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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 33.14%
Just Average: 11.63%
Pretty Crappy: 6.98%
Sucks: 6.4%

13 reviews, 94 user ratings

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
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by Peter Sobczynski

"That is a magic wand, but I actually am glad to see you."
4 stars

There are any number of creepy and nightmarish creatures on display in the eagerly awaited “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”–loathsome snakes, fire-breathing dragons, trident-swinging mermen, Robbie Coltrane–but the most terrifying monster to attack Harry and his loyal friends is the most common and ordinary one of them all–hormones. Throughout the film, our heroes are constantly bombarded by the same weird feelings and petty jealousies that strike even the lowliest muggles. By the time that Harry does battle in the final reels with his ultimate nemesis–the all-evil Lord Voldemort–he almost seems relieved–it may be bad but it sure beats the terrors of finding a girl to ask to the big formal dance.

And that, in a nutshell, is why the “Harry Potter” series has attracted such a large and devoted audience of all ages–J.K. Rowling’s books tell stories that are filled with magic and fantasy and wonder while grounding them in real human emotions that anyone can identify with. Most readers or viewers will probably never know what it is like to defeat some unholy demon with a magic wand but they certainly will recognize the strange emotions that occur when a boy finds himself looking at a longtime female pal in a new and unexplainable light–especially if she is in a formal dress. Luckily, the creators of the film version of “Goblet of Fire,” like the three previous films (“Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Chamber of Secrets” and “Prisoner of Azkaban”), understand this and have taken pains to retain that human element instead of simply tossing it in order to throw in more special effects. The result is a rare beast indeed–a fantasy epic in which the quieter, character-driven scenes are more exciting and compelling than the giant action set-pieces.

As nearly any child (and quite a few adults) could probably tell you, “Goblet of Fire” takes place during the fourth year of wizard school at Hogwarts for young Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe). This year, the school is hosting the Tri-Wizard Tournament, a grueling competition in which three wizard schools–Hogwarts, the Beauxbatons Academy and the Durmstrang Institute–each have one student represent them in a series of three incredibly dangerous contests in order to win a fabulous trophy and bragging rights at the next alumni dinner. Three are magically selected–Hogwarts has campus stud Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson), Beauxbatons contributes Fleur Delacour (Clemence Poesy) and Durmstrang is represented by Quidditch legend Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski)–but the Goblet of Fire coughs up one additional name for competition–Harry Potter.

Even though he insists that he didn’t enter his name, the rules are iron-clad and he is forced to compete against his will in tasks that pit him against a dragon, an assortment of nasty undersea creatures and a giant hedge maze that could have come straight from the Overlook Hotel. The real danger for Harry, as followers of the series know, is that Lord Voldemort, the menacing wizard who murdered Harry’s parents when he was only an infant and put a near-fatal killing spell on the baby (though he did get his famous scar as a result) before disappearing. Now Voldemort’s followers (including the returning Timothy Spall) are planning to revive him and something of Harry’s is required for a crucial part of the ritual. The school’s new Defense of Dark Arts teacher–the appropriately-named Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson)–offers to help and protect Harry from this new danger, but considering the luck Hogwarts has had over the course of the series with Defense of Dark Arts teachers (so far, they have coughed up a Voldemort minion, a werewolf and Kenneth Branagh), will he turn out to be Harry’s savior or the person who dooms him forever.

These conflicts are the sort of thing that Harry is used to. What comes as a surprise is the way that puberty has reared its ugly head on him and his friends, especially in the area of romance. Much of this is predicated by an upcoming formal dance that sets all the students–already a-twitter by the presence of comely French schoolgirls and hunky Bulgarians-on hormonal edge. Best pal Ron (Rupert Grint) is unable to work up the nerve to ask longtime crush Hermione (Emma Watson) to the dance, yet is still upset when she accepts Viktor Krum’s invitation instead. For his part, Harry becomes smitten with new student Cho Cheng (Katie Leung) but can’t his act together until it is too late either. Even Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) is driven to distraction by Beauxbatons headmistress Madame Maxime (Frances de la Tour), perhaps the only person woman enough for a man of his proportions. To add to the troubles, snoopy reporter Rita Skeeter (Miranda Richardson) has arrived to do a story on the Tri-Wizard Tournament but seems more interested in writing gossipy stories romantically linking Hermione to every eligible male in sight.

