Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Movie Review

For the uninitiated, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the book where author J.K. Rowling finally went off her rocker, turning out a 734-page monster of a book (vs. 309 pages for #1) that made everyone wonder if any child could possibly have that kind of attention span.

Turns out they did: Book four is also where Rowling went from Big Hit to Mega Worldwide Sensation, and the Harry Potter series became a cultural touchstone. (This is also about the time that ultra-right wing groups started denouncing the series as demonic.)

And so, everything that is past is prologue: The first three films now feel like nothing more than window dressing for this one, a rich movie with expert plotting, clever humor, and a sophistication lacking in the earlier pictures. At the same time, it's fine for (older) kids, who'll root for Harry and Co. through his many scrapes in this edition.

Goblet of Fire finds Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) back for his fourth year at Hogwarts Academy. Things are getting heavier for the lad: He's having vivid dreams about Lord Voldemort being revived in the flesh. On top of that, the school is hosting the legendary Tri-Wizard Tournament, in which three aspiring magicians will compete to win a fancy blue cup (plus bragging rights), which brings two foreign schools -- one a collection of brutish Russian guys, another a group of breathless French fairy queens -- into Hogwarts for the term. While the tournament is meant for older kids, naturally the undersized Potter will find his way into the mix. On top of that, Harry's got some raging hormones, which has him swooning for fellow student Cho (Katie Leung), while Ron (Rupert Grint) tries in vain to suppress his budding love for Hermione (Emma Watson). This comes to a head of sorts during a formal dance, one of the film's most memorable scenes. And all the while, Voldemort inches closer to Harry.

Overall, the story is obviously and dramatically pared down from the book. Even I, a non-reader, could tell that there were huge gaps in the plot. Strangely, it doesn't really matter. All but the bare essentials have been stripped away, and even though it tops 2 1/2 hours, Goblet is a lean, mean, storytelling machine. There's rarely a dull moment (a stark contrast to some of the overblown earlier installments in the series), and it's amazingly easy to follow the serpentine plot. Partly this is because we've had three movies to get up to speed on the myriad characters of Potter, and even though Goblet introduces a good number of new faces, keeping track of them is a snap. The downside of this is that, aside from a little romance for the main three characters, there's not much time to develop our heroes further. But really, it isn't needed. They're fleshy enough as it is, and the film does give them a bit more structure to set up #5.

Speculation has been rampant about how director Mike Newell -- of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame -- would work out as the helmer of an action-oriented kid flick. Turns out, he's better than those who came before him. Not only does Newell have a good handle over the film's action showpieces, he knows how to deal with awkward romances and growing pains of the teen years. Maybe it's because he's the first British director to try his hand at this very British series?

Speaking of the action: The special effects in this installment are hands-down better than ever. There's probably not a single scene in Goblet of Fire that isn't manipulated with CGI in some way -- but you'll never notice. The effects are so good and so seamless that you seriously can't tell the difference (reality-wise) between Radcliffe and the giant, fire-breathing dragon staring him down.

And speaking of dragons: The film is scary, more so than the other three. As a case in point, the woman sitting in front of me, with two kids aged about six to eight, had to leave the theater after the first two minutes because the little ones were so frightened.

Altogether the film is just about right for what a Harry Potter movie ought to be. The story is consistently interesting but not too confusing, the dialogue is spot-on, and the film blends action and quiet moments perfectly. (Frankly, the film should win an Oscar for editing.)

But overall Goblet of Fire has succeeded in doing one big thing that the first three movies completely failed at: For the first time, I'm actually looking forward to the next in the series.

A little magic ought to fix that arm right up, no?


Comments

Tinarht's picture

Tinarht

hi,I'm from India.I luv hp4 b'coz it was directed wonderfully .All the actors had done very well.Well..Daniel was hot.I've seenthe film for nearly 10 times.Emma Watson was also mind going.I'm a grrreat fan of Emma & Daniel.Urs,monica.

7 years 10 months ago
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chordia's picture

chordia

it was a great movie... i am excited to watch the movie of halfblood prince and what happen after dumbledore's death... please make it quick to publish the 7th book..

7 years 9 months ago
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Kira031082's picture

Kira031082

ok dont get me wrong i thought it was the best Harry Potter so far. The movie was absolutley great but, I did have one issue... Dumbledore I'm sorry but Dumbledore has always been calm and cool about everything he never gets worked up about anything and in this movie he pratically throws harry in to a wall after his name comes out of the goblet. Come on now Dumbledore would never do that and he seems worried and completely on edge and thats not how hes supposed to be. That really bothered me. There was plenty of new characters in this movie that they could of made jumpy and on edge but the new director should have kept Dumbledore the same hes the rock of the books and the movies you cant have him loosing control.

8 years 7 months ago
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Emma Watson's Biggest Fan's picture

Emma Watson's B...

