So, last night we went to the last showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, at the IMAX theatre on Webb Chapel Road in Dallas. We got there just after the 6:35 show started, which meant first, that there were only four people ahead of us in line, and second, that we got to sprawl on the carpeted part of the floor. As I don't own a cloak or Slytherin scarf, and Fuzzy doesn't DO costumes, we didn't dress up. We did bring books. (Mine: Daphne DuMaurier's Jamaica Inn, which I initally read as a young teenager, his: Star Trek the Next Generation: X-Men: Planet X, which is only slightly less cheesey than it sounds.)
By seven-fifteen, the crowd was pretty thick, with lots of adorable ten-year-old girls in Gryffindor garb in evidence, and by eight the line was down the hall to the restrooms, which are in the main cinemaplex building, not the IMAX building. I have to say that the IMAX queue experience is more pleasant than any opening night I've ever been to. You get to wait inside, and since there's only one screen, there are fewer people, and it's almost calm. On the other hand, they make you watch a short film about the IMAX experience in lieu of trailers for new films, and after seeing it once, it gets old. Fast.
As to the movie, I enjoyed it for what it was, but I really wish the scriptwriters kept in all the various subplots, because without two of them, specifically the thread with the twins and the leprechaun gold, and SPEW, what we had was a kid-friendly action film with magical elements, and not a view into a multi-layered fictional realm.
Still, I liked the execution of Mad-Eye Moody's eye and leg, and I really liked the clues offered by certain bits of business – people who knew the plot got them right off, people who didn't would recognize them during the reveal.
I liked that Dan Radcliffe and Rupert Grint are much more in tune with their characters. A lot of Harry's stuff in book four was internal – his thoughts, his reaction, but Radcliffe pulled it off well, especially during the graveyard scene, where you could see fear and resolve in his face. I'm less impressed with Emma Watson's performance, but I recognize that this is because, in eliminating the SPEW thread, they've diminished the character of Hermione. Also, Emma Watson is too cute, so that, while she does look every bit the young girl on her first date during the ball scene, there isn't enough of a contrast.
With regard to the “new” students:
Victor Krum – well played, but almost no lines. Would have liked to see the issues with his pronunciation of “Hermione” on screen.
Cedric Diggory – perfect guy-next-door casting
Fleur DeLaCoeur – no mention of veelas, which lessened the impact of her character.
Cho Chang – Adorable, and her accent is cute.
The Patil twins – are now apparently in the same House, probably because it was just easier for the filmmakers. I'd like to see more of them.
And the “new” adults:
Mad Eye – the ferret scene, the only scene Malfoy's really involved in, was great. Hilarious.
Voldemort – I'm kind of torn. I'm a fan of Ralph Fiennes, but I think there was more he could have done. Still, the makeup is effective, and creepy.
Madam Maxine: Not how I imagined her, but effective. Funny.
With regard to old favorites:
Snape: Never enough Snape. There was no public display of his dark mark, no scene of Dumbledore sending him out to spy. I'd have liked to see that. In the scenes where Snape was present, he barely spoke at all, though Alan Rickman can do more with a single look or gesture than many actors can do with seven pages of dialogue. The study hall scene was brilliant, actually.
McGonnagal: Oh, yes. Dancing with Ron – hilarious. We got to see much more of Minerva in this film, and that was welcome.
Dumbledore: I'm still torn on Gambon as Dumbledore. I don't dislike him, exactly, but I think he's a little more sinister than I really want him to be. On one level, this works, on another, it bugs me. (On a personal note, he's reportedly stated that he has not and will not read the books, only the scripts, and that bugs me a lot. I mean, on one level, I understand it, but…it still irks me.)
Hagrid: Hagrid in love is just too cute for words.
Over all? I enjoyed the film of course, as I've enjoyed the previous three, but without important plot points being made, I'm concerned about how the next film will play, and what else they'll change. That being said, I'm still going to buy the DVD the second it comes out, even though I won't go see it again in a theater (because I just don't do that).