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If I were a screenwriter... [Mar. 5th, 2006|03:08 pm]
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This is movies week. The Academy Awards are tonight (I don't think I've watched any of the movies nominated - well, I'm sure Harry Potter was nominated for some type of Science and Technical award but they don't televise those - but I do like to hear the monologues if they're funny) and Goblet of Fire is coming out on Tuesday. I will probably buy it on Wednesday from Wal-Mart (no, this is not a plug for the conglomerate, just that they are usually the cheapest in my area - unless Best Buy or Circuit City has an additional promo to go along with it --but I didn't buy the paper or see any ads :P, so I have no idea if they're giving away a poster or extra dvd with it-- /ramble).

Anyways.. as I was saying before.. this is movies week. :) And as such, I was thinking about how I would have improved or changed Goblet of Fire - if I were a screenwriter, or even a scriptdoctor. I had thought maybe I should just do my own personal "review", but this is basically the same - as I will applaud certain aspects of the movie while criticizing others.

Before I start, let me say I haven't read the book in maybe a year (and I haven't seen the movie since November)... so if my memory / details are fuzzy, jump in and correct me.

First, I liked that they cut:
1. Dobby. He was actually pretty good, in my opinion, in the book, but I am glad they gave his lines / his purpose to Neville. Neville is such an under-used character, and I say "kudos" that they actually gave him something to do. It helps foreshadow his involvement for the next movie.

2. The missing girl from the ministry. Movie-wise (heck, I'd go as far to say book-wise), she didn't help the plot along.

3. SPEW. Cutting the sub-plot, especially if Dobby isn't going to be seen, was smart.

4. The rest of the minor characters (e.g. Lugo), and the Weasley twins' bet

5. The twisted Barty turning into his mother to escape, the mother dying in Azkaban, blah blah blah. I liked how they just simplified it to his father putting him away and his act of revenge on his father.

So, now that I have the positive points out of the way, this is how I would've adapted the book, if I were a screenwriter...

--besides, adding Cho and Cedric to a few scenes by placing them in the background as either talking or holding hands or something, just so the audience sees them even if Harry doesn't--

--besides, giving Ginny more to do as well (JKR wants them to be together, and since she can't rewrite the books, at least the movies can show a bit more character development or something / anything!...)--

--besides, adding a comment from Harry when he's in the pensieve and hears Neville's parents' names. What is it? Two seconds for him to say "Neville?" and narrow his eyes. That would at least explain Neville's reaction to Moody's curse on the spider and help for the next movie (if they keep that and don't edit it out).

1. Riddle Manor and death of groundskeeper -- They did a good job on this, adding Barty Crouch to the scene.

2. CUT out the entire Quidditch World Cup. Yes, I know that cuts Hermione/Ginny glancing over at the handsome Cedric and it cuts Amos' meeting the famous Harry Potter... but plot-wise, those weren't "too" important. Especially since no one accused Harry of casting the Dark Mark in the sky. Yes, it foreshadows the port-key, but the audience already suspends its disbelief by watching the movie in the first place (if they saw Cedric and Harry being transported in the end to the gravesite, I don't think the audience would say 'how did that happen?'. They'd believe it because it's... Harry Potter!).

3. Harry wakes up! because #1 was his dream/nightmare, and finds himself at Hogwarts. Yes, this cuts the meeting-Cho-and-falling-madly-in-love-with-her-at-first-sight train scene, but I think they could meet and he could fall for her later. (Just bear with me, ok?) He's in his bedroom, and Ron, Dean, and Seamus are arguing / having a lively discussion about their favorite Quidditch teams and players. They can "discuss" the Quidditch World Cup (e.g. favorite moves) and there can be a poster of Viktor Krum on the wall (with Viktor flying on his broom, of course, just like in the moving pictures in photo albums).

4. They go downstairs to find the other two schools have arrived. They can use the scene where they see the carriage and ship arrive, just have everyone in school uniform rather than muggle/casual clothes (which I don't think they were wearing on the train to begin with?). Which then will lead to the Great Hall and the announcement of the schools and tournament.

5. Continue the entering tournament, names drawn, Rita Skeeter interview

6. Add (more) schoolmates teasing, wearing the "Harry Potter stinks!" buttons, and then add back the scene where Cho gives Harry his quill. This can be where he falls for her.
"Yeah, that's right. I've just been crying my eyes out over my dead mum, and I'm just off to do a bit more..."
"No--it was just--you dropped your quill."
"Er...good luck on Tuesday. I really hope you do well."

and maybe add a bit where she walks back to her friends who roll their eyes at her, and she says "What? I was just being nice."

7. First task was fine. Although I wish we could've seen the rest of the champions fight their dragons, it was good to edit out time-wise.

