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2005...another year for Harry Potter

Ah 2005, what a year it was for movies and my favorite franchises.

In May of that year, we got to see Anakin Skywalker finally become Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which we'd thought be the final chapter in George Lucas' Star Wars Saga.  Batman returned to the big screen for the first time in 8 years with a Christopher Nolan reboot, Batman Begins.  We got a live-action Fantastic Four film with Jessica Alba as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman. We got a Chronicles of Narnia movie with the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe being the first chapter of the series. But more importantly, we got to see my favorite Harry Potter book, the Goblet of Fire adapted to the big screen.

The time between the release of the Prisoner of Azkaban in the summer of 2004 and the Goblet of Fire in the fall of 2005 had felt like a long time to my 9/10-year-old self. You can bet I had been longing to see a new Harry Potter film, especially after I read this book below:

I got this book at Wal-Mart shortly after I finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and began reading it very urgently. At the time, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to finish this book because it was over 700 pages long and I had never read a book so long in my life. When I first read the Goblet of Fire, it took me awhile to get engrossed into the plot and understand what was going on. This book took a lot longer for the gang to get to Hogwarts than the last three books.

But eventually, I fully grasped what was going on in the book and what happened in the beginning. And when I finished it, I loved it even more than the previous books and considered it the best in anyway possible and it has since been my favorite novel of the Harry Potter series.

In this book, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are no longer kids anymore and they began to act more mature as they get further into their teenage years, which makes sense considering they are entering their fourth year at Hogwarts. It marks the perfect transition where we enter into a more serious, darker and in-depth story in the Harry Potter series and leaves us on a cliffhanger that makes you beg for more.

The hype for the Half-Blood Prince:

2005 was also the year that J. K. Rowling would release the sixth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The book was published on July 16, 2005. I remember all the hype surrounding the book during that summer before it was released. All the bookstores in my town were throwing Harry Potter Midnight Parties the night that the Half-Blood Prince came out.

I was excited, yet felt left out that I couldn't go to any of the parties because I was about to read the fifth book at the time and was one entry behind. I didn't read the book until 2006 after I got it for Christmas.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book):

Right around the time the Half-Blood Prince came out is when I got Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and began reading it. Even though the book was 870 pages long and longer than the Goblet of Fire, it didn't take me as long to finish the Order of the Phoenix as it did the previous book.

When I first read this book at 10-years old, I loved it and even considered it better than the fourth book. Like every Harry Potter fan, I was absolutely devastated when I find out Sirius Black died at the end. But that was when I was 10-years old when my reading comprehension skills weren't anywhere near as good as they are today. Now after reading the fifth book again after 12 years of reading it the first time, I found it far less enjoyable than I did when I first read it, and consider Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to be my least favorite book in the series. I don't dislike it, nor do I dislike any of the Harry Potter books, I just considered this book to be a step down from the Goblet of Fire. So, I'll get into the reasons why.

For one thing, the book has a slow start and takes even longer for the gang to get to Hogwarts than the previous book. The story starts off where Harry is back at Privet Drive with the Dursleys. He ends up catching Dudley hanging out with his friends. Soon Dudley's friends scatter home and Harry catches up with him to make fun of him. Dudley makes fun of him back by bringing up the events that happened at Hogwarts last year. Harry gets angry and threatens him with his wand and then everything goes dark. So, they make a way towards a tunnel until they both get attacked by Dementors. For self-defense, Harry produces a Patronus to make the Dementors go away. When Harry gets home, he finds he is expelled for his actions until he finds that his explosion is held off for a hearing at the Ministry of Magic.

What I didn't like about this book was how unlikeable Harry could be at times and how ignorant and arrogant Cornelius Fudge (the Minister of Magic) acted in this book about the rise of Lord Voldemort and how unwilling he was able to trust Harry and Professor Dumbledore, when they were both stating the truth. In the previous books, Fudge always took a liking to Harry, but for some reason at the end of the Goblet of Fire, he begins treating him like a liar and a wierdo as if he hated him from the beginning. I HATED Professor Umbridge as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and hated how she took over the whole school of Hogwarts. I found the whole plot about Hagrid missing school for two months pointless and it was only repeating what happened in the previous book. In the end, it was basically just the selfishness and carelessness of the Ministry of Magic, everyone at Hogwarts, and nearly everyone in the wizarding world that caused the death of Harry Potter's godfather and Voldemort to escape again.

Overall, I thought some things should have been left out for the sixth book so that it could have been a little shorter and felt less like a chore for me to read it. I'm not ashamed to say I enjoyed the film adaption more than the book.

The hype for the Goblet of Fire film adaption:

The hype for the Goblet of Fire between the end of the summer and the fall of 2005 was HUGE. It was the definitely the most hyped I had ever been for any of the Harry Potter movies especially considering this would be the first Harry Potter film I would be seeing in theaters.

I remember looking through magazine sections at places like Wal-Mart, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, and Kmart (yes people still shopped at Kmart back in 2005) looking for movie magazines that gave new information about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I wanted to see any new pictures I could find of the film. I wanted to know more information about the guy who would be playing Lord Voldemort. Seeing Lord Voldemort in this film was the thing I was definitely most excited about. I was dying to see how the graveyard scene would be done in live-action.

