Conversations with the cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint
Preparing for the Yule Ball
Reflections on the Fourth Film
Triwizard Tournament, Dragon Arena: Dragon Challenge, Harry vs. the Horntail: The First Task, Meet the Champions
Triwizard Tournament, Lake: Lake Challenge, In Too Deep: The Second Task
Triwizard Tournament, Maze: Maze Challenge, To the Graveyard and Back Challenge, The Maze: The Third Task, He Who Must Not Be Named
DVD-ROM features: EA Game Demo, Hogwarts Timeline, Web Interactivity
Shortly before starting their fourth year at Hogwarts, Harry, Hermione, and Ron attend the Quidditch World Cup. However, the festivities are soon broken up by the Death Eaters, a group of wizards and witches loyal to the evil Lord Voldemort. They frighten the magical world and foreshadow the return of their wicked master, an event confirmed by Harry’s recent nightmares.
Upon returning to Hogwarts, the students learn that they are to host the Tri-Wizard Tournament. It’s a wizard competition between Hogwarts and two other international wizard schools. It is so dangerous that only the older students are allowed to participate. However, as the three names are selected, Harry Potter’s name is also selected despite the fact that he didn’t enter. Outmatched and unprepared, Harry finds himself thrown into the dangerous game. It doesn’t help matters that his forbidden entry earns him the scorn of Ron and his fellow Hogwarts students.
But as Harry performs well in the competition (with the help of the new professor named ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody) he finds himself the object of romance among the Hogwarts girls. Will fame and love keep him from realizing that he’s being manipulated in the game? And how does his entry into the Tri-Wizard tournament play into the return of Lord Voldemort?
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images.
Each “Harry Potter” film has a few things that make it particularly memorable and “Goblet of Fire” is no exception. Years down the road I’ll remember this movie for four main scenes. The first is the dragon challenge in the Tri Wizard tournament. The dragon effects are spectacular and the scene where Harry Potter tries to fly and escape it is as exciting as any action scene in any movie this year. They really came up with a nice design on the dragon. The second scene I’ll really remember is the underwater challenge where Potter faces off with the Mer-People. They gave mermaids a horrific new design and a unique shark-like tail. The final result is a great effects-filled scene that is quite intense.
The third scene in the film that I’ll really remember is the ballroom scene. It’s the first time in the series that romance really comes into play and the young love between all the characters was well played. The awkwardness between the boys and girls was spot on with an added twist of magic. There was just the right mix of comedy and romance. It was also interesting to see both a formal dance and a rock band from the wizard world back to back with each other. After all, these are teenagers.
The final scene that really stayed with me is Harry’s confrontation with Lord Voldemort played by Ralph Fiennes. He’s in the film less that 10 minutes, but he’s absolutely chilling the entire time. Through makeup and some CGI, he has no nose and the effect is incredibly eerie. But it’s his performance that really leaves an impact. He absolutely oozes villainy and you start to believe he could take on Darth Vader for “bad guy of 2005”. Casting Fiennes was really brilliant and I look forward to seeing him more in the series.
As for the rest of the cast, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint all return again in fine form. If you compare their performances now to those of the first film the difference is amazing. It’s really strange to see them grow up on screen. Michael Gambon returns as Albus Dumbledore and I have to say that this is the liveliest I’ve ever seen the character. He jumps around, yells loudly, dances, and even shoves Harry at one point into some stuff in his office. Alan Rickman also returns as Severus Snape. He’s barely in the movie, but when he does appear he does steal the show in a scene with no dialogue from him. Among the new cast members, Brendan Gleeson is a real stand-out as Alastor ‘MadEye’ Moody. Leave it to Gleeson to pull off playing a crazy character with a comically large eye as someone that is sympathetic and likable.
As much as I enjoyed the film, I had a few minor nitpicks. First of all, director Mike Newell did a good job, but he didn’t leave quite the imprint on the Potter franchise that previous director Alfonso Cuarón did. Cuarón gave Harry Potter 3 a darker tone and he showed new corners of Hogwarts that were previously unseen. By contrast, this film much more resembles the lighter tone of the previous two movies and no new locations are really explored (except for the underwater realm). I think Newell lost the opportunity to do something new.
There were also a few cringe-worthy moments. When Fleur Delacour and her fellow French students enter Hogwarts, they do this silly little dance and sighing that comes across as a bit odd. There’s also a scene where Moaning Myrtle flirts with Harry while he’s in the bathtub. It’s funny at first but drags on for an uncomfortable amount of time to the point of being creepy. Also, when Voldemort is first shown, he’s a withered up, freaky looking baby-thing that looks like a bad rubber puppet. It really hurts any intimidation built up by the character up to that point. Fortunately Fiennes quickly makes you forget it. There are other moments here and there, but overall it’s forgivable.
Parents of young kids will also want to heed the PG-13 rating. The movie is quite intense at times. It plays on basic fears like drowning, falling from heights, getting stabbed, and monsters. Unless you’re ready to send the kids to therapy for nightmares, you might save this one for them until they’re older. There’s a bit of language, too, that you probably don’t want them repeating.
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is sure to please both young and old Harry Potter fans.
A few additional featurettes also supplement these sections. You’ll find “Meet the Champions” which follows the new characters through a typical day on the set. You see them do everything from eat to shooting scenes. “He Who Must Not Be Named” features an interview with Ralph Fiennes and an in-depth look at the face of Lord Voldemort. “Preparing for the Yule Ball” shows the dance training for the actors, the elaborate set, and the costumes. “Reflections on the Fourth Film” features all the young cast members that have appeared in all four films. They talk about director Mike Newell, Brendan Gleeson (the only mention of him in the bonus features), and what it’s like to come back for each film. The featurettes are rounded out by “Conversations with the Cast,” an in-depth interview with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.
One of the main highlights is the additional scenes. There aren’t many, but a couple are noteworthy. You get to see the full musical number by the rock group at the Yule Ball. You also see the Hogwarts students sing the school song at the beginning of the film. Another scene shows Snape catching students making out in the carriages in the parking lot. The rest of the scenes are relatively minor and show Harry trying to ask out Cho Chang, some discussion between our young heroes, and other such stuff.
The bonus features are completed with a Theatrical trailer and DVD-ROM features including an EA Game Demo, a Hogwarts Timeline, and Web Interactivity. Oddly, there’s no commentary with this DVD.
The Bottom Line: