Constant vigilance

Thursday, 15 September 2005 — 12:12pm | Adaptations, Film, Harry Potter, Literature

Keeping in mind that I’m not a stickler for correspondence to source material when it comes to movies adapted from books – relatively speaking, anyhow – I have a few observations to point out regarding the new Goblet of Fire trailer. Like a lot of trailers for big franchise movies that are near enough to release that most of the effects work is done, it shows everything – so if you don’t want to see everything from Hermione’s pink ball gown (yes, it’s pink here and not blue) to Lord Voldemort himself, avert your eyes.

First of all, the tombstone in the graveyard scene has been fixed. Early promotional images such as this one revealed an egregious error – that is, the presumption that Tom Marvolo Riddle’s dead father was also named Tom Marvolo Riddle, which was from the outset more improbable than the transfiguration of a pair of missiles into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias, and then flatly contradicted by events critical to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Near the end of this trailer there are a few shots from the resurrection in the graveyard (like I said, it shows everything), and the inscription has been corrected.

Much more irritating than anything else – and I suspect this will end up being my greatest annoyance with the finished product when I see it in November – is Dumbledore’s butchered pronunciation of “Beauxbatons”, which is similar to how they pronounce “Baton Rouge” in the drawl of the former Confederate states. Seriously, William the Conqueror died for this? Oh well – I suppose they already neglected to drop the silent T in “Voldemort”, so all bets are off. Now we’ll just have to deal with the premise that a Bulgarian kid learns how to enunciate Hermione’s name but the only one You-Know-Who ever feared stumbles over his French after a century of practice. What would really be upsetting is if the francophone characters do the same.

Like Cuaron’s flying Iceman Dementors in The Prisoner of Azkaban, there are a lot of neat visual inventions on display – Mad-Eye Moodyvision, Sirius Black speaking in the form of the embers in the fire instead of a disembodied head (which makes me wonder what will be done if they keep the scene of Umbridge fumbling about for his presence in Phoenix), and the rippling Jumbotron at the Quidditch World Cup, to name a few. I can see plenty of dynamism befitting the scope of the tale, a pulse that was sorely lacking in the Columbus films. Now that we have a pretty clear idea of the look of the film, the big question mark is the pace.

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