Monday, February 14, 2011

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

On my way to reviewing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I, I'm reviewing all preceding Harry Potter movies. Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban are the three reviews prior to this one. All three movies easily passed the Reverse Bechdel. While the first failed the Original Bechdel, the second and third passed. Will the fourth pass as well?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released in 2005. It was the first movie to do better than the previous Harry Potter movie, bringing in over $895 million, 12.6% better than Prisoner of Azkaban and 1.9% better than Chamber of Secrets, but still 10% worse than the original, Sorcerer's Stone.

blug1.png The first man in the movie is the old gardener at the Riddle house, whose first and only line is "bloody kids." The second man with lines is Voldemort himself, although he speaks off-camera. The third man with lines, and the second on-camera, is Peter Pettigrew. We also see David Tennant.

blug2.png blug3.png The three men (not including the old gardener), are having a conversation about Voldemort's plans, and apparently about Harry Potter ("the boy"), and whether Voldemort's plans can go forward without him. Goblet of Fire passes RB-3 before a single woman is seen on-screen.

pink1.png We first see Hermione immediately after the gardener is killed. Ginny Weasley is seen on the way to the Quidditch World Cup, and has a single line: "Look!" Ginny says her line to Hermione, who laughs in response-- not quite enough to pass OB-2.

The third woman with any lines is the trolley lady on the train to Hogwarts, but just as in the first movie, she only talks to Harry and Ron. Cho asks the trolley lady for two candies, but the trolley lady gives them to her without a word, before turning back and speaking to Harry.

While Hogwarts is a co-ed magical school, the two other schools participating in the Tri-Wizard Tournament include one girls-only school and one boys-only school. However, none of the girls from the girls-only school are seen talking directly to each other, except in the background. When the three champions are selected, Viktor's and Cedric's friends all loudly congratulate them, but when Fleur's name is annouced, all the girls from her school are bizarrely silent. After Harry's name comes out of the Goblet of Fire, McGonagall gets a few lines, trying to convince Dumbledore not to let Harry compete.

The first time we even get close to passing OB-2 is more than half an hour into the movie, when the journalist Rita Skeeter talks to the four Tri-Wizard Tournament champions, who happen to include Fleur Delacour. Fleur, however, does not respond. Similarly, when Rita takes a picture of Harry and Hermione talking, Rita talks to the both of them, but Hermione is (for once) speechless. In fact, the first time two women even talk near each other is more than an hour into Goblet of Fire, when the twins Padma and Parvati say, "Hi Harry" in unison, as they pass him.

Right after Padma and Parvati's line, a couple girls including Cho are shown talking to each other across the room from Harry. None of what they say is audible, so once again, it does not count for OB-2. Similarly, after McGonagall's dance lesson, some girls are seen talking to each other in three different groups, but most of what they say is inaudible, and the rest is just fragments of lines with no audible responses.

After Ron asks out Fleur, he enters the Gryffindor room with Ginny and some others. Harry asks, "What happened to you?" Ginny answers, "He just asked Fleur Delacour out," to which Hermione responds with a shocked, "What?" Hermione is addressing Ginny, but Ginny was addressing Harry, and the next line is Harry's, addressed to Ginny. Ginny and Hermione aren't actually talking to each other here, but 71 minutes into the movie, it's the closest we've gotten to passing OB-2.

In fact, this small exchange is the closest Goblet of Fire ever gets to passing OB-2. An hour-and-a-half into the movie, when Harry rescues Fleur's sister, Fleur says something in French to her sister as she comes out of the water, but her sister doesn't respond.

nopink2.png nopink3.png Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire never passes the second level of the original Bechdel test-- while there are lots of women with lines in the movie, none of them speak directly to each other for more than a single line. Goblet of Fire is the first movie reviewed here at Reverse Bechdel to fail the second level of either test.

Moreover, Goblet of Fire's failure is not because of the setting, or a lack of opportunity. There are multiple times in the movie where a few lines between women would have been natural, even expected. Whether it's the trolley lady giving Cho the silent treatment, or Fleur and Hermione not responding to Rita, or other cases, at times the movie feels like it was written with conversations between women that were later written out, but the circumstances of the conversations kept. Goblet of Fire could have and should have passed OB-2, it just didn't.

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