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7 March 2006 (USA)  »

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An uneasy mix of the hesitant and forced that misses the opportunity to be natural, chatty and a bit passionate about the Harry Potter films
19 April 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Mike Newell settles down into some comfortable chairs in a nice drawing room to have a chat with the stars of the Harry Potter films, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. The three actors have just seen the finished film for the first time and Newell asks them about their first thoughts. The conversation drifts into what it was actually like making the fourth film (Goblet of Fire), their thoughts on their characters and others and several other Potter topics. Also involved is a group of fans, asking some questions of their own.

It is hard to really describe what is wrong with this short film because it is a mix of things. In theory it should have been like a free flowing discussion but it is actually pretty stiff and nowhere near as natural and flowing as it should have been. In some ways it feels too staged – the cast are stiff, the room looks warm but feels restricting and the delivery of the questions feels like it is being done by a pirate radio newsreader. It isn't all Newell's fault (he does try) but generally parts of the short do feel stiff and false – the worse part is the questions from the fans, they are read without joy and the "fans" seem to have little interest in what they are asking. This surprised me because I expected it to be a lot more flowing.

On the flipside of this, the cast don't feel like they are giving rehearsed answers but this is not a good thing. It could have meant that they were natural in a good way but instead it means they are natural in a bad way. They are hesitant, give uninspiring answers, seem surprised by the obviousness of the questions and struggle to get into it. Of the three, Grint looks totally bored by the whole thing and only livens up when he seems to catch on just to not take it seriously. Radcliffe is a bit of an annoying little chap but holds this at bay well for the majority of the running time – he just about convinces with his answers and is the best of the three. Watson tries a bit too hard; she laughs well and interacts with the others, giving good answers to dumb questions – she has the making of a star in terms of her interviewing technique but she just needs to work on coming over natural even when having to do it over and over again.

Overall then this is not a great short film. It had the opportunity to have some passion and just be a bit like bringing the cast into your front room but instead it is an uneasy mix of the hesitant and the forced. A missed opportunity then but one that might still be of interest to the die-hard Potter film fans but unlikely to appeal to the majority of us that just quite like the films.


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