Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 8.8/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 8/10


Eternal glory. That is what awaits the contestant who wins the Triwizard Tournament, a tournament that takes place among three magical schools, Hogwarts being one of them. Dark and difficult times lie ahead.

Fourth in the series, The Goblet of Fire revolves around Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) once again, attending a game of Quidditch, only to witness the camps being destroyed by a group known as the Death Eaters, in addition to a mysterious mark in the sky. Returning to Hogwarts, Harry and his friends are then introduced to the Triwizard Tournament, said to hold three contenders. To everyone's surprise, Harry's name has been called by the Goblet as the fourth contender. Confused over who put his name in, and the contradiction that he does not even fit the age requirement, Harry is now forced to participate in the Tournament. As each of the Tournament's task unfolds, there is a greater evil at work.

Interesting enough, Goblet of Fire is one of the most acclaimed installments in the series by critics. However, it is also commonly known by die-hard fans as the worst entry for its stronger departure from the original novel.

Goblet of Fire opens a whole new world of magic in the series, introducing two new magical schools alongside Hogwarts -- the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and the Durmstrang Institute. Both schools are raw in their power yet depart from Hogwarts with their own visual style. It is here where we are introduced to two of the four contenders, Fleur Delacour of Beauxbatons and Viktor Krum of Durmstrang. In agreement with Roger Ebert's words: Goblet of Fire demonstrates that the saga has "created a world that can expand indefinitely and produce new characters without limit." Without a doubt, the world of Harry Potter is only getting bigger and bigger.

Nominated for an Academy Award for Art Direction, Goblet of Fire indeed shows impressive production design, combining real set pieces with computer generated imagery. Without a doubt, the fourth entry has also expanded the very grounds of Hogwarts, the areas that are "off-campus." The visual effects are largely majestic, from the mermaids of Black Lake to the Hungarian Horntail, and they appear far more realistic this time around due to having these spectacles interact with real sets and real actors.

Goblet of Fire, being the first Harry Potter film to be rated PG-13, is inevitably more action-packed and violent, less friendly for kids like Sorcerer's Stone. However, within each dangerous CGI-driven task, each visual sequence has its purpose, and remains a necessarily action-packed film, in contrast to a film that is just "noisy."

With the exception of directing the third task and Harry's confrontation with the Dark Lord himself, Mike Newell's skills as a director are very consistent but also in a way unoriginal. The tone is uniform, but the directing lacks art and style. In this critic's opinion, it might have been more interesting if Alfonso Cuauron was still in the helm for Goblet of Fire.

The narrative bears a much stronger maturity and sophistication in the characters. The acting is improved once again, and the plotline is again involving and complex. With a much wider range of emotion, Goblet of Fire might find criticism for its pacing, but it is dimensional nevertheless and brings about a more diverse and complete film.

As mentioned before, the acting and characterization has improved. This is mostly thanks to the script, which adapted the novel onto the screen efficiently, transitioning Harry and his friends from kids to teenagers. In terms of characterization, Goblet of Fire finally emphasizes the word "engaging," with a likable cast of supporting characters. Brendan Gleeson's Mad-Eye Moody is very much animated and a fascinating character to watch in this tale. Robert Pattinson's Cedric Diggory is charming and likable. And finally, Harry's first crush, Cho Chang, is ravishing on screen even when given small amounts of dialogue.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Harry Potter series, The Goblet of Fire is the most pivotal installment of them all, due to the (spoiler) fact that the Dark Lord Voldemort has returned. Ralph Fiennes, at this point being most well known as Amon Goeth from Schindler's List, is now put in the iconic role of Harry's true enemy. Though his appearance on screen is a tad different from his description in the novel, he holds more realism in the film and thus is far more terrifying. Fortunately, Fiennes will then go on through each future Harry Potter film and deliver as the Dark Lord.

Agreeably, The Goblet of Fire is probably the film that departs from the original novel the most, causing many fans to show their disappointment. Then again, adapting the fourth novel that is nearly twice the size of the third is a challenging task on its own. Yes, many sequences were either removed, shortened, or merged together. Still, what matters most for a film is to have all the essential plot details, that Harry's fourth journey is still told properly. For that purpose, Goblet of Fire has not only accomplished this task, but created a perfect transition to the next dark entry. As Dumbledore urges all the students and staff to stand up against Voldemort, we know that this conflict of good vs evil is now no longer just about Harry and his friends.

In conclusion, The Goblet of Fire is indeed one of the most vibrant of the Harry Potter films, and definitely the most complex of the four so far. The characterization has deepened, the craft has increased in exquisiteness, and the very story of Harry and his fight against evil has become more gripping, more mesmerizing, more spellbinding. With plenty of magic, whimsy humor, and eye candy, Goblet of Fire walks a tricky tightrope for the action fantasy genre, but the art direction, writing, and acting all give the film its balance.

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