Published November 18, 2005
LOS ANGELES – Harry Potter fanatics planning to hit movie theaters this weekend can expect plenty of adventure, excitement and romance from the fourth installment — but shouldn't count on a film identical to the book.
The movie "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" offers the same basic plot as J.K. Rowling's novel of the same name — the dangerous Triwizard Tournament comes to Hogwarts, with four students, including Potter, competing in three exciting tasks.
The evil Lord Voldemort is getting stronger in an attempt to return to power, someone inside the school is looking to kill Harry and the hormone-fueled students are starting to check each other out.
But the movie's details differ greatly from the 734-page book released in 2000.
As expected, many scenes in the massive book are deleted, combined or shortened to make the film flow smoother and faster.
A few scenes — like the one in which Maggie Smith's character, Professor McGonagall, teaches the students how to dance — are added for comic relief or to help explain something in the plot.
But there are also some surprising changes.
The most shocking alteration is in the film's first scene, when the character out to kill Harry is revealed immediately. In the book, that character is kept a secret until the very end, when he is unveiled in a page-turning plot twist.
Another major change in the movie is the elimination of Ron Weasley's mother and his older brothers, Bill and Charlie, who grow closer to Harry in the book and act like his family.
A popular scene at the end of the novel in which Mrs. Weasley hugs Harry — an orphan — at the boy wizard's lowest point and lets him feel a mother's love for the first time is left out.
Other changes include:
* Triwizard contestants Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour hardly speak in the movie, despite detailed character development in the book.
* Little detail about the romance between Hermione and Viktor, a major plot in the book.
* The elimination of house-elves Dobby and Winky — who have important roles in the book — as well as Hermione's elves rights group S.P.E.W.
* The removal of the subplot between Hagrid and Madame Maxime involving their parentage, although it becomes an important point in the fifth book, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."
* Zero detail about how one important character escaped from the wizard prison Azkaban, an important tidbit since the third film revealed it's nearly impossible to escape from there.
* The French wizarding school Beauxbatons being portrayed as an all-girls school — not the case in the book.
* Mad Eye Moody's leg appearing to be metal, not wooden as in the book.
* Ron and Harry sitting in the same Potions class as Ron's twin brothers Fred and George, even though they're one year older and would never be in the same class.
* Professor Dumbledore — always portrayed as calm and in control in the book — uncharacteristically losing it several times in the movie, specifically when Harry's name comes out of the Goblet.
* Less banter and jealousy between Ron and Hermione, although some is clearly there. A popular scene at the end of the Yule Ball, when Hermione challenges a jealous Ron to ask her to the next dance, is made less romantic by Hermione's out-of-character ranting, raving and sobbing.
* Not as much visible friction between Professor Dumbledore and the Minister of Magic at the end. In the book, their disagreement over Voldemort begins, and then erupts in books five and six.
* A very reduced role for Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, who is hardly in the film despite major importance in the book and in the third movie.