16/12/2005

HARRY POTTER 4 (your so unfair!)


I settled back with popcorn and a plethora of screaming children, whose fervor could only be hushed by the opening credits. They awaited the fourth flick in the series with a sigh as the inevitable half way point in the saga of Potter and Co was about to start.

This fourth is by far the longest and most adult of all the episodes thus released, and manages to capture the teen angst and nightmarish feelings of Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts. Mike Newell has a tough-minded take on the book's magical mythos which could have been predicted by studying his gritty works. Gone is the childlike adventure that Alfonso Cuaron previously provided, and in, is the gothic styled darkness that pushes this adventure forward swiftly.

The story is much like all the others we have experienced in the fantasy adventure series, Boy wizard and friends overcome odds to make right what once went wrong and make the next leap, the leap home (?)…. Voldermort (the series villain) uses one more of his seemingly inifinite lives to reappear and influence the world around him, this time against the back drop of the Tri-Wizard tournament.
It must have been a feat to not anger fans, one imagines. The fourth book in the Potter series was War and Peace like in content, and surely much was lost, to make the fourth film fit into a decent running time. ( still nearly three hours !)

The cast are more than adequate, even the choice of Michael Gambon’s slight Irish accent is a knowing nod to the previous cast that some may have missed. It is true that Daniel Radcliffe and Co are settled into the roles, and for the moment (until puberty really hits) seem to be aging well with the characters. If I had to pick one, the stand out performance is from Brendan Gleeson, whose casting as Mad Eye Murphy is inspired.

The special effects are wonderful as one expects these days, both the epic set pieces; through to the insular classroom spell that marks the end of a spider’s life.This is a transitional film, although it is a testament it could be watched alone without too much knowledge of the previous films in the series. Great family fun, with some nice touches that will keep the older of us entertained.

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