Film Review: ‘Goblet of Fire’ a darker, better effort

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

8 out of 10
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Before I begin this review, I have to admit that although I am an avid reader, I have never read any of the Harry Potter books. And, although I have seen all of previous three films, I would not consider myself to be a Harry Potter fan.

Although I am a fan of good juvenile fiction, the Potter series always struck me as … well … to juvenile. The stories were a little unoriginal and dealt way too much with the fictional sport of quidditch… ugh. (I’m not a big sports fan either.)

But for some reason (yet another one of the things we do for our spouse when we are married!) I found myself standing in a VERY LONG LINE on opening night a couple of Fridays ago. In the brisk autumn air, I tried my hardest not to be annoyed by the throngs of giggly school girls who also were standing in line, gossiping loudly and obnoxiously about boys and the weird “nerd” fan adult types who made up the other large portion of Potter premiere night in-line standers.

After we finally made it into the theatre and were seated, the movie started.

Now, not being a Potter fan and not having much in the expectations department for this flick, I sat there underwhelmed… for about the first 4 minutes.

Director Mike Newell, (best known for chick-flicks starring Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts like Four Wedding and a Funeral and Mona Lisa Smile) deftly used his chick flick creds to pull the emotional strings befitting a tale involving teen angst. It’s been more than two decades – not since John Hughes’ Brat Pack-era triumphs of Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club has a film involving teens been so entertaining.

But it didn’t stop there. The action of the film was superb. The dark moments were very dark Newell even added a few frights that one would not expect in a children’s film. He made the dangers seem real – and dangerous.

The best praise I have for this film is that for a two-and-a-half hour film, it didn’t feel like a long movie. I was interested throughout.

The weakest part of the film, I’m sad to say was the writing, which was consistent with the rest of the series. I know J.K. Rowling has made millions of dollars on the back of the Potter franchise. But I found the story to be on the contrived side and a tad derivative.

The young cast and director did wonders with what they had to work with and pulled off a film that not only pleases fans. But also reaches out to people like me who do not consider themselves to be Potter fans … yet.

Overall: 8 out of 10
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Sex: Minor adult themes and mild sexual innuendo situations when Harry is taking a bath and is being “chased around the tub” by a randy spirit.
Violence: Fantasy violence. At least one well-known character dies a violent death on screen.
Special Effects: Very well done
Other: This film – darker in tone, may not be appropriate for children prone to nightmares.

Daniel Radcliffe … Harry Potter
Emma Watson … Hermione Granger
Rupert Grint … Ron Weasley
Michael Gambon … Albus Dumbledore
Ralph Fiennes … Lord Voldemort
Alan Rickman … Severus Snape
Robbie Coltrane … Rubeus Hagrid
Maggie Smith … Minerva McGonagall