The following is a spoiler-filled retro review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
After Cuarón’s excellent Prisoner of Azkaban, the Mexican film director left the franchise. The next man up, so to speak, was film director Mike Newell – known for Donnie Brasco & Four Weddings and a Funeral. Newell made a surprisingly fun film, considering Goblet of Fire was the first Harry Potter film to be rated PG-13.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, our protagonist (played by Daniel Radcliffe) returns to Hogwarts after a terrifying encounter with Death Eaters at the Quidditch World Cup. This is the year of the Triwizard Tournament, and Hogwarts is the host of the tournament. All is well with the world, until Harry is suddenly chosen to compete in the tournament by the Goblet of Fire.
Alfonso Cuarón had managed to prepare us all for a darker new chapter in the series, and Newell’s Goblet of Fire doesn’t wait long to show you just how dark it really was. We open with one of Potter’s nightmares, which sees Voldemort killing a friendly caretaker.
However, that isn’t completely representative of the entire film that one is about to watch. While both the beginning and end to the film are dark and chilling, there is a lot of fun to be had with Goblet of Fire, and I’m not just talking about Hagrid’s sweet relationship with Olympe.
I remember that this used to be my favorite film in the series, until I grew to really love Prisoner of Azkaban. But I still really love Goblet of Fire, and I think one of the reasons why is that this is a film about a competition. The three stages of the competition are all exciting and thrilling.
The second reason why I really love the film is that we get to see a lot more of the supporting characters. We’re introduced to Cho, and Neville gets a lot more to do. The students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons are exciting to ‘meet,’ so to speak. It’s also just lovely that we don’t have to endure another Dursley scene in this film. That family is the absolute worst.
It’s also just really fun to see these characters having to ask out other students. These characters are going through puberty, and it’s exciting to see Harry have a crush on Cho, just as it is wonderful to see how happy Hermione is to have Krum appreciate her during the Yule Ball. I also think that both Radcliffe and Watson give really strong performances in this film.
The final reason why I love this film, in particular, is that we finally get Voldemort in action. Ralph Fiennes is a wonderful dark Lord, and his first battle with Harry is spellbinding even if the death of Cedric Diggory is very sad. Speaking of which, I still forget that both Pattinson and David Tennant are in this film.
My only real criticism here is that there might be too much going on. The return of Voldemort, Harry’s first real encounter with him, the tournament, jealousy, relationships, polyjuice potion, Sirius Black, Harry and Ron arguing. Especially that last one bugs me. It doesn’t really go anywhere. Ron isn’t angry with Harry for a very long time, and they’re friends again before you know it.
Still, while Goblet of Fire definitely isn’t the best film in the franchise, it is a great chapter for the film series and Mike Newell did a solid job with the film. After this one, David Yates took over, and he actually took on every film remaining in the story of Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort.
8.5 out of 10
– Jeffrey Rex