Fired up about the 'Goblet'

Fans eagerly await local release of Potter film

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Kelly Edington has never missed a Harry Potter movie and isn't about to start now.

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the fourth in the world-famous series about the adventures of a young wizard, hits movie theaters today.

West Theatre in Craig plans to show the film three times today --t 4, 7 and 10 p.m. Managers are expecting a large turnout as Harry Potter fans line up to see the film, the latest in the series based on best-selling books by British author J.K. Rowling.

"Lots of people want to see it," Manager Debbie Winder said. "With Harry Potter -- they read the books, they see the movies."

Edington, 13, is no exception. She's read the first three novels by Rowling, who has released six books in what she promises will be a seven-book series.

The latest movie follows the main character, Potter, through a magic tournament, a meeting with his enemy and the beginnings of young love. Darker than its predecessors, the 2 1/2 hour movie is rated PG-13, a first for a Harry Potter film.

Edington rented each of the three movies based on the books and said she is excited to see the fourth in a theater.

"The witchcraft, it's just neat, especially when you watch the movies," she said. "It just shows how it actually works."

She said she appreciates the plots because they are so different from what her teachers expect her to read.

"I usually read just regular chapter books ... now I'm reading about wizards and stuff," Edington said.

Justin Collins, 12, said many of his friends like the books for that very reason. While the books his teachers assign are about real people, he prefers fantasy.

"We don't really read stuff like that in class, but it'd be cool if we did," he said.

Collins began reading the novels but never made it very far.

"They're long," he said.

The films do a better job of holding his attention, he said. He's seen two of the movies and was excited to hear about the fourth's release.

"It's sort of a scary type because there's weird stuff in it," Collins said. "There's magic stuff, and all of the sudden, there's a three-headed dog."

Edington recommends the novels because they include more detail.

She's a library aide at Craig Middle School and said the "Harry Potter" books are some of the most frequently borrowed. She thinks the series is geared toward youths because the characters are children.

"There are kids in it, and maybe adults don't like the witchcraft and stuff, but kids do," she said.

Donna Sweet, library clerk at the middle school, is an example of the exception.

"I've read them all," she said. "I read them because the kids get into them, and they ask me for recommendations."

The books improve as the series progresses, Sweet said.

Although she likes watching the movies, she waits a few days for the crowds of kids to thin out before she goes to the theater.

The books offer a more complex story line because Rowling has more room to provide details and expand on the main plot.

"I just like the whole fantasy -- it's kids going to school and the problems they have," Sweet said. "It's just a whole other way of looking at things."

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the fifth movie in the series, is set to hit theaters in 2007.

Winder said she expects the theater to be packed today as fans arrive for the fourth show. Tickets are $6 for adults. The price of admission is $4 for moviegoers age 65 and older or age 11 and younger. Children under age 2 can watch the movie for free.

Winder considered offering a midnight viewing but decided an afternoon movie would be more accessible considering the age of viewers and the cold weather.

"In the past, people have started lining up for the movies early," she said. "It's going to be really fun."

For movie times, call West Theatre at 824-2000.

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