That fall, I got this Nickelodeon Magazine with Daniel Radcliffe on it that discussed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and gave some inside scoops on the new Harry Potter film. It was very informative and very cool to have. I wish Nickelodeon Magazines were still being made.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Trading Cards:

Anyone remember these Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Trading Cards that sold in stores? I sure do!

I remember seeing packets and boxes of these cards all over the place in stores like Wal-Mart or Target. They were released a little before the film came out to tie in with the Goblet of Fire. I never collected them, but I thought they looked cool to own.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Film):

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire finally came out in theaters on November 18, 2005. Alfonso Cuarón did not return to direct this movie and was instead replaced by director, Mike Newell. John Williams, who composed the first three Harry Potter films did not return either to compose the Goblet of Fire score and was instead replaced by Patrick Boyle.

When I finally saw this movie in theaters on Thanksgiving weekend that year, I freaking LOVED it. I thought it was a huge step up in every way from the first three films and was easily the best film in the Harry Potter series at the time. I thought the action, special effects, visuals and music were a huge improvement over the previous movie and were all at their best in the Goblet of Fire.

And after watching it all the way through after over a decade, I find it still holds up really well and it is still my favorite film in the series. But, I do notice some big differences from the book and the film adaption as an adult. After rereading the book, it was hard for me to ignore all the changes they made and all the things they left out in order to keep an appropriate running time for the film.

The biggest changes that annoyed me were:

- Cutting out the Dursleys.
- Cutting out Harry meeting Bill and Charlie Weasley.
- Cutting out Ludo Bagman.
- Not even showing the Quidditch World Cup.
- Cutting out Dobby, Winky, and the House-elves.
- Cutting out Sirius Black's meeting with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
- Not letting Barty Crouch Jr. explain why he did what he did and how Voldemort came back to life.
- Cutting out Sirius Black meeting Harry again after Voldemort returned.
- Cutting out Cornelius Fudge's heated argument with Albus Dumbledore about whether or not Voldemort had really came back in the hospital wing.

I know they couldn't get every single little detail into the film, but I think the things above could have helped casual Harry Potter fans and the movie going audience understand the story much more if they had been included.

The Plot:

The film begins in a dream by Harry where Frank Bryce overhears Lord Voldemort's plans to return. Frank finds him sitting him in a chair discussing his plans with Peter Pettigrew and another man. After Voldemort sees him, he kills him and the dream ends with Hermione waking up Harry in his bed at the Burrow.

Harry then heads with the Weasleys between Ireland and Bulgaria to attend the Quidditch World Cup. After the game, a group of Death Eaters terrorise the spectators, and the man who appeared in Harry's dream summons the Dark Mark (although Harry doesn't know this).

At Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore introduces ex-Auror Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. He also announces that the school will host the legendary event known as Triwizard Tournament, in which three magical schools compete against each other in a very deadly competition by facing three extremely dangerous challenges.

The Goblet of Fire selects the "champions" to take part in the competition: Cedric Diggory of Hufflepuff representing Hogwarts, Viktor Krum representing the Durmstrang Institute from Eastern Europe, and Fleur Delacour representing Beauxbatons Academy of Magic from France.

Then the Goblet unexpectedly chooses a fourth champion: Harry Potter. Shocked and confused, Dumbledore is unable to pull the underage Harry out of the tournament, as the Ministry official Barty Crouch Sr. insists that the champions are bound by a contract, and therefore, Harry has to compete. Harry has to find out a way to survive and pass all three tasks in order to win the Tournament.

Brendan Gleeson's Mad-Eye Moody:

Brendan Gleeson plays Harry's fourth Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Mad-Eye Moody, and might I say that he did an excellent job playing the character. Not only did he nail the role, but he looked exactly how I pictured Professor Moody in the book.

I also loved the character of Moody and liked how he was always there to aid Harry during the Tournament. You could really see the connection he had with Harry and how he was on his side...but of course, we all find out that isn't the case..

Ralph Fiennes' Lord Voldemort:

And of course, who didn't love Ralph Fiennes' take on Harry's archenemy, Lord Voldemort?

You won't find a better man to play the Dark Lord than this man. When I first saw Voldemort in human form in the graveyard scene in theaters back in 2005, I was so excited. He perfectly nailed the unhuman balding evil menace with no nose and brought a presence to himself like no other cast member of the series had done at this point.  The final battle he has at the end with Harry is excellent as well and marks as a very iconic moment in the series.

David Tennant's Barty Crouch Jr.:

And who better to play Barty Crouch Jr. than the man who played the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who, David Tennant? His performance in the trial scene at the Ministry with Karkaroff left a good impression on me, so you can't imagine how I felt when Moody finally turned into Barty Crouch Jr.

So which do I like better: the book or the movie? It's a hard choice to make because I love both equally and their both my favorites of the books and movies.

But I'd have to pick the book just because I read it first and because of the things the film left out and completely ignored from the book. But Hermione sure was right about one thing at the end of the film:

"Everything is about to change isn't it?"

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