Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’

Metro Canada: Filmmakers have been using mazes to amaze audiences for years

mazerunnerGiant labyrinthine puzzles are almost as old as mankind: Prehistoric mazes were built as traps for malevolent spirits, while in medieval times the labyrinth represented a path to God. But recently, the idea of people struggling through a complicated network of paths has made for some striking visuals in movies.

This weekend, The Maze Runner sets much of its action inside a gigantic maze where frightening mechanical monsters called Grievers wander, tormenting Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) as he navigates the maze to pick up clues that help him piece together memories of his past. The sci-fi story is just the latest to feature a maze as a major plot point, but just as Labyrinth’s Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is warned, “nothing is as it seems” in these movie puzzles.

Remember Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? Like Thomas in The Maze Runner, the boy wizard has to make it through a maze (in this instance to find the Triwizard Cup), but instead of fighting magical creatures, this hedge maze is magical; shape shifting to make the journey extra difficult. The 1972 horror film Tales from the Crypt contained an even more sinister maze.

Made up of five stories, the film culminated with the tale of a labyrinth told with razor-sharp wit. Set in a home for the blind, the patients get even with the institute’s cruel director by placing him in the centre of a maze of narrow corridors lined with razor blades. It’s a cutting edge story, that, according to “rivals the ‘death traps’ of Saw and ‘tortures’ of Hostel while only showing a single small cut of the flesh.”

In The Shining, the axe-wielding father Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) chases his son Danny (Danny Lloyd) through the Overlook Hotel’s hedge maze. The quick-thinking boy escapes by retracing his steps, confusing his maniacal dad. The documentary Room 237 offers up a number of interpretations of what the maze and Danny’s escape represents. One theory suggests it reflects Greek hero Theseus’ slaying of the Minotaur and escape from the labyrinth, while another speculates it’s a metaphor for conquering repression. Whatever the subtext, it remains one of director Stanley Kubrick’s most tense scenes.

And finally, Francis Ford Coppola’s version of Dracula sees Lucy (Sadie Frost) sleepwalking through a garden maze, chased by Dracula (Gary Oldman) in wolfman form while Pan’s Labyrinth features a maze as a place of safety for Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) to evade her attacker.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry-Potter-cast-harry-potter-and-the-goblet-of-fire-1913230-2560-1924The Harry Potter phenomenon is so powerful that you could have called this Harry Potter Drinks a Goblet of Water and presented an Andy Warhol-style film of young Harry chugging a glass of water for two hours and Potterheads would still wear their wizard hats and line up to see it. There may be fewer kids in line this time, however, as Goblet is the darkest installment in the $2.6 billion (and counting) Potter franchise.

The story is boiled down from the 700-plus page novel by J.K. Rowling and as the poster tagline reads, “Difficult times lie ahead, Harry.” Difficult times indeed. Not only must the three heroes fend off evil supernatural forces in the form of Lord Voldemort but they also must grapple with dangers of a much more mortal sort—jealousy, romance, mortality and Harry’s raging hormones. Voldemort may be Harry’s sworn enemy, but the real trouble starts when puberty comes to Hogwarts. The Goblet of Fire sees the trio growing up and the filmmakers eliminating many of the child-like elements of the earlier three films. Gone are Harry’s goofy family and the house elves and with them went the lighter feel of the other movies. The Goblet of Fire is firmly rooted in supernatural adult fiction and as such earned a PG-13 rating.

A rooftop race with a dragon, Mad Eye Moody’s leering mechanical eye and the snake-like Lord Voldemort are sure to excite Potterphiles, but if I have a complaint it is that there is almost too much going on. Donny Brasco director Mike Newell has done an fine job of cramming a very long book into a two-and-a-half hour film, but it seemed to me that there were too many characters—Alan Rickman’s deliciously menacing Severus Snape gets lost in the crowd, barely managing two lines, while the inclusion of tabloid reporter Rita Skeeter adds nothing to the film but running time—and the quieter scenes, wedged in between spectacular action sequences, seemed rushed.