It is hard to believe another Harry Potter movie is upon us already, but here it is and as this franchise goes they just keep getting better. I guess I should clarify that statement a bit. As far as story goes Prisoner of Azkaban remains my favorite Potter flick, but as far as acting and excitement goes Goblet of Fire is a whirlwind.
The youngsters Radcliffe, Grint and Watson who make up Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger respectively have improved by leaps and bounds from film to film and Goblet of Fire is no different as the trio turn in there best performances yet. You may not think that means a whole lot, but it does when it comes down to crucial scenes. Scenes such as Hermione crying on the steps of the Yule Ball and Potter finally having his face off with Lord Voldemort played by Ralph Fiennes. Honestly this movie has it all, and if it wasn’t for a few plot, let’s say sidesteps, this would have been the best Potter yet.
As for the sidesteps I speak of I can’t go into too much detail since this was the first time I went into a Harry Potter movie without reading the book in advance, which was a Tri-Wizard task in itself since I do like these books, but I wanted a fresh perspective. However, given the length of J.K. Rowling’s fourth novel in her franchise of books, it seems like they really had to cut down on the story, yet the movie still comes out at two hours and 37 minutes, but you won’t notice it. Unfortunately though these cuts do make it seem like there was some story told, we just weren’t able to see it. Honestly I would have preferred a four hour version with a 20 minute intermission. This movie was packed with wizardry goodness and I saw no reason to stop as it begins with the Quidditch World Cup, moves to the Tri-Wizard Tournament then deals with its dose of evil to cap it off. There was never a dull moment.
The casting choice of Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort was perfect. Even though his role was limited the mere fact that Fiennes will be filling the shoes of Voldemort in the upcoming films is nothing short of exciting. Since I have not yet read “Order of the Phoenix” I am not sure what kind of a role Voldemort plays, but based on the way this one ends I am sure it is going to be good.
A couple more nice additions were Miranda Richardson as Daily Prophet “journalist” Rita Skeeter and Brendan Gleeson as Dark Arts professor Mad Eye Moody. While Skeeter adds a bit of whimsy and comic relief, Mad Eye adds a bit of both as he turns Draco Malfoy into a ferret and then plays an important role in the overall plot, but that is all I am saying!
Oh wait, I have to mention the new schools, the Durmstrangs and Beauxbatons. These two schools are studying at Hogwarts for the year thanks to the Tri-Wizard Tournament and they are a distinct metaphor for how our youngsters are growing up. While Harry has his eyes set on Cho Chang (Katie Leung), the beauties of the Beauxbatons still manage to catch his eye, and as for Miss Granger she goes straight to the top as her heart finds its way to Durmstrang leader Viktor Krum. Yup, the kids of Hogwarts are growing up and we are here to witness it.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire continues the fun of movie going and shows us what movies are all about. The Potter films are growing up with its audience as this one goes a bit darker, which is why it gained its PG-13 rating. It is a true testament to making sure the best story is told in the best way possible.