At 700+ pages, “Goblet of Fire” is the second-longest of the books to date and one of the most impressive things about Steve Kloves’ screenplay is the way that he has managed to streamline Rowling’s sprawling narrative into a clear and concise storyline without losing the heart of the story. Purists may howl at some of the missing material–we don’t get a look at Harry’s repellent foster family or Hermione’s budding attempts at social activism–but it is unlikely that most audiences will even notice their absence. There are a couple of hiccups along the way–the Rita Skeeter character is set up to be a key element but is essentially abandoned halfway through and we don’t get to discover, as we did in the book, how she came across some of her information–but this is generally a strong adaptation and by allowing a lot of the side elements that we have seen before–the moving paintings, the wacky school ghosts and the agreeably campy turns by heavily made-up members of British Equity–it demonstrates a willingness to finally let the films focus on Harry and his friends.

Another reason for this may be because the young leads have grown more and more comfortable with their roles over time and are now performers seasoned enough to take the center stage of an epic-sized extravaganza such as this. Radcliffe is especially impressive as Harry–this is a part that has grown deeper and more complex with every film and he once again shows himself up to the challenge. Although they have a little less to do this time around–understandable because of the construct of the story–Grint and Watson are still fun to watch as Ron and Hermione–the former especially shines in the scenes when he is caught up in a silly squabble with Harry that threatens their seemingly unbreakable friendship. As for the grown-up actors, returning performers Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Gary Oldman and Alan Rickman all make strong impressions in their reduced roles (the latter has one hilarious scenes, in which he silently disciplines a pair of talking students, which may be the highlight of the film) while newcomers Gleeson and Richardson fit in quite well with their surroundings. In the last reels, Ralph Fiennes makes a brief but unforgettable appearance as Voldemort that should serve as nightmare fuel for impressionable viewers of all ages. (The film is rated PG-13 and there are some moments that may simply be too intense for younger and more sensitive children, especially on a big screen.)

The film was directed by Mike Newell, a somewhat surprising choice for such a gig–he is probably best known for such character-driven films as “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Donnie Brasco” and “Mona Lisa Smile” and has never before worked on something on this scale. This choice makes sense during the more dramatic scenes, which are the real heart of the film, but it doesn’t quite pay off during the action set-pieces, where he seems to be in a little over his head. This doesn’t really hurt the film but compared to what Alfonso Cuaron, a filmmaker adept at both character pieces (“Y Tu Mama Tambien”) and flights of extraordinary visual fantasy (“A Little Princess” and “Great Expectations”), Newell’s work comes up a little short by comparison. However, it still makes for a more interesting film than the impersonal touch that Chris Columbus gave to the first two films. As it appears that the producers of the films are going to be looking for new directors each for each entry, I can only hope that they continue to lean towards people with the ability to touch the heart as well as dazzle the eye. (While he may sound like an overly obvious choice, I would still love very much to see Terry Gilliam get a hold of one of these films someday.)

Because the “Harry Potter” franchise is about the closest thing to a sure thing in Hollywood these days–especially now that the “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” sagas have concluded, it would have been so easy for the producers to take the easy way out and simply throw together two hours of special effects silliness with the knowledge that the resulting film, no matter how bad, would make back its gigantic production costs within a week or two of its release. Instead, they have taken the time to turn the properties into living and breathing movies instead of simple re-enactments of the books. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” though not quite as great as “Prisoner of Azkaban,” continues in that fine tradition. How do I know? I saw the film in a screening populated entirely by surly fellow critics on a Saturday morning and they seemed to be as enraptured with it as even the most fanatical crowd of 10-year-olds that you could possibly imagine. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

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originally posted: 11/18/05 00:31:32
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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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