Well that was an interesting movie. A couple scenes I was sure they’d leave out were detailed while others were condensed or still there “off stage”. I’ll try to avoid spoilers:
One thing I think they could have improved would have been to sacrifice the Quiddich World Cup scenes (introduce the Death Eaters some other way) and expand on the whole Ball Subplot and the whole Ron/Krum rivalry. As in the book, Hermoine gets mad at Ron for asking her to the ball as a “last resort” and she already accepted Krum’s invitation, but we weren’t given enough time in the film to get the impression that’s what was happening. Hermoine came off as a bit bitchy when she actually wasn’t, it was just compressing that bit of the plot a little too much. Meanwhile, Krum (whom Hermoine goes with to the Ball) doesn’t get much screen time except in the action scenes. He doesn’t have much dialogue in the book, but he is a semi-interesting character and I thought it was odd that all of his short bits would be cut out. (Besides, since there won’t be another Ball for the entire rest of the series, I expected that part to be more detailed…)
Cedric Diggory, the actor, the exact right amount of screentime and the whole Cedric of it, was perfect. Can’t say much more on that because it would spoil things.
I thought that the Beauxbaton girls and Fleur would get a bit more screentime since they’re the whole other third school in the Triwizard Tournament. I also agree with my freind Aaron: They’re certainly not ugly, but a little more visual or sound-effects would have given them a better “Veela” feel. (For those who haven’t read the books, the blue-uniformed girls in the movie are supposed to have a sort of natural magical beauty that makes males extra-attracted to them. This is very toned down in the movie, except for the one encounter offscreen between Ron and Fleur that’s only breifly mentioned. The word Veela isn’t even mentioned. I suppose it might have confused the audience because it’s never explained exactly what a Veela is in the books except presumably they’re a kind of witch in the same way witches are a kind of human.)
Mad Eye Moody is just about perfect, although he’s introduced rather abruptly and the Unforgivable Curses Lesson (which is the most important lesson depicted in the movies so far) goes by a bit quickly. Otherwise, perfect.
One major clue from the books about the Big Plot Twist was cut out and another one was substituted. I think it works well because Barty Crouch Sr. is a minor character in the book and the movie, and that angle would have been easily overlooked by folks just trying to follow the plot.
If you don’t understand the above, you haven’t read or seen enough Harry Potter. That means you, class. The movies will take less time than the books, so go ahead and rent yourself a crash course on Harry Potter this week from your local video rental place. 🙂