Nov 30, 2005

Goblets and Games: my Mini-reviews of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Zathura

We splurged and saw not one, but two movies this weekend. Both were very enjoyable and I definitely wanted to give them the nod.

Firstly, Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire. My 9-yr-old son and I both thoroughly enjoyed this film. My impression was that this fourth movie was a much more successful attempt at capturing the captivating content of the wonderful book than the third movie. Between the two, I'm a bigger fan of the story from Prisoner of Azkaban. However, the Azkaban movie failed to explain and immerse the audience in many of the ultimately more important aspects of the continuing story.

In any case, even though Goblet of Fire still seemed almost rushed at times to cram as much of the written content into 2.5 hours as possible, the creators did a better job of capturing the book. Whether you've read the book or not, be sure to catch this one. It is a visual treat, and the theater-scale presentation is well worth the price of admission.

My whole family also caught a showing of Zathura this weekend (yes we're spoiled, but hey I work for it). I must say up front that I was not excited to see this movie. I was really jonzing for Harry Potter, but both Heather and Zack insisted. I'm very glad they did.

I'd been under the impression that Zathura was going to be a rehash of Jumanji set in space. I'm not a great fan of Jumanji, although one can't overlook its visual merit. I was quite mistaken. Same premise - some children find a board game with incredible powers to transport and transform - but this movie was flawlessly executed. Zathura was most certainly one of the best movies I've seen this year.

The film has that early-80's-Spielberg-like ability to transport oneself back into the mind of a child - to again see the world from a child's eyes. The adventure is charming, magical, and wondrous - like Christmas morning, but as a pseudo-pulpy space adventure. Take your kids to see this movie. If you don't have kids, go to see this movie anyway - the thoroughly captivated children sitting with you will be yourself and your companions.

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