeless and, instead of offering him coffee and cookies, shoots him a spell. I would never say that E.T. didn't enjoy guests.

Harry Potter and Ron are woken up by Hermione in a hovel they must have rented. Oh, well... Teenagers are like this, they rebel against their families and go live in herds. They pick their housing according to their degree of drug addiction: small apartments next to universities for the sporadic users, hippy wagons for the usual consumer and houses in ruins for the most serious cases. Drugs and summer festivals are the top pastimes of teenagers, and Harry's group is ready to go to a festival when they meet the Twilight vampire. Turns out he's playing the stud-role, judging the way Hermione looks (there's no need for that, we all know he ends up with Bella Swan). By now, you should know my opinion about characters who play a stud-role: I always suspect that they're malicious or that they hide secrets. I will watch Edward Cullen's behavior with suspicion. The main signs that tell us we have reached teenhood are long hair, sleeping till noon, drug usage and attendance at festivals. No doubt that Harry Potter, his friends and the other people who walk behind them (I think it's Ron's family) meet all these requirements.

But, fortunately, adolescence gives us as much as it takes from us, and Harry has acquired a bit of responsibility. After a fire at the festival they travel by train to Hogwarts because holidays are very nice but studies come first. During the trip, a lady walks past with a cart full of sweets, just like the ones Harry bought in the first movie. Ron buys some things and Harry was already ready to buy the whole cart when a girl anticipates herself and gets some candy. I don't know whether it's because he has gained some economic sense or because he likes to buy things before they are opened by other people, Harry ends up not buying the whole candy cart. At Hogwarts, Dumbledore announces that they will host the Triwizard Tournament, where three schools meet and compete with a student in a game involving three tasks. The director of one of them, Madame Maxime, is a giant and only there to distract Hagrid, throughout the film, who doesn't realise that it's a disguise to destroy his heart. It's certainly Voldemort's ploy to prevent Hagrid from helping Harry: being always around her, Hagrid won't remember that Harry might need help. Then a drunken man with a strange eye comes in and starts firing spells everywhere.

The singing up method for the competition is confusing and no wonder it will later give problems. Whoever wishes to register must fill out their application, which is nothing more than their name on a piece of paper and throw it into the fire. When the contestants are chosen, Harry is among them and no one's happy about it. Personally, I think it's the way they made the students to sign up. Hogwarts goes ahead with two candidates while each of the other schools only has one. In the first task, Harry runs away from a dragon to fly on a broom until the animal flies against a bridge and he manages to steal his egg. In the second, more complicated, Harry eats some spinach that gives him fins and lets him breathe under water. I'm not sure if this shouldn't have been considered dopping, since his opponents only had a shark mask, air bubble and I'm not even sure about the other one. The third and final test is a maze in which Harry Potter, boasting himself, even launches fireworks before victory. After winning he's transported to the presence of Voldemort where they fight a semi-epic battle, given that he flees halfway.

About the characters in this saga:

At the beginning we only see a skeletal hand and a stretched finger so we conclude that this time Voldemort is masked as E.T. At the end of the movie the rat man mercilessly shoots a baby into a boiling cauldron and adds Harry Potter's blood and a bone. From this mix a sort of fish with legs is born, saying he is Voldemort but I don't believe it. During the saga we were following Voldemort's preference for bald heads, so it's no surprise to anyone that the fish it's said he has turned into is also bald. When I was younger, I was offered a toy, apparently made of plastic figures. Playing time consisted in immersing these dolls in water and, as if by magic, within a while, they became jelly dolls several times larger than the original ones. I confess I've never experimented with a Dark Lord but I have to take my hat off to Peter Pettigrew for the idea. Then this legged fish duels with Harry Potter but he manages to escape.

They say he's a great wizard but so far he hasn't been able to do much. At lighting up and extinguishing candles he's the greatest but when it comes to defeating enemies, he leaves a lot to be desired. Both he and Snape are very weak, doing only the most basic spells. If they don't improve quickly they will take serious risks in the next films, moreover now that the fish that killed the vampire is quite strong and will soon get inside Hogwarts. I think Dumbledore is out of energy and should think about retirement. At some point he starts taking out of his hair a few strands of spaghetti and puts them in a pot, he looks in and says that he is remembering things... I seriously don't think he's in good shape, he's a nice person, yes, but we need someone more suitable.

I confess that I distrusted this boy early in the movie, but after all he's a decent guy. It's urgent to appeal against the prejudices towards vampires, as he could totally be in the sunlight and didn't see him bite anyone. He even helped Harry Potter in the triward competition.

Hermione and Ron
They finally gained some personality and left Harry alone. This kept them from getting into trouble. Earlier, I had warned that if this didn't happen, they would all die because of Harry's foolish ideas. Fortunately they gained some sense and stayed unarmed.

He's a drunk guy who appears firing up his wand in the air, killing spider and to turning students into weasels. Throughout the entire film he's been hanging on to the alcohol. Note that he's a very powerful wizard and helps Harry Potter on several occasions. When his drink finishes, he starts to bubble until he turns into the son of the Head of the Department of International Cooperation in Magic, a friend of Voldemort's, as he'd been seen in one of Dumbledore's spaghetti. The real Moody is inside an ark. I don'tt know if the real Moody is going to stay at Hogwarts but I do not think so.

As my final thoughts, with some cheating involved, the school of Hogwarts got the trophy. I confess that at this point I expected more powerful spells from the "good ones." The "bad guys" have very good and strong spells, while Hogwarts only seems to teach how to light up the tip of a magic wand. If the teachers think that they're going to beat the great Lord of black magic with Expelliarmus and Wingardium Leviosa they are well deceived.

Don't miss out on his next review on the Order of Phoenix! If you haven't read the previous ones so far, you can find them over here:

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