I honestly have to say that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the best movie i have ever seen in my hole entire life. I think Emma Watson was awsome in this movie. There was a part in the movie where I almost started to crie. This is an awsome movie and i am going to buy it as soon as it hits stores no matter how much it costs. Emma Watson is now my role model thanks to this movie. And I hope that the next movies will be just as good or even better. And Mrs. J.K. Rowling, Please continue making Harry Potter books so that they will make more movei I love your work. And I congradulate Emma Watson, Dan Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint, you guy's and Emma Especially did a great job. Sincerely: Emma Watson's Biggest Fan.

8 years 5 months ago
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MIKROIS's picture

MIKROIS

i really fainted when i heared that EMMA WATTSON wwill not be doing the final harry potter series . I know that she has become bored with her charecter bur she cannot quit halfway . i When i saw her performance in the first HP movie i was spellbound . But she is the one to decide weather to act or not . I will be feeling sorry if she refuses . But i will be happy for her even if she quits After all she also has to live her life your fan roshan

7 years 3 months ago
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hatty01's picture

hatty01

hi to all fans,i am a very big harry potter fan and i just loved goblet of fire!it is sooooo awesome especially all the action.the part i loved most was the underwater scene and how it was made.i'd like to say that i want to make my point on a certain thing i didn't like,which someone else has already mentioned.it was that Dumbldore, as Kira031082 said, is supposed to be a calm and collected wizard not a 'losing his temper when harrys name comes out of the goblet' wizard.that thing i think is quite a mistake that should not have been made.other than that it was a 5 star quality even if others don't think so.i'm really looking forward to the order of the phoenix and i'm sure you are too.thats all really! xxx

8 years 3 months ago
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tarauk1's picture

tarauk1

I must admit the film was good if you did not read the book. The whole point to this book is the warm up to the actual meeting with Voldemort and to my disappointment the whole scene lasted less than 15 mins. What a shame that they put more effort into the dating, ball and a lot of other usless garb we could all have worked up on our own. This book was the best out of all the others and the movie makers spoiled it by not getting to the actual point of this story. It was the leading up to the meeting with Harry's enemy Volermort. God i hope they don't mess up the Order Of The phoenix.

7 years 8 months ago
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cool-girl92's picture

cool-girl92

Hey!!!! I am also from Argentina, and I have got to say that the movie was just great, and dear Daniel Radcliffe, is sooooooooo hot. well Ron is not so bad eather.lol. well thats it

8 years 1 month ago
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cool-girl92's picture

cool-girl92

OMG!!!!i just had to add up to the comments!!!!!!as you guys know, I love hp as much as you guys.I read all the books!!!And I am really sorry to tell you guys this , but Dumbuldore will be murdered. I was crying while I was reading the 6th book.So sorry!!!!!!!!

8 years 1 month ago
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StageRaven's picture

StageRaven

As a huge Harry Potter, as well as Daniel Radcliffe fan, I was so excited for Goblet of Fire to come out. I am very glad to say I was NOT disappointed! Everyone involved in this movie put it all out there and didn't hold back. It was scene to scene an awesome adaptation of an incredible book. Mike Newell knew what he was doing when he decided to focus on the 'thriller' aspect of the story and let the rest go. I have to roll my eyes at comments people harp on about what wasn't included in the film. Geez Louise, it was a huge book! The movies were never meant to be a page by page, word for single word recreation. That's why they call it an adaptation folks! The CGI's were fantastic, and the acting was definitely kicked up a notch. All the time, money and training that went into this were clearly worth what we got for our ticket price. Specifically, what I loved, the humor! Filch running up (and down) the great hall, the twins, Mad-eye Moody, Rita Skeeter, Malfoy, aka 'twitchy little ferret', the study hall scene. Loved the angst, Ron being pissed, Harry getting pissed back, Ron and Hermione pissed at each other. The teen thing-romance of course. Harry falling for and being let down by Cho! Victor Krum and Hermione (very nice)The action- I was floored at the first task when H jumps on the firebolt and takes off. The visual from the book just didn't hold a candle to this! The roof scene rocked too. Underwater scenes-amazing. The darkness. Well, we who read the book knew it was coming, but seeing in the flesh (literally) was realistically freaky. The graveyard scene was brilliant. Ralph and Daniel were in a place all their own (as was meant I'm sure), in a word, it was brilliant. What I didn't particularly love. Actually, only one thing really bugged me. In the graveyard scene where Wormtail is resurrecting V. This is nit-picky, but the spell (from the book) is 'bone of the father, unknowingly given, not 'unwillingly' given. (the man is dead, he's clueless about giving up the bone!)I know I said it's not a word for word, etc., but bringing back he who must not be named after all this time is the moment we've all been waiting for. I just needed that one bit to be right. Nit-picky I know. Overall, I loved Goblet of Fire, and am now on the roller coaster of anticipation for Order of the Phoenix.

8 years 3 months ago
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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: PG-13, 2005

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