Science fiction and fantasy                                            



Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

directed by Mike Newell

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire poster  
Harry Potter books have always lost something in their translation to the big screen. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is no exception. With more than enough material for two long films, it was always prone to suffer more than most from over-compression.

Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts is also the year when the hormones really kick in. We see love start to blossom between the young wizards, and with it come jealousies and fallings-out.

At the World Quidditch Cup we get to see the champion seeker Viktor Krum for the first time. This scene involves some spectacular CGI with the crowd movements and the team displays. But the fun is short-lived, and the mood soon blackens when the camp is attacked by Voldemort's Death Eaters.

Back at Hogwarts, the school year is dominated by the Triwizard Tournament. It's a series of dangerous magical challenges designed to test the mettle of one champion from each of the three participating wizarding schools. Only pupils over 17 can put their names forward, but somehow the 14-year-old Harry finds himself chosen as a second Hogwarts champion.

Yet again the famous Harry Potter finds himself the centre of attention. Harry soon finds that fame has its drawbacks, alienating Ron and bringing Harry to the attention of Rita Skeeter. Rita is a reporter for the Daily Prophet, and the kind of sensationalist hack who never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. Unfortunately Rita's own story is one that got pruned for the film version, and although she publishes lie after lie in the Prophet we never get to see her get her comeuppance.

This is just one of the topics that the film makes tantalising hints of, but never fully explains. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire also skims over the love affair between Hagrid and Madame Beauxbatons, and the Veela and their strange influence on the men of Hogwarts. No mention is made of the house elves and SPEW. In a movie with a shorter running time than some of its predecessors, it's a shame that more of the book was not included.

The film does make a big feature of the Yule Ball, and the build-up to this event. It's a moment of glamour and light in a movie that's a shade darker than Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The rejuvenated, revived Voldemort makes his first appearance, and Ralph Fiennes really hams it up as the snake-like villain.

David Tennant puts in a manic performance as Barty Crouch Junior, although it's quite brief. What is remarkable is how the film manages to maintain a coherent storyline that makes sense to those who have not read the books, rather than descending into a jumble of brief and disconnected scenes. But it does succeed, thanks to a solid script and some good performances from its young leads.

Film Details

Year: 2005

Categories: Films

  Fantasy

Classification: 12

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4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Mike Newell