Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Timothy Spall
Director: Mike Newell
Screenplay: Steven Kloves (J.K. Rowling - Novel)
Rated: M moderate fantasy violence
Running Time: 157 Minutes
Dark And Difficult Times Lie Ahead
Difficult times lie ahead for Harry Potter.
Beset by nightmares that leave his scar hurting more than usual, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is all too happy to escape his disturbing dreams by attending the Quidditch World Cup with his friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson). But something sinister ignites the skies at the Quidditch campsite - the Dark Mark, the sign of the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).
As the novelty of the Harry Potter series film adaptations has worn off, it was time to inject a darker and more sinister atmosphere to the format to give it a well-timed boost and that is just what 'Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire' delivers. Gone is the sweet naivety and innocence of Harry and his friends, who are growing up rapidly, and in its place is the emergence of the characters developing into more serious and wary individuals who are capable of bigger and better and are learning to think for themselves, with a little teenage angst creeping too.
After a brief opening scene where Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) dreams of something evil and wicked but is unsure of its significance, the spectacular and awesome Quidditch World Cup is presented. An evil feeling follows Harry and he longs for the safety of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as he returns for his fourth year. The Headmaster, Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), announces that Hogwarts will host the Triwizard Tournament where three students will compete in three gruelling and dangerous series of tasks. Harry is too young to compete, but somehow becomes a surprise fourth competitor. As the competition progresses, there is an all-pervasive atmosphere of a darker presence threatening Harry and his role as a gifted and talented student.
Most of the regular characters return along with some new ones including mischievous journalist Rita Skeeter (Miranda Richardson), the new Defense Against The Dark Arts professor, Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody (Brendan Gleeson), and Cho Chang (Katie Leung), who provides a romantic interest for Harry. Ralph Fiennes creates a treacherously evil Lord Voldemort in a climatic scene that may prove too scary for some of the younger fans.
It is hard to be able to translate to the big screen the intricacies of the novel, which accounts for the lengthy running time at 157 minutes, but at times, there are scenes that seem to be superfluous in length. The lead-up to the first event in the Triwizard Tournament takes far too long, although much of this time is spent developing the characters, and then the final two events arrive quite quickly without much introduction at all which almost feels like they were hurried through in order to get to Harry's ultimate showdown with Lord Voldemort. This is perhaps one of the only uneven aspects of an otherwise eye-popping "how-did-they-do-that?" movie.
If you are not already a die-hard fan of the franchise, it's the special effects that really astound and provide a good reason to see 'Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire'. From fire-breathing dragons, the countless magical acts, the amazing Quidditch World Cup scenes, along with the challenges presented in the Triwizard Tournament there are so many opportunities where the special effects really excel, but the story is still essentially more of the same, just much more ominous, darker and intense.
Rating : ****