HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
It's his fourth year at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), but he is worried by bad dreams of two men plotting a murder. Then, when Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) invites him to go to the Quidditch World Cup, strange things happen and the Dark Mark makes a dramatic appearance. Back at Hogwarts, everyone finds out that the school is hosting the TriWizard Tournament, a competition between Hogwarts, Beauxbatons Academy for girl magicians, and the tough guys at the Durmstrang Institute. When Harry is mysteriously entered in the deadly contest, even though at 14 he is under the age limit of 17, he faces the challenge of his life, while a new teacher shows unusual interest in him.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Growing up is not an easy task, as Harry and his friends discover in this multi-faceted adventure in fantasyland. The film's M rating is appropriate warning to parents of little children, as the film's sustained tension is not mere kids' stuff. Even allowing for dragons to be a standard part of a child's imagination arsenal, there are scary things in this film that come from less obvious sources. And the mood is - for the most part - intense.
When it isn't, there are chuckles at the behaviour of teens at the beginnings of puberty, like tentative flirtation, or eye-boggling, gob(let) smacking magic. And there is much of that. The fantasy settings, enhanced with production design landscapes, are superb, and the buildings are all out of the most detailed fairy tale accessories store. Combining these rich images with a multitude of striking effects and a rich and multi-dimensional soundtrack, Goblet of Fire burns with on-screen value.
Mike Newell, keen to thrust his characters up front, does a great job in guiding the elaborate plot (which could well have been trimmed of the entire quiddich sequence without loss of clarity) and our three young heroes are growing into their older roles with ease and control. There are thrills and surprises in store, as well as a couple of bitter sweet relationship subplots, and even a tragic, serious death.
The best part, I think, is that this fourth Harry Potter film goes further than its predecessors in setting out a moral map that reaffirms the values of human decency, loyalty and selflessness - and does so with great flair and endless entertainment.
Review by Louise Keller:
With its considerably darker tone and often disturbing imagery, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the best of the series to date, offering a complex film that will without doubt please the fans. The production design is spectacular as is the lingering sense of reality achieved by director Mike Newell, who injects a new sense of gravitas. At over 2 1/2 hours, the film drags at times, although Harry Potter fans will probably not complain. But those who have not seen the previous films or read the books may be somewhat confused, as this fourth film does not go over old ground, nor is it totally self-contained.
It seems like an eternity ago that young Harry Potter arrived for his first and second year at Hogwarts under the directing baton of Chris Columbus. There was a deepening of the tone when Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron came onboard, and now Newell raises the stakes considerably. It's as though screenwriter Steven Kloves (who adapted each of the previous films from J.K. Rowling's books) has added additional layers of density to the characters.
By now we know what life is like at Hogwarts. The uniqueness of items like the astonishing floating candles, the quiddich game and the richness of the surroundings are taken for granted and not displayed as a novelty. They become even more memorable - like the prefects' bathroom, where a myriad of taps channel foamy water into a large, extravagant pool over which a mermaid in a stained glass window gazes. It's not in order to solve the riddle of the dragon egg that we empathise with Harry as he immerses himself into the water. It's more to do with his self-consciousness that the giggly ghost Moaning Myrtle is seeing him without his clothes.
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have all grown with the roles and their Harry, Ron and Hermione are familiar with untangling the ropes of the magic world. It is their vulnerability and shyness with the opposite sex that we can best relate to. Asking a girl for a date for the upcoming Yule Ball ('well mannered frivolity' says Maggie Smith's Minerva McGonagall) seems a more daunting task than being chased by a fire-breathing dragon. Grint is especially endearing as Ron and Harry experience hiccups in their relationship.
Ralph Fiennes gives a chilling performance as Lord Voldemort, in a haunting metamorphosis. We encounter the dangers of the Triwizard tournament, where we come face to face with dragons, a hazardous underwater challenge and a terrifying journey through a maze. Fortunately, even the dazzling special effects and stunts can't overshadow the key themes of friendship and loyalty.
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HARRY POTTER SPLASH PAGE
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (M)
CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Eric Sykes, Timothy Spall, David Tennant, Mark Williams, James Phelps, Bonny Wright, Jeff Rawle, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Robert Pattinson, Stanislav Ianevsky, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Miranda Richardson, Gary Oldman
PRODUCER: David Heyman
DIRECTOR: Mike Newell
SCRIPT: Steven Kloves (novel by J. K. Rowling)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Roger Pratt
EDITOR: Mick Audsley
MUSIC: Patrick Doyle (John Williams themes)
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stuart Craig
RUNNING TIME: 157 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 1, 2005
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