Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

2006-07-17 14:38


After a holiday marred by vivid nightmares and omens of the dark lord Voldemort's return, Harry Potter is more than happy to return to the safety of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Little does he realise that Hogwarts is due to host the legendary Triwizard tournament - a magical competition between Europe's three great magical schools: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. Since contestants must be over 17 to participate, Harry feels himself safe. But the enchanted Goblet of Fire, whose task it is to choose the competitors, proves him wrong when it spits out his name, much to the disgust of his schoolmates and his own horror. Now Harry must battle murderous monsters, outwit his much older rivals and endure the scorn of his peers. But dragons and school bullies are nothing in comparison to Harry's must painful challenge yet - his first teenage crush.


The fourth installment in the Harry Potter saga is easily the most exciting film of the series to date, if not the most satisfying. It may be over two and a half hours long but there's hardly a second that isn't crammed full of action: monsters, mysteries and battles to the death - not to mention lashings of teenage angst - this film has it all.

Or, to be more precise, the film tries to have it all. With so much going on all the time that you hardly have time to catch breath, let alone savour any of the film's gorgeous visual details. The difficulty stems from the filmmakers' understandable urge to have their cake and eat it. Instead of condensing the plot to its bare bones and then adding detail where possible, they have tried to cram as much of the detail into the shortest time possible. As such even the best scenes have a trimmed, rushed feeling like one of those guided museum tours in which you see the 150 masterpieces in 45 minutes.

Still, rush or no rush, you can't help but gasp at the many spectacular scenes. The consistently excellent art direction and special effects have, if anything, improved since the last film. The action sequences are easily the most technically challenging of the series so far, but director Mike Newell has risen to the task - presenting them in deft and confident strokes that make for thrilling viewing. With not one crack showing, not one hair out of place, this is also the most gorgeously dressed Harry Potter, which makes the breakneck pace all the more frustrating. You begin to long for a pause button so that you can linger over a piece of exquisite set design or character animation.

Another positive aspect is the film's unflinching presentation of the darker aspects of the book. Far from sugar coating the horror of the dark lord Voldemort, Goblet of Fire positively revels in it. The film, like the book, is overshadowed by Voldemort's menacing presence and it lends seriousness and depth to what might otherwise be a flimsy plot. Beware though, the horror of Voldemort may prove too scary for some 10-year-olds to handle, whatever the Films and Publications Board may think. As a rule of thumb if they've read the book they can handle the film - just don't be surprised if they have a few nightmares afterwards.

Aside from all the razzmatazz, Goblet of Fire does an excellent job of capturing the other major thrust of the book - Harry's transition (along with Ron and Hermione) from child into teenager. It presents the painful awkwardness of being a 14-year-old with the kind of humour and compassion that JK Rowling would be proud of. The young actors rise to the challenge of this transition, with Rupert Grint stealing the show again as Ron. After her strong performance in the third film Emma Watson proves slightly disappointing as Hermione, coming across as rather overwrought. Daniel Radcliffe gives a solid if not particularly inspired performance as Harry.

Apart from the marvelous Michael Gambon as Professor Dumbledore, the superb cast of adult actors barely get a word in edgeways. It's a crying shame, but an unavoidable one, that talents like Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman and Maggie Smith share less than 20 minutes of screen time between them. Of course they make the most of every second, as does Ralph Fiennes whose portrayal of Voldemort is absolutely pitch perfect. The two new cast members - Brendan Gleeson as the delightfully deranged "Mad-Eye" Moody and Miranda Richardson as the poisonous Rita Skeeter - also acquit themselves admirably.

Overall Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is not the best film of the series - that honour still rests with Alfonso Cuaron's Prisoners of Azkaban - but it is still well worth seeing. It's a pity that it doesn't linger over a few more of the quirks that make Rowling's books so loveable, but it deserves credit for being a thoroughly enjoyable experience, even if at times we need to run to keep up.

- Alistair Fairweather

It's all dragons, dark lords and school dances in the most exciting Harry Potter film so far.

