18 November 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Warner Bros 2005)

When Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was originally released, fans were surprised by the size of the tome. It should be no surprise to those fans that in just over two and a half hours of run-time there is a lot of text that just didn't make it into the film. Rest assured though, not one page of script was wasted in this movie.

We find Harry Potter at the Weasley's house as they set off for the Quiddich world cup. Unfortunately, Lord Voldemort's followers, the Death Eaters disrupt the festivities and that attack sets the mood for the rest of the movie. Even the exciting announcement of the Tri-Wizard Tournaments to be held at Hogwarts is tainted by anxieties over the possible return of Voldemort and when the Goblet of Fire provides an unprecedented fourth name -- Harry Potter of course -- things can only get worse.

Each of J.K. Rowling's Potter books has been progressively darker than those which preceeded it; the films seem to amplify the darkness in sometimes unexpected ways. Goblet of Fire is the darkest so far, earning its PG-13 rating for some very tense and scary violence. There are some bright spots here, though, mostly in the form of teen dating.

Visually, Goblet of Fire is stunning. The visual effects are well-integrated and well-used with a few exceptions, none of which was jarring enough to break the action or the illusion. The sets are similar to those used in the Prisoner of Azkaban, perhaps because a large part of the action takes place outside the school on the grounds of Hogwarts, used extensively for the first time in the third film. Make-up crews for Goblet of Fire deserve a nod, too -- especially for "Mad-eye" Moody's creepy yet comical artificial eye.

There is a nervous energy to this film, and it really isn't suitable for young children or anyone who is easily scared when their favourite characters are threatened. For those who have been waiting, Mike Newell's direction fits perfectly with this script and its adolescent stars.


Buy Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (paperback book)
Buy the Harry Potter Collection (6 DVDs)


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