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Worth A Look: 33.14%
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Pretty Crappy: 6.98%
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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 David Cornelius

"The most magical yet."
5 stars

It’s curious to think of Mike Newell, director of such small-scale works as “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Donnie Brasco,” helming the latest Harry Potter adventure. But then we come to the middle of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” in which the story takes an enchanting step away from the action. Here, Harry and his friends attend a grand winter ball, and the plot is allowed a chance to rest while we catch up with the characters. It’s sweet, it’s charming, it’s endlessly involving, and it’s an unexpected detour that helps make this the best yet of the “Potter” films.

Of course, there is still adventure, and plenty of it. Newell keeps the action zipping by at just the right pace, and the plot - which involves a contest between wizard schools in which students must compete in three dangerous competitions - is smartly designed to allow for the right increases and breaks in the action. There’s a rhythm to this “Potter” that works wonders. It’s not pushy in its set-ups, it’s not stumbling in its delivery. Everything runs smoothly here, carefully balancing broad action sequences with intimate character development.

Only in the final scenes to things hint at going off track. There’s a plot sidestep in the last twenty minutes or so, with the film breaking away from the main story and working instead with themes involving the bigger picture. This section of the film, which exists mainly to help set up the next sequel (as well as tie in ideas from earlier films), doesn’t quite connect, and yet it works, thanks to some smart writing from series scripter Steve Kloves (once again adapting the novel by J.K. Rowling - but you knew that already). Kloves makes sure to provide a slow, quietly growing build-up to this finale into earlier scenes, so when these final moments hit us, they’re not completely out of left field.

It’s a juggling act, to be sure - but then, so is the entire movie. Here we have a film that is far darker than any before it in the series, yet it is also warm, friendly, and at times, very, very funny. Let’s go back to that winter ball for a moment. Here, the series is allowed a moment to breathe. Hagrid, the gentle giant played lovingly by Robbie Coltrane, is given his own delightful subplot, in which he finds himself head over heels for a woman who’s just his size. The nerdish Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), previously seen only in throwaway moments of comic relief, is promoted here, with the dork learning to dance, getting the girl, and even helping to save the day; it’s such a sweet, tender addition to the story that one can’t help but smile any time Lewis steps on screen.

Which is part of the “Potter” magic. The producers had the foresight to long ago cast its minor roles with as much precision as its major ones. As such, supporting players such as Lewis are allowed to shine as the series progresses - and the audience is rewarded for sticking with the series. (Even Tom Felton, who, as the sniveling Draco Malfoy, was the weakest part of the first film, has grown into a dependable team player; his improvement over the years has become very satisfying.)

Of course, the series’ stars are growing as well. The trio of Daniel Radcliffe (playing Harry), Emma Watson (Hermione), and Rupert Grint (Ron) have for years now been the best young actors around. You’d think that being the most famous teenagers in the world would cause them to take it easy with their performances, but no, these three have worked hard to improve. With “Goblet of Fire,” we get the best out of all three; just as the characters are growing, becoming more complex (and, therefore, more interesting) with age, so are the actors. It would be a major gamble to give the final moments, which leave Harry an emotional wreck, to a young star - if that young star were anyone other than Radcliffe, who handles the material with remarkable ease.

On the grown-up side of things, we once more get the usual band of British delights. Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, and Timothy Spall are among the returning adults whose appearances produce nothing but smiles. New to the series for this latest adventure, we get the brilliant Brendan Gleeson as a crazed, one-eyed professor (this goes with the series tradition that the Dark Arts teacher becomes the best of the adult roles, Gleeson’s performance being both outrageously cartoonish and marvelously detailed, which is not as paradoxical as it may sound), Miranda Richardson as a sleazy gossip columnist, David Tennant as a mysterious baddie, and, in an ingenious bit of casting, Ralph Fiennes as Harry’s ultimate enemy. This cast proves once again that the “Harry Potter” films are, if nothing else, an excellent collection of some of the world’s best performers.

The cast now fully praised for another job well done, let me return to Newell. It’s a most pleasant surprise to see this filmmaker, who made a career out of personal, low-key storytelling (the closest thing to grand adventure in Newell’s catalogue is the 1992 Irish fantasy “Into the West” and a few episodes of “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles”), deliver such a sweeping epic. Here is a movie mammoth in scope - watch as Newell plays with the sheer largeness of it all, always finding a way to let the special effects work with, not against, the massive widescreen imagery. This is a breathtaking work, as gorgeous as it is involving. From the chilling underwater photography to the eeriness of the hedge maze and beyond, there’s always ample supply of eye candy on display. Right from the start, we’re floored with the size of it all, enjoying the spectacle of a Quidditch championship in the world’s largest stadium. Big, this early scene tells us, is going to be the order of the day.

And yet Newell and Kloves ensure that the epic is allowed to become an intimate one. I’ve been told by Potter fans that much of the book had to be deleted for the movie to fit into a 150-minute running time; these omissions may be noticeable to the Potter fanatic, but not to me. For someone unfamiliar with the books, I couldn’t tell a single note was missing. We get everything we should in order to enjoy watching these characters and their grand adventure evolve.

Finally, it’s time to mention the question on every parent’s mind: is “Goblet of Fire” too dark? Granted, it’s the first of the series to earn a PG-13 rating, and it is noticeably scarier in (all the right) places. But like “Revenge of the Sith,” it’s not so dark that kids won’t be able to handle it, especially if you’re the kind of parent who tends to talk with your wee ones before and after the film. Besides, it’s brave of Rowling to refuse to keep her series bright and cheerful; growing up is, after all, all about learning of the darker things in life, and the “Potter” series is all about growing up, the good and the bad. The darkness here is far from gratuitous, and it’s tempered with enough of the old charm that it fits perfectly.

Besides, it’s ultimately a necessary part of the larger unfolding story, and that’s what “Goblet of Fire” finally reveals to us. As a stand-alone feature, “Goblet of Fire” is a glorious work, but more so, it’s the film that announces to us grand plans for the seven-film arc. If Newell’s movie is any indication, then great things are ahead for Harry Potter, his friends, his enemies… and his audience.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13497&reviewer=392
originally posted: 11/21/05 21:54:29
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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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