Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Mike Newell
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Tuesday, February 20, 2007
This one deals with Potter’s (Daniel Radcliffe) fourth year at Hogwarts. The boy, now 14, is cheated into being chosen for the legendary tri-wizard tournament, which is as exciting as it’s deadly. He couldn’t have been chosen by the magical goblet of fire, first because he’s underage and second because he didn’t apply. But there’s no way of turning back now and he’s on for the game. In the way, the boy is envied by friends (including Ron (Rupert Grint)), ridiculed by schoolmates, and disrespected by other contestants. These include Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski), Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy), and Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson), the “official” goblet’s selection from Hogwarts.
There’s a lot of subplots going on at the same time – not as many as there’s in the book, which is ridiculously long mind you – but the film weaves them admirably. Besides the contest, there’s romance—notably Harry falling for a cute girl called Cho Chang (Katie Leung), as well as Hermione’s (Emma Watson) coming-of-age and the unraveling of her feelings towards clueless Ron (Rubert Grint)—, the appearance of terrifying “Death Eaters” (Voldemort’s servants of evil), Harry’s bad dreams about a decrepit Voldemort and his evil plans, and the introduction of new and (as usual) colorful characters such as Barty Crouch (Roger Lloyd-Pack) and Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody (Brendan Gleeson), as well as the return of well-known ones like suspicious Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs), strict Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), kind Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith), and of course wise Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), just to name a few.
Wow, this film does have A LOT of threads! You only come to realize that when thinking back. Steven Kloves’ adaptation of the book is again very impressive in conveying a piece that combines so many subplots and still doesn’t disappoint as a movie experience. To be fair though, this one’s more episodic than the previous entry, and some segments seem too long and not very consequential in what concerns the main story. The same as the book, I felt an unnecessary overlength here and wished some parts were trimmed (even though I daresay more than half the book was skipped!). Yet, the main interest is never lost and everything that’s added here and there contributes to the magical world we’re easily immersed in. Everything works out as well thanks to the visual effects, constantly impressive and surprisingly combined with the storytelling to an extent that one depends on the other but they work together seamlessly.
This film is also notable for the cameo of a renowned actor playing a very important role towards the end.
The rest of the performances are as good. The whole cast works wonderfully as an ensemble and the kids keep getting better, especially Radcliffe, who was mildly wooden the first and second films and he’s now Potter himself. The other two (Watson and Grint) are outstanding as usual, and their understanding of their characters is unbelievably natural. Gambon is given a lot of juicy material this time and he does it very well, though the question of how Richard Harris would’ve done it is more than a little haunting.
John Williams’ score is sorely missed, replaced by a more serious but not-by-far-as-haunting one by Patrick Doyle. The sense of awe is intact however, and so is, I’m glad to say, the sense of humor. I found myself laughing often, always a welcome reaction. I think the film’s 157 minutes running time is, as I said, too much, but to be fair it’s a fun trip all the way, so who cares! That’s the film’s greatest asset, I think… That despite its few flaws and lulls, it manages to entertain like any great movie.
“How lies have fed your legend, Harry!”
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Other reviews of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005): Morris