Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Movie Review (***1/2)

(Originally posted on i-Pocalypse.com on 11-21-05)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has been, hands down, my favorite book of the series to this point. The story follows Harry through his fourth year at Hogwart’s. It also follows Harry through his fourteenth year of life. In this fourth and fourteenth year, respectively, Harry’s world opens up a little wider. Hogwart’s has been chosen as the location for the Tri-Wizard tournament. An inter-school competition in which three schools each enter a champion from their student body and compete in three challenges (all of them dangerous) to see who takes the title. All the while the evidence builds that “He who must not be named” has returned. All very engaging and extremely well thought out and executed, so, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I went to see the film adaptation at the theater upon its release.

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War of the Worlds – Movie Review (**)

(Originally posted on i-Pocalypse.com on 7-08-05)

War of the Worlds is a movie with a little black button smack dab in the middle of it. Oh, it’s not a literal or real button or anything like that. It is a figurative button. And even figuratively it isn’t a terribly unique button. Actually, it is a rather drab figurative button and has that dull and slightly scratched look that comes from regular figurative use. It is not a button that you would think an acclaimed director such as Steven Spielberg would ever use, however, there it is. The effects of this button can vary from film to film, but the end result is generally the same. In this case, half way through the film, when Spielberg (and screenwriter David Koepp) figuratively press it, War of the Worlds goes from a challenging, intense, scary meditation on lost opportunity and fear to a monumentally silly monster movie rife with cliché and an embarrassingly schmaltzy ending.

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