So what did I think?
I’m too lazy to write a properly coherent review so I’ll just list points at random. This is not a conclusive list, mind. Just the impressions that linger the strongest.
Dan, Emma and Rupert can too act.
Nice follow up from PoA in capturing the ‘feel’ of boarding school/teen spirit – the cheering when people put their names in the Cup, the Dancing classes, Hermione and Ginny perking up when Cedric turned up in the beginning…
Neville shone in his scenes, and almost stole the show in a lot of them.
Lots of fine acting from the older cast – Severus Snape, Dumbledore, Barty Crouch, Igor Whathisname. Loved all the accents – Crouch, Igor…
The Yule Ball was lovely. Beautiful costumes. Hermione’s little wave as she took Viktor’s arm was just perfect.
Lots of pretty people in this one – Cedric Diggory (almost too pretty to be a boy), Cho Chang, both twins…
Great special effects: the Pensieve, the Drumstrang ship rising from the water (the Flying Drumsmen, anyone? :P), The Graveyard…
Voldemort. Snake face. Slit nose. Worst nightmare come to life. Perfect.
The Graveyard scene was almost-excellent (see why ‘almost’ below) – the ‘resurrection’, Crucio, the duel, Priori Incantem…
The post-Graveyard scene with Harry returning to fanfare was even better.
Apparently, Azkaban never realized that they were missing a prisoner.
The screenplay was like a series of disconnected snapshots. One moment the Irish and Bulgarian teams are doing their opening parades. Wham! The next moment, they’re celebrating Ireland’s win. Wham! The next moment, they’re running away from Death Eaters. Wham! The next moment, they’re in Hogwarts, watching the flying horses of Beauxbatoms… Wham!
Durmstrang was an all-boys school and Beauxbatoms was an all-veela school. Apparently, they’re no witches in Russia and no wizards in France.
The First Task was a big yawn. I kept rolling my eyes through the Dragon thing. I mean, I really thought Harry was going to die, you know. And what happened to ‘Accio!’ and his problems with Summoning Charms? No emotional build-up. No pay off. Special effects can only enhance a good emotional build-up/pay-off, not substitute one.
Polyjuice! Mad Eye was so obviously a Bad Guy, they might as well have placed the Mark of Cain on his head.
What was up with Barty’s tongue thing?
They could have cut the Rita Skeeter sub-plot out of the story and no one would have missed it.
Hermione crying at the end of the ball? WTF? (Excuse my French.)
The ‘almost’ in ‘almost-perfect’ of the graveyard scene –
A, The scythe thing that held Harry in the graveyard. Couldn’t he have just wiggled free? Jack Sparrow got out of irons for crying out loud.
B, The Death Eaters are such an intimidating number, don't you think? /sarcastic.
C, No emotional build-up of Harry’s problems with Accio, hence no pay off with his using his summoning spell to get the Cup. The book’s take on Harry running for dear life after Priori Incantem was far more exciting.
Dumbledore's speech at the end should not have been changed. The original was flawless. The imitation was flat.
Ginny had all of one line. And putting her beside Hermione only made her look like a tag-along. Book 5 is going to have do a lot of work to sell her as a movie! love interest in Book 6, especially with Harry getting another love interest in Cho.
Talking about shipping, they'd have to try really hard in subsequent movies to downplay Emma and Dan's chemistry.
Movie!Ron has grown on me. I didn’t even flinch at the ‘Harry Potter’s stupid friend’ comment.
I thought Parvati and Patil were identical?
Prisoner of Azkaban is still Number One.