Film Reviews

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE

By • Nov 18th, 2005 •

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Warner Bros. Pictures / A Heyday Films production
MPAA rating PG-13 / Running time — 156 minutes

QUOTE: Cute no more, GOBLET OF FIRE enchants with a darker aura of suspense and menace.

Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry finally has the feeling of an old spell curdled in bat brew run by very old people. Director Mike Newell gives this fourth film of J. K. Rowling’s phenomenally successful literary series his own darker, and hence more sophisticated, landscape. The PG-13 rating frees the story on constraints. Cuteness is for animation.

GOBLET takes place entirely on the School’s grounds where even the teachers have to follow rules of magical behavior. Returning students visit the Quidditch campsite where the dreaded Lord Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) Death Eaters ruin the festivities by burning the site down. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), tormented by a recurring nightmare, foresees that he is in mortal danger.

This year Hogwart’s is hosting the Triwizard Tournament. Two other schools are vying for the honorable Goblet of Fire trophy: the Beauxbatons Academy and the Durmstrang Institute. Candidates, who willingly enter by placing their names in the Goblet of Fire, must be sixteen years old to join the dangerous competition of three challenges. The Goblet chooses not three, but four names. Big Harry, though only 14, cannot be excluded since the Goblet appears to want him to play.

Hogwart’s ever-present, involved headmaster Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) asks Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody (Brendan Gleeson) to discreetly protect Harry, since Harry does not have the magical skills required to enter the three challenges.

The three challenges are fighting a dragon, an underwater rescue, and a run through a magical maze. The maze brings Harry face-to-face with tongue-wiggling Lord ‘No-Nose’ Voldemort who needs Harry’s blood to resurrect himself.

Now that Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) are fourteen, they are becoming interested in sex. And the School’s Yule Ball has everyone expected to pair up and dance! Harry, still not claiming his magical heritage, fumbles around girls. Ron, after having a jealous spat with Harry, starts to notice his feelings for Hermione (though he might have a crush on Harry?). Being more mature, Hermione accepts Durmstrang’s muscular star Viktor Krum’s (Stanislav Ianevski) invitation to the dance.

Harry Potter fans demand certain things, so the film is faithful to the book. The dance, while central to the subplot of the development of the main character’s sexual awakening, slows the magical pace. And there are just too many old, old wizards and witches. Doesn’t magic imply enchantment and seduction?

When does magic get sexy?

May I ask what happened to the Beauxbatons Academy’s candidate in the maze? If the Triwizard Tournament is so prestigious in the world of wizards, the winner never takes the cup! Where’s the grand ceremony honoring the triumphant winner? And I could have been happy without the rude interference of a gossip columnist (Miranda Richardson). My least favorite character, Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) is consigned to making eyes at Beauxbaton’s Headmistress-Giant Madame Maxime (Frances de la Tour). Why isn’t there one young, manly wizard in all of Hogwarts? All we get is Wormtail (Timothy Spall).

The 156 minutes gives Newell enough time to seduce the audience with fantastic scenes that outreach the other movies. Each is getting better without cheating the audience. No one is getting lazy! There is a chilling twist I certainly did not see coming. I would have liked to spend more time with Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), and Minierva McGonagall (Maggie Smith), magicians of renown now teaching kids magical manners. What are their histories? And why is Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) so constipated?


Cast:
Harry: Daniel Radcliffe
Ron: Rupert Grint
Hermione: Emma Watson
Professor Dumbledore: Michael Gambon
Voldemort: Ralph Fiennes
Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody: Brendan Gleeson
Hagrid: Robbie Coltrane
Lucius Malfoy: Jason Isaacs
Severus Snape: Alan Rickman
Minierva McGonagall: Maggie Smith
Wormtail: Timothy Spall

Credits:
Director: Mike Newell
Screenwriter: Steve Kloves
Based on the novel by: J.K. Rowling
Producer: David Heyman
Executive producers: David Barron, Tanya Seghatchian
Director of photography: Roger Pratt
Production designer: Stuart Craig
Music: Patrick Doyle
Co-producer: Peter MacDonald
Costumes: Jany Temime
Editor: Mick Audsley

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