John Reviews Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I haven’t been a big fan of the Harry Potter film franchise at all. I thought the first 2 were ok… but the third one was just a total steaming pile of dung. Oh I hated it.

So here comes Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth installment. Harry’s fourth summer and the following year at Hogwarts are marked by the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament, in which student representatives from three different wizarding schools compete in a series of increasingly challenging contests. Harry unintentionally ends up being selected for the Tri Wizard tournament in a series of disturbing events that all lead to one dreadful truth… the Dark Lord Volemort is preparing to return.

THE GOOD:
The direction! If you’ve ever doubted the total importance of the director in a film… then just look at the differences between Mike Newell (The Goblet of Fire) and Alfonso Cuarón (Prisoner of Azkaban). Where Azkaban was sloppy, disjointed and erratic, Goblet of FIre is tight, focused and committed to the proper balance of character development, side plots and overall story progression. It was a refreshing change from the third film.

Young Social Awkwardness. One of the best side stories of the film is the big dance. The awkwardness of the young characters trying to find dates, the right thing to wear and everything else that goes along with it was wonderful. Very funny stuff and it added the proper amount of “light heartedness” to an otherwise dark and grim story.

The Visual Effects. The effects in the first 3 Potter films have been decent. Some shots have been horrible, and a few were wonderful but overall the haven’t been fantastic. The folks at Industrial Light and Magic really kicked it up several notches for The Goblet of Fire finally creating a visual sense of awe and wonder that have been missing from the first three films so far.

The Secondary Characters. A mark of a good film is when a character makes an impression on you. A very rare thing in film is when a minor secondary character makes an impression on you. For instance, the visiting Hungarian student who represents his school in the Tri Wizard Tournament, Viktor Krum, made me want to run out and grab a long fur hungarian/russian coat and start carrying a cool walking staff. The guy didn’t have any more than 4 lines in the entire film, and yet carried major significance. The same can be said for almost all the side characters in the film. Outstanding!

THE BAD:
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. Don’t get me wrong, miss Watson clearly has the most raw talent and overall potential out of any of the young Harry Potter cast. However, she’s like a young wizard with all the power of the universe at her disposal who hasn’t yet learnd how to master that power. Watson has far more pure talent than her maturity and limited experience know how to control properly. The result is that several of Hermione Granger’s scenes feel over-acted… making them a touch unbelievable. But give this young woman a few years… she is not only going to be mind blowingly attractive when she’s older… but she will also be a major Hollywood talent.

OVERALL:
This is the first Harry Potter film that I can say I walked out of thoroughly impressed. This is a WONDERFUL film. It’s not perfect, and there is still room for improvement, but you will have a great time watching it. I’m happy to recommend it. I give Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire a solid 8.5/10.

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