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13 reviews, 94 user ratings

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
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by Robert Flaxman

"Might just be the best one yet."
4 stars

There were, really, three main questions going into Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. One, how well would Mike Newell be able to condense a 734-page book into a film that didn't have pacing issues? Two, considering how much would have to be jettisoned and how little room there would be for exposition, how accessible would the film be to viewers not already familiar with the books? And three, how would he handle the changing tone and spirit of the material as the series begins to shift into ever-darker territory?

The answer to the first two questions is "not very," so it's a darn good thing that the answer to the third is "quite well indeed." Goblet of Fire may be easily the worst film in the series as far as accessibility to non-fans, but when we're talking about the fourth in the set, is that so wrong? The more important thing is that Newell has nailed almost perfectly the series' PG-13 shift, both in terms of the aging of the characters and the darkening of the overall material.

The film's opening, pre-Hogwarts segment is easily its worst; Newell rushes through the material so fast you can practically see a pair of scissors screeching across the screen on every cut. Indeed, nearly everything has been jettisoned from this section, which takes place at the Quidditch World Cup; one gets the feeling that the film would have opened on the Hogwarts Express if there weren't a couple of key plot elements to be revealed first. The editing jumps so obviously from one actually important point to the next that the individual moments might as well be accompanied by a blinking neon sign that says, "Remember this for later!"

After that, however, everything more or less settles down. It's not that the film isn't moving at a brisk pace, because it certainly is, but the cuts are less problematic. For example, Rita Skeeter (Miranda Richardson), the obnoxious gossip columnist, only gets two scenes but really, she could have been excised fully and it would have made little to no difference.

More importantly, the film just feels right on a tonal level. Even while breezing along, Newell and screenwriter Steve Kloves realistically capture the sense of foreboding accompanying the start of the Tri-Wizard Cup and Harry's name mysteriously emerging from the titular goblet, the tricky nature of the tasks themselves, the way in which the time between the tasks is largely consumed by a rush of newly-discovered hormones, and the final combination of hope and dread as the film winds down. The inevitable confrontation between Harry and You-Know-Who is a little disappointing, but living up to Rowling's conclusion the darkest thing she'd ever written at the time was a tall order. The key here is that Goblet of Fire isn't simply content with being a filmed run-through of the novel as the first two films largely were; it truly behaves like Rowling's world come to life, in a way that even eluded its predecessor, Prisoner of Azkaban.

That it feels like we don't get enough time in the world is due more to the sprawling nature of Rowling's work and the constraints of film than any serious fault on Newell's part. While Goblet of Fire may feel a tad overstuffed at 157 minutes, it's difficult to expect much longer from a film of this type. (Lord of the Rings may be the same basic genre, but within the category of "fantasy" the two could hardly be more different the Potter universe, while lovingly detailed, simply doesn't contain the sheer epic bombast that justifies a three-hour running time.) The only other option would have been to make two films, and while this was initially proposed, it's just as well that it wasn't done recent two-parters like Kill Bill and the Matrix sequels have shown the potential disasters of trying to make four hours of movie out of three hours of material. Goblet of Fire may be jam-packed as it is, but padded out to four hours there would have been far too much open space. Newell's compromise may not always be graceful, but it gets the job done.

Credit must also go to the stable of young actors for improving with time. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson are all in strong form here (with the exception of a few scenes where Watson does too much of her acting with her eyebrows), and much of the supporting cast is getting more to do and meeting expectations. Among the adults, Michael Gambon stands out as a continually excellent Dumbledore his tough, spirited performance works perfectly with the direction in which the books take the character.

Goblet of Fire may not be the most efficient or consistent of the Harry Potter films that honor should rest squarely with Prisoner of Azkaban but it looks the best (the CGI superiority to Azkaban, released just 18 months prior, is impressive), it's the most convincing at bringing the characters and story to life, and it faced the most daunting challenge so far with its adaptation.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is far from perfect, but in some ways it seems miraculous that it comes as close as it does. Sure, most people who haven't read the book will be in the dark on a number of the plot developments, but for the franchise's sizable fan base, the film's spirit should overwhelm concerns about the cuts (most of which are, after all, pretty understandable). Newell may not have captured Rowling's every plot detail, but his attention to the feel of her world might just have made this the best Potter movie yet.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13497&reviewer=385
originally posted: 11/26/05 01:03:52
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User Comments

