Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Robert Pattinson, Brendan Gleeson
Directed by Mike Newell
Rating: A-

As the Harry Potter films begin to delve in the “huge book” territory (Goblet of Fire has 734 pages in the U.S. edition), you have to know going into the movie that some parts you liked in the book were going to be cut.

That being said, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire kept a true feeling to the book. Harry’s fourth year marks a change from the first three books, and that’s puberty, plus the fact that He Who Must Not Be Named makes a thrilling return to the land of the living.

Hogwarts has huge plans for students returning this year. Working with the Ministry of Magic, Hogwarts has been settled as the host school for the Triwizard tournament. Two other European schools will bring a handful of their own students to enter their names for the competition, and will spend the year remaining at Hogwarts supporting their champion. While it has been centuries since the tournament last occurred, measures have been taken so only students 17-years-old and up can enter. The tournament was deemed “too dangerous” and only advanced students would have the skill to compete and survive.

Of course, Harry Potter would love to be a bystander supporting his school, but someone has entered his name and he was the fourth champion chosen. As it’s against the rules to ask for help, Harry must compete in three dangerous tasks. All the while, Voldemort has his own plans for Harry that he doesn’t know about yet.

This fourth installment of the Harry Potter films does a great job mixing humor with darkness. There are small moments throughout the film that are intended to make you laugh, like Malfoy being turned into a ferret, or Harry’s awkwardness around his crush, Cho Chang. There’s also the Yule Ball, an opportunity for students to mingle and relax during the Christmas holidays.

Goblet of Fire began with a rocky start. Harry wakes up from his vision of Voldemort in the Weasley house, so any scenes with the Dursleys have been cut. It’s understandable as there are more exciting scenes we want to see… like the Quidditch World Cup. Oh wait, that’s been cut too. While watching the match doesn’t further the plot, it was still a huge deal in the first few chapters of the book. The movie begins with the excitement of the match, but as soon as the Quidditch players are introduced (mainly to make Viktor Krum stick out, a Triwizard champion later in the book), the match is over and the Weasleys, plus Harry, are celebrating in the tent. It isn’t even made clear who the winner was!

All this was to lead up to the Death Eaters who wreaked havoc after the match, and show that someone has taken advantage of the mass confusion to cast Voldemort’s mark in the sky. It’s supposed to be a mystery, but for some reason the movie reveals a huge spoiler by showing who cast the mark.

After this event, the film cuts to the students arriving at school and being informed about the Triwzard event. When Harry is chosen, it shows the first real rift in his and Ron’s friendship. Becoming a champion is just one time too many that Harry gets put in the spotlight that Ron can’t take, and the jealousy causes them to part ways, for a little while.

Ron isn’t the only grumpy character this year. Hermione tends to pull faces every now and then, especially as the Yule Ball gets nearer. She clearly has an idea who she’d like to go with, but boys, being thick in the head sometimes, miss the point. Every time Ron brings up the ball, he doesn’t acknowledge Hermione, or the fact that he could have had less anxiety asking someone as his date if he had thought to ask her.

Despite capturing teenage youth and first crushes, there is another pressing matter. At the end of the third task, Harry is transported to a graveyard where he is instrumental to Voldemort’s return. After his escape in the third movie, Wormtail has spent his year nursing Voldemort back to health. He succeeds and the Voldemort that appears is a full-bodied being. He’s scary looking and the scene that follows is suspenseful if you haven’t read the book. Harry is trapped with the man who has tried to kill him since he was a baby.

So, with all the danger that has come to Hogwarts this year, Harry has a lot to face. Triwizard tasks, asking a date to the ball, and facing Voldemort at his fullest strength in years is asking a lot of a fourteen-year-old. Somehow, Harry can survive all this. It was a little disappointing at the end not to see how the encounter with Voldemort has really shook Harry up. The movie ended on a hopeful note, but there should have been more feeling in it, because I don’t buy that Harry could shake off almost dying.

Nonetheless, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was a fantastic film. It was, after all, 2-1/2 hours so it’s understandable that not everything could make it in. But what was done, was done right.

Photo credit: http://www.dvdizzy.com/harrypotter-gobletb.html


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