I’m going to kick things off with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As a Potter fan, I could hardly contain my excitement when this one came out.
I was in boarding school at the time and the dorm master refused me permission to leave campus to go and catch the flick in town.
With just under two hours to go until show time, I panicked and cornered the Spanish teacher in a corridor, begging her to accompany a group of friends and I to the cinema.
I guess she could see the look of desperation in my eye and she later on confessed that she would have done anything to skip the staff meeting that evening, but with twenty minutes until the film started, including the trailers and other commercials, I was practically bouncing up and down in the mini van as the traffic just would not budge!
We finally made it just in time for the opening credits, and my eyes remained glued to the screen right up until the very end.
Beautiful shots of Hogwarts during the dragon chase, Nicholas Hooper’s haunting score and Jeff Rawle’s heart-wrenching shriek towards the end of the film still did little to fill the void that appeared after the flick was over.
The main things that could have been done better, according to me, were:
1) Lord Voldemort. He just wasn’t scary enough (more details below).
2) Quidditch World Cup. I was really looking forward to this scene, but it felt rushed and anticlimactic, not to mention there was no Ludo Bagman or Winky the House Elf.
3) The Third Task. Not enough action, apart from a forceful gale and a possessed Victor Krum. Could have had some other creatures, maybe the Sphinx, something else to make it more challenging.
4) Voldemort’s rise. This should have been a moment that would live on in our hearts forever, but it fell well short of the mark. Again, Voldemort just didn’t have that fright factor, and the Death Eaters looked lame just standing around. The scene should have been a lot more imposing and threatening to back Rawle’s scream of anguish afterwards.
There were bits and pieces in between that could have been added or removed to make the story flow better, but those were the four main points I would address.
Below are two sample pieces that serve as examples of what I would have done differently if I were the screenwriter. I have reworked the intro scene and a part of the Quidditch World Cup.
Mysterious music and a gritty logo foreshadowing the times of doom to come. The book pretty much started in the same way, so not much to complain about there.
I still think that the identity of Barty Crouch junior should have been kept a secret, meaning he did not have to be there in the very first scene.
The book also made this scene feel so much darker and eerie. I felt as though Voldemort sounded slightly comical maybe it was because he spoke too fast. A slow, venomous voice would have really done the trick. Wormtail, on the other hand, came off just fine with his hesitancy and stuttering.
This is something that could have been improved more on the director’s part, not much in terms of script. I do understand that every minute on screen counts, but it wouldn’t hurt to make this scene more suspenseful and give it a little more texture. That’s the way I would have envisioned the opening scene, but each to her own as they say.
The movie progressed fairly quickly, skimming through the Quidditch World Cup and touching down at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Again, I felt as though there wasn’t enough “atmosphere” at the World Cup, leaving me to wonder how they were planning on doing a dark story for families.
The third film pulled this off pretty well. There was that creepy scene in the train with the dementor, but it was balanced out by the funny Aunt Marge scene at the beginning and the talking head on the Knight Bus.
Back to Goblet, the World Cup scene in the book was a real turning point, but not only did the film leave out Ludo Bagman and Winky the House Elf, they also managed to make it less menacing than it should have been.
Maybe the budget didn’t allow for them to cast a Ludo Bagman or to animate a Winky the House Elf, but those were two characters that, to me, defined the events to come. Winky saving a seat acting on Barty Crouch Junior’s orders, for example, and Ludo stealing Fred and George’s money during a bet, paying them back with Leprechaun Gold which later became the whole reason why Harry gave the twins his winnings from taking first prize in the tournament (Which wasn’t even mentioned in the movie). The whole thing with the Veela and Leprechaun’s was passed over as well.
I would have gone for something like this:
Yes, it is 7 minutes long, but it is an important scene to have in my opinion. I would have that instead of that ridiculous scene when Dumbledore’s addressing the students and Fudge comes stumbling in, running awkwardly to Dumbledore and then stumbling back to the entrance. A wasted minute if you ask me.
Well there you have it, my first review with a twist, including two sample scenes I’d have done differently. Again, it’s each to her own, and this is just what I think, but for what it was worth I did enjoy the film.