3/22/15 HunterB so many fucking plot holes 1 stars
1/06/15 suck the lord of the rings beats all this shit 1 stars
7/12/12 Aimee Fontenot I really liked this movie! Very entertaining. 5 stars
1/06/11 Stack Laughably cheesy dialogue & characterization make it the weakest entry. 2 stars
8/03/10 the dork knight More streamlined than 3. Gambon rocks the house 4 stars
3/11/10 cr a good movie in the series, great action and entertaining 4 stars
1/28/10 Dane Youssef This one isn't just alive. Dark, demented, grotesque & intense. Worthy of Tim Burton. 5 stars
2/15/09 Samantha Pruitt this one is actually kind of scary, i loved it! 5 stars
7/21/08 R@veeN Ralph Fiennes is the perfect Lord Voldemort.......Voldemort rox!! 4 stars
10/25/07 Rasockie33 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was one of the best movies out of all the others i next 5 stars
7/26/07 Bitchflaps Doesn't live up to Cuaron's predecessor, but leagues better than Order of the Phoenix. 4 stars
5/21/07 nicky love it 5 stars
4/17/07 Stevo UK Maybe someone should make a cinema where this kind of film is shown, so we can avoid it. 1 stars
2/21/07 Vin I love all Harry Potter films! Daniel U're the best! 5 stars
2/12/07 johnnyfog Quit complaining or Chris Columbus will direct another one. *shudder* 4 stars
1/24/07 Cam Rowling, Your book is slow, This one is dumb as dumb can get!!! 2 stars
11/19/06 Ionicera as close to a good HP movie as we're probably going to see 4 stars
10/31/06 Anthony Feor Why did they bother after the Azkaban one 1 stars
9/01/06 Stanley Thai The best of the series. A great popcorn flick! 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist Rowling, get over yourself, you're not the next Tolkien,just as medieocre as the others. 3 stars
6/11/06 Dave Webber The weakest so far - this feels too forced 3 stars
6/10/06 Billy The First two were fantastic. The Third one was pretty average. This one is borng as hell!! 1 stars
5/07/06 Diane Perkins my daughter and I loved this movie best harry potter yet! 5 stars
5/05/06 Cuenzie Wunzie The Series has gone from steel, to plastic. 1 stars
4/28/06 Tommy McLennox I marvel at how they managed to cut big bits from the book and yet still make it faithful ! 5 stars
4/27/06 no watson is a horrible actress, nobody seems to have noticed 3 stars
4/21/06 Nicko Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 5 stars
4/03/06 Valerie Not as good as the book, and not as good as the other 3 movies. But still not too bad. 4 stars
2/02/06 van zwaar LORD OF THE RINGS PWWNS THIS SHITE 2 stars
1/31/06 fluellen best potter film yet and i cant wait for the next one which comes out in 2007 5 stars
1/28/06 Smitty Let's not just pass over the excellent FX. Under Newell's direction it is NEVER boring. 5 stars
1/19/06 daveyt more of the same plot... same old, same old. Pretty though. 3 stars
1/09/06 Jack Farnsworth Boring! 2 stars
1/04/06 jeorge the movie is great but compared to the other 3 movies, the set is much worse. 4 stars
12/27/05 tony Without a doubt, the best Potter movie yet to come! 5 stars
12/27/05 Lady I thought it was the best one the trio did yet. The boys getting hit by the book. Funny! 5 stars
12/22/05 Naomi i thought it was brilliant! can't wait for the next one :D 5 stars
12/21/05 Ethan M. Special Effects Knocked Me RIght Out Of My Seat! 5 stars
12/17/05 A.T. I love you, Emma! 5 stars
12/16/05 captain craig ho-hum film fell completely flat at the end 3 stars
12/16/05 harshita singh excellent and simply superb work by the director as well as all the actors of the movie. 5 stars
12/14/05 millersxing Quidditch World Cup scenes were cut painfully short, the film may be better for it. 4 stars
12/11/05 Matt K. stinks 1 stars
12/10/05 Heidi Better than the previous, but still disappointing. Hermione is a terrible actress! 2 stars
12/07/05 HGTV fanatic It was OK, a little drawn out and boring at times, I miss the younger version of these kids 3 stars
12/07/05 Paitmi The best ever. And people hwo hate HP id like to ask you?WHY THE HECK DO YOU WATCH IT THEN 5 stars
12/06/05 Steve Gene Siskel took the easy way out, rather then see this movie. I was'nt as lucky. 1 stars
12/05/05 JKV Reeeealy sucked. Wastef my time 1 stars
12/05/05 Andrew Emotionally vacant filmaking 2 stars
