Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
—Overview Basic (dial up speed)
—Cast and Crew
What Is Right or What Is Easy?
Grab your Thunderbolts and Nimbus 2000s; you are in for a great ride!
There is always a palpable sense of tension in an audience that is waiting for a new installment in a series of movies. You can almost hear the thoughts grinding: Will this movie be as good as the others before it? Will this movie be better than the others? Will the characters still have chemistry? Will the new characters be well-acted and believable? Will the movie do justice to the book? How on earth will the screenplay adapt itself to a story with so much to tell?
These were questions that I struggled not to be concerned about as I waited for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to begin. Within moments of the opening scenes and dialogue, I knew I had nothing to fear. Steve Kloves again scores hugely with a screenplay that masterfully handles a very large book filled with multiple themes and plot twists. Mike Newell reveals his directorial eye for blocking and composition and a director’s mind that understands the personalities and motivations of his characters. The movie fairly reeks of a cast having a great time making Book Four come to life on the screen!
If you are unfamiliar with the Potter books, you must know that as the series progresses the struggle between good and evil becomes stronger and darker. It is really book four that moves Harry Potter out of the realm of young children’s fantasy literature and demands a more mature audience. The movie is exactly the same and thus draws a PG-13 with good reason. The six-year-old next to me was overcome several times by some pretty frightening images—and the impeccably seamless and masterfully created CGI effects had the most jaded part of even me believing in the reality of dragons and the evil Lord Voldemort. (Someone ought to win an Oscar for make-up; you cannot even see Ralph Fiennes, who portrays the evil lord.)
The themes in this movie are also very mature. Harry is confronted with the age old battle of choosing between what is right and what is easy—something we all must make choices about every day. He is hindered along the way with relationships that are changing, enemies that are persistent, an arch-nemesis increasing in power, and his own misgivings about the whole growing up process and his very real desire to be out of the center of attention.
This all sounds very much like what we all go through on a daily basis. Should the world be given its way? Would it not just be easier to conform to the norms of society and do what is expected or accepted? Why listen to the warnings and instructions contained in an antiquated book, spoken by a “good man” who lived over 2,000 years ago—or any other ancient wisdom, for that matter?
After all, if we believe such things, that belief requires action of some sort. Harry, for his part, must choose whether to acknowledge and battle Voldemort. It would be easier for him, as it is for us, to just walk away or live in denial.
Jesus and the writers of the New Testament spoke often of the narrow road that leads to holiness and the wide gate leading to perdition. As Harry struggles with each challenge of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, he is constantly challenged to choose what is right over what is easy. And, Harry isn’t always one to make the best choice or be perfectly upright. Just as we may struggle to be “in the world, but not of it,” Harry has moments when he chooses not to be noble and gives in to jealousy, revenge, anger, and a definite snuffing of his usually strong moral fiber.
But, in the moments that really matter, Harry chooses the right course over the easy out. It is this constant choosing that constitutes the process of his maturity, as our choices do for us. As the movie ended, I heard a parent ask a child what he thought the moral of the movie was. The boy, who was probably eleven or twelve, said, “It isn’t always easy to do what is right.” Exactly. It isn’t always easy, but the end result is worth the effort.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire signals a call for perseverance and steadfast progress toward mature actions and deeds—something that Jesus called for, too. The cast is maturing, the themes are maturing, and even the theme music has matured into a fully orchestrated blend instead of the tinny tinkle of single notes that began the first three movies.
There is much worth discussing in this movie, especially with mature children who are beginning to attempt to carve out their own individuality and spiritual journeys. It won’t hurt the conversation by the fact that Harry Potter is a teenager struggling with some of life’s hardest questions and realities, too.
—Overview Basic (dial up speed)
—Cast and Crew