Dale 2005/12/02 7:58 AM
Brilliant but different Anything with Harry Potter on the title gets my vote. The Movie could have gone on for another hour and I would not have minded. The special effects were good and the acting of the young actors has improved from the previous movies. A bit disappointed that there was alot of changes from the original book, however, it was very enjoyable. Lots of humor, drama and suspence. A must see Yes
Natalie 2005/12/02 10:39 AM
Wonderful wonderful, could have found a other actor for victor krum a cuter actor like cedric. harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban
Muzz 2005/12/02 11:01 AM
Good but Disappointing I waited in great anticipation for this film and was very disappointed with the result. Such a change from the book and so much detail was left out of the movie. Rather read the book - its so much more entertaining!! maybe
Insiya 2005/12/02 12:05 PM
Harry Potter - Goblet of Fire I think it is very hard to give due justice to any of the Harry Potter stories in the movies because it is hard to capture all the exciting moments. But I think each time they try hard and do a good job to keep us entertained. Goblet of Fire has been my favourite book and I think the movie is well made.
michael 2005/12/02 5:52 PM
Goblet of Fire is a stunning film The Goblet of Fire is a stunning film. The visualisation and special effects are quite unbelievable. I haven't read this book and I didn't like the second or third HP films but this film is quite magnificent and I think it is the first Harry Potter film that doesn't look as if it is aimed only at 10 year olds. Chaplin
Natasha Salant 2005/12/02 6:10 PM
WOW - WHAT A MOVIE its brilliant Whale Rider
ashleigh 2005/12/02 10:27 PM
Alister Fairweather put it so perfectly!! its a brillient movie, but alot of the crucial aspects from the book were left out, so, many of my friends that havent yet read the book came out of the movie, absolutely confused, and had no idea of wat happened at certain times. i would have much preferred if the movie was even as much as 45mins longer so then being able to add a few more scenes and more time on more important scenes.
Lola 2005/12/03 1:19 AM
Mascure The movie, in general, is not effecently explained, and several aspects go entrily unnoticed due to the fast pace. Only the sharpest minds will understand it fully without pior refrence to the book, which is by far the most ejoyble one. Several aspect of the characters were also flawed, for example of the always calm Dumbledore, who on numerous ocations screemed. It is sad to see this wonderful story portrayed as such. I hope that the fifth instalment is a better attempt. Downfall
Jacqueline 2005/12/04 4:50 PM
Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire It's truely brilliant!! I would really recomend this movie for a person that is looking for an adventure.It is a must see!! I'd reommend Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Mariaan 2005/12/04 11:37 PM
Thumbs up for Rupert and Daniel I was very impressed by the acting skills of both Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe in The Goblet of Fire. Before, I felt that Daniel only got cast because of his remarkable likeness to Harry Potter, but he definitely proved me wrong in this film. Emma Watson was dissappointing and overbearing, though. She would be wise to practise a little restraint in the future. The movie was carefully plotted, but the trimming wasn't added sufficiently.
Tracy 2005/12/05 9:33 AM
Thumbs up harry! The movie cannot encapsulate every minute detail so perfectly illustrated in JK Rowling's book. However, the 3-hour movie provids much excitement and entertainment with good acting from the cast and imaginative sets and sequences. Take the movie for what it is - a movie BASED on the book but not in any way a replacement of the book - and you will be thoroughly entertained! THe only disappointments were not enough quidditch and Dumbledore being portrayed as an anxious, easily unnerved wizard - definately not him.
Andriette 2005/12/05 1:59 PM
Go see this movie. This is by far the best of the Harry Potter movies, though story wise I prefer the Prisoner of Azkaban. The story is very dark and a far cry from the light tone we see in the first Potter movie. I enjoyed the fact that Harry Potter is now letting audiences realise that it is not a children's story, not that it ever really was, and the themes and situations the characters are faced with are becoming more mature and appealing to older audiences. A great movie for the holidays, but I would recommend leaving younger children at home or let them watch Chicken Little as people die and they might not understand why. The Japanese version of Dark Water.
missFTV 2005/12/05 4:23 PM
Wicked!! A very fast-paced and exciting film which kept to the story line of JK's 4th book. Briliantly made, considering the time limit it had. Danial (Harry) really shone in this film and it was by far his best one. Rupert (Ron) was his wounderful humorous self and for the first time, did not over shadow Danial's performance. Emma (Hermione) was a bit of a let down but the other charecters, such as Prof Magonagal, Moody &Snape, made up for that. Oh, and lets not forget our fav twins, Fread and George, who's performances improve with each film. With out them the movies would not be the same. The only dissapointment was the Quidditch world cup (not enough!!), Voldermort (if i saw him, i would die. Not of fright but from laughter!!) and Dumbeldore, who was so weak in this film that it was quite irratating. Otherwise, it was fantastic. As Ron would say... Wicked!
Katie P 2005/12/07 2:11 PM
The essence of Voldemort captured exquisitely I sat mesmerized as Voldemort was finally revealed in all his glory - something over which we've salivated expectantly since the movies began to roll out. Ralph Fiennes, the true master of british film, couldn't have done a better job in his exquisite protrayal. Make up, special effects, and wardrobe all helped bring one of the darkest characters of our times to life, and, for me personally, he was exactly as i have always pictured him, page after trepidatious page. Sheer magic, i tell you!
P Stubbs 2005/12/08 11:45 AM
Dissappointed It was with great expectance that I went to see the 4th Harry Potter movie but I was greatly dissappointed. It was an excellent movie, don't get me wrong, but for the amount of info they tried to get into the movie, it should have been at least 3 hours long and not just 2 1/2. Also if you read the book, you would have noticed that huge parts of the book was left out which is understandable, otherwise the movie would easily have been 4 hours long. (not that I would have minded!) I've read books 5 and 6 as well and hope I won't be as dissappointed with the next movies...
Kyle 2005/12/19 4:03 PM
Simply the best The best of the lot. Having read each book 5 times.....I should know. They manage to fit the crucial scenes in and even if u hadn't read the book u would understand it.
natasha 2005/12/28 3:40 PM
harry... i watched all the harry potter movies and i've read all the books and my take on it is that it is actually very great it's a fantasy world come to life before the movies came out you werent sure about what the characters look like and your imagination runs wild you have all these images in your head but when the movies came out it made everything clear... thanx to j.k rowling for an amazing imaginary quest!!!! cheaper by the dozen2
Johan 2006/01/04 4:28 PM
Awesome, Brilliant I saw it in the theatre for the first time!!! I am crazy about Hermione!!! I think the director made a very good choice by putting Emma Watson into the movie!!
Sandrini 2006/01/11 11:10 AM
Harry Potter's Fourth Year A thrilling and exciting new movie about harry's fourth year at the wizarding school, hogwarts. containing scenes from raging teenage hormones to dragons and merpeople- this one is a must see!!! Just Like Heaven starring Reese Witherspoon & Mark Ruffalo
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.