12/04/05 chacha i diont like this movie 2 stars
12/03/05 Karina Yes, things had to be cut out, but they did it just fine! 5 stars
12/03/05 Aaron Prasad Totally Great - can't wait for the next one. Go Hermione! 5 stars
11/30/05 pym Excellent in every aspect. The finest of the series so far. 5 stars
11/29/05 Zidane Absolute Crap!!! It didnt stay true too the book! Get back a decent director! 2 stars
11/29/05 J.D. Pittman III Harry Potter must DIE!!!!!!! 1 stars
11/28/05 Ming They finally got a Harry Potter movie right! Voldemort could have been more sinister though 5 stars
11/28/05 Noel Jackson The best movie so far I cant wait to see the next one 5 stars
11/28/05 Koitus AWESOME dragon scene! My "1st" Potter movie; probably "better" to have viewed the others. 4 stars
11/28/05 batool ItS simplY amazing story!!full of fantasy & enjoyement!! 4 stars
11/27/05 SG72 Best of the series and the best movie of the year! 5 stars
11/26/05 Angie Much too chopped up! 2 stars
11/26/05 Daveman I prefer both the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban 4 stars
11/26/05 rabone This is the worst of the four, this movie sucked. 1 stars
11/26/05 Arnoud Rattink Too many dead ends, like Mr. Crouch sr. 3 stars
11/26/05 dbx Brilliant! They keep getting better! 5 stars
11/26/05 bearfan2112 All I can say is.....AWESOME!!! 5 stars
11/26/05 Bullit16 The best book of the first four makes the best movie of the first four. 5 stars
11/24/05 baseball-nut Definetly worth your money & I'd highly recommend you take your kids to this one! 5 stars
11/24/05 pie weakest of series. shallow plot, shallow characters - needed more story, less flash 3 stars
11/23/05 Shanequa Eh, whateva. 3 stars
11/23/05 clare Why do i keep watching Harry Potter? i'm always left dissapointed. 3 stars
11/22/05 nednevo truly dissapointed,no elves,no bagman,and why show crouch in th riddle house! too different 3 stars
11/22/05 Lily By far the weakest of the series, rushed pacing, minimal character development, weak score 3 stars
11/22/05 Craquehead Sadly, the weakest of the 4 movies so far. 3 stars
11/21/05 KingNeutron Overall pace of the film was FAR too hasty, but you'll see it anyway. 3 stars
11/21/05 Kurtis J. Beard Great movie. Great Cast. Great Score. 4 stars
11/21/05 Smitty exhilerating. disappointed by the graveyard scene, movie as a whole exceeded expectations 5 stars
11/21/05 The Grinch People r2 jaded. Darkest HP yet, engrossing, makes you feel like a kid, Fiennes is awesome 5 stars
11/21/05 Ophidiophile Thrilling, edge of the seat action coupled with a tale of burgeoning adulthood - fabulous! 5 stars
11/21/05 LP1 Cheryl,the innuendo was in the book! Myrtle even tels Harry she likes 2 watch boys bathing! 5 stars
11/21/05 Cheryl Coddington Poor Adaptation, Shame on them for sexual innuendo with Myrtle 2 stars
11/21/05 herkos akhaion Best Potter yet 5 stars
11/21/05 Ed Avenir II awesome film. take it for what it is, and thats a good film adaptation 5 stars
11/20/05 Flounder The first Potter movie that non-Potter fans can actually get into. 5 stars
11/20/05 Littlepurch Best book, best film. They kept almost everything in and it was hilarious 5 stars
11/20/05 Pale Dim Very, very rushed; should have been 2 films. And Volie was a drama queen. 2 stars
11/20/05 Lord Jiggy Felt choppy if well done. Emotionally engaging, great effects, needed to take more time 4 stars
11/19/05 too-much-coffee mistress A++! Great Shipping! Oops... I mean, excellent movie. Really :) 5 stars
11/18/05 Jonathon Holmes The best of the four and one of the best movies this year 5 stars
11/18/05 laura My favorite story yet! Though Azkaban still comes out in the lead. 5 stars
11/18/05 Kristina Williams It was great, and catcalls abounded in the theater when Hermoine wore that dress. 5 stars
11/15/05 Erik Van Sant Azkaban still rules... this film is a worthy follow. 4 stars
11/15/05 Adrian Absolutely stunning. Without a doubt the best of the movies. 5 stars
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  18-Nov-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Oct-2010



Directed by
  Mike Newell

Written by
  Steven Kloves

  Daniel Radcliffe
  Rupert Grint
  Emma Watson
  Robbie Coltrane
  Maggie Smith
  Alan Rickman

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