8. Harry asking Cho out was fine. As are the Yule Ball, second, and third tasks. I'd keep them the same (again, as I said above, I'd only add Cedric and Cho to the background in #4 and #5, so the audience can suspect and wouldn't be surprised that they are together at the Yule Ball and second task.)

9. CUT Voldemort's dialogue/explanation of why he couldn't touch Harry in the first place, and ADD back Sirius coming to see Harry in the hospital wing and Dumbledore explaining the power of Lily's love. If they cut out the Quidditch World Cup, they might've had enough minutes to use to add Sirius back in. As the movie stands, we only see Sirius once (in the fire), which is not enough (in my opinion) to make it believable that Harry would be shattered when he dies in the next movie. (In the movies, it felt that Harry had a stronger connection to Lupin -due to PoA- than to Sirius; and if Sirius had a bigger part in GoF, the father/son bond would be stronger and more heartbreaking at the end of OoTP.)

10. The ending was okay. A bit bittersweet, but after everything that happened in the movie, we know it can't be a "happy / everything will be okay" type of ending. I don't think I would've changed it (I'm not sure how I would change it).

I think that's about it... "The End."


[User Picture]From: traceria
2006-03-06 12:18 am (UTC)
I agree on most points. :)

I don't think that movie-goers in general would agree with cutting the World Cup. And forseeing the outcry (there were a lot of 'They didn't even show part of the game!' responses as it was), I think I'd keep it in just to placate the public (the guys especially).

But it would have been nice to have that additional piece Harry/Cho interaction, too! And there could have soooo much more Sirius screen time and involvement. I would have loved to see him in the hospital at the end, but then there wasn't even a hospital scene at all!

Eh...I'll still be watching it Tuseday night with my friend. ;D
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[User Picture]From: jadeites_lady
2006-03-06 12:27 am (UTC)
I know - they weren't happy with PoA cutting most of the quidditch games too, but since they didn't even show the world cup game or the veelas or anything really 'important', that's why I said they should've just cut it.

I really wanted the hospital scene! and I think that even had Snape in it (Snape & Sirius agreeing to be civil for once).
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[User Picture]From: traceria
2006-03-06 12:35 am (UTC)
Yeah, Snape was definitely there! That would have been great to see! Dumbledore's such a peacemaker in that scene, I don't know that Michael G. would have been able to pull it off in the same way the actual book scene feels.

I'd almost completely forgotten about the complete lack of Quidditch in the PoA movie. I loved that one if only for the introduction to the Mauraders and for its tone and feel. It would have been awesome to see Gryffindor win the cup...and Oliver all gung-ho and beside himself when they win. :D
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[User Picture]From: jadeites_lady
2006-03-06 04:38 am (UTC)
If they could go back and re-do PoA, I would've loved to see Gryffindor win the cup too (and of course, Sean is easy on the eyes ;). But they cut that out, and Cho, and Cedric -and even mentioning that it was Hufflepuff who beat them when Harry fell from the sky. *shrug* What can you do?
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[User Picture]From: smammers
2006-03-06 04:08 am (UTC)
I personally hated they way they changed the whole Barty Crouch story.

The other thing I hated was the fucking hedges eating everybody. What was that? No sphinx? No crazy enchantments? Just... man-eating hedges?

I don't agree with you on a lot of the things that were cut out, because I'm one of those people who wants an eight-hour, line-for-line movie. I think the only change that I liked was Neville giving Harry the information about gillyweed, and maybe Snape smacking Harry and Ron upside the heads.
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[User Picture]From: jadeites_lady
2006-03-06 04:36 am (UTC)
oh- of course, I'd love an 8 hour version with everything in it. My "edit" on it would be for the 2-2.5 hr version, because obviously you can't have everything in a shorter version. Basically, I would've traded the world cup for the hospital scene. And as movies simplify everything - that's why I liked the Barty Crouch Jr. explanation. It would have been 'too complicated' to put the entire dad-mom-Azkaban in the movie (they wouldn't have done it justice if they tried to squeeze it for 5 minutes).

and I forgot about the 3rd task. you're definitely right on that. It could have been better - with more obstacles/monsters/spells for them to fight. And I didn't like the Cedric/Harry "you take it" and they grab it together so quickly (no arguing back and forth before deciding 'together').
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[User Picture]From: smammers
2006-03-06 05:58 am (UTC)
Really, I think it's unfair of them to squeeze HP into a movie under 3 hours long. Look how long LOTR was! People went to see that (and I almost made it through without having to leave to pee)!
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[User Picture]From: jadeites_lady
2006-03-06 03:23 pm (UTC)
LOL... true, LOTR is about 3 hours long (not including the extra extended 20 min or so footage you get on the dvds). I hate to play devil's advocate, but maybe the directors thought: since LOTR is geared towards an older audience, it can take the risk of being longer; while HP has to keep the attention span of children, and as children's movies run usually shorter (e.g. 90 minutes vs 120 minutes), 2.5 hours was already pushing it.
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