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Rewind Reviews - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

by Andrew Siddall. Published Tue 26 May 2020 14:39, last updated: 18/11/20
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

There are very few stories that capture the imaginations of people across the globe of all ages in the way JK Rowling’s Harry Potter did. And with the series following Harry and his friends getting older, the series began to mature, with this being the first to earn a 12A certificate. In this Rewind Review, we take a look back at Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The fourth entry in the series sees Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry competing against two other schools in the Triwizard Tournament, but when Harry’s name emerges from the Goblet of Fire, he must now face a deadly dragon, fierce water demons and an enchanted maze in a gruelling battle for glory.

Returning as the boy wizard is Daniel Radcliffe (The Woman in Black), who certainly has grown into the role. He seems more comfortable as Harry and rises to the more physically challenging plot. Harry is very out of his depth throughout this film, whether that’s trying to talk to his crush Cho Chang, or dealing with the three tasks, and Daniel does a great job of bringing that to life.

Rupert Grint (Snatch) makes his return as Harry’s best friend Ron Weasley. Ron is quite different in the first half of the film, with him being angry at Harry. This does feel like a sharp turn and could have been developed a bit more. However, when Ron is back to his usual self, he’s great and much funnier than before.

Emma Watson (Little Women) also returns as know-it-all Hermione Granger. Like the other two, she has matured into the role and gets to explore a different side to her character. It is disappointing we don’t get to see her biggest and best developments translated from the book, but she still has a good role to play, and gets an incredibly memorable moment during the Yule Ball.

In this film we are introduced to the three champions competing against Harry. Cedric Digory (Robert Pattinson), Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy), and Viktor Krum (Stanislav Yanevski). They don’t get a lot of time to develop, which can take away some of the tension during the tasks, but we still get a good idea of who they are in the short time they’re on screen.

Following tradition, we are introduced to the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody, played by Brendan Gleeson (Paddington 2). He’s a far more intimidating and aggressive teacher than the previous three. Brendan and the make-up department have done a fantastic job of bringing the character to life.

The teachers have always had an important role to play in the franchise, and this is the first time we truly get to see them trying to figure out what’s happening at the school on their own. Aside from one very out of character moment from Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), each of the main teachers, such as Professor McGonagall (Dame Maggie Smith) and Professor Snape (the legendary Alan Rickman) gets their own moment to stand out.

Unlike the previous adventures, this film deals with some unseen antagonists. In this movie we are introduced to the Death Eaters, followers of Lord Voldemort. They’re mysterious and not focused on much, but they are set up very well as genuine threats to Harry and his friends, including a pre-Doctor Who David Tennant.

Directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral), this movie is a strange mix of epic fantasy and rom-com, which does work surprisingly well. The film does do a good job of balancing the light and dark stories in a cohesive way, but it does move fast.

At the time of release, the Goblet of Fire book was the biggest of the lot and featured loads of subplots, including a trip to the Hogwarts kitchens and the formation of S.P.E.W. So ram packed with detail and storyline - you might need to brush up on the Hogwarts house quiz first. With so much in this story, the initial plan was to split it into two films, but ultimately, it remained just the one.

This does mean there are things missing or skimmed over, some of which is pivotal to later developments. The movie feels more streamlined with the Triwizard Tournament at the centre of events, but it also manages to incorporate enough world building to keep fans happy.

This movie really expands on the Wizarding World and takes us to places we never even thought we would visit, such as the bottom of the mysterious black lake, the claustrophobic enchanted maze and the spectacular Quidditch World Cup. The movie feels much bigger and makes the Wizarding World actually feel like a world.

The only downside is that we don’t get to stay in these places for very long, most notably, the Quidditch World Cup, in which we only see the start, but never see who wins. The pacing is very fast in an effort to get through as much as possible, which hurt both Order of the Phoenix and the Half-Blood Prince.

One thing that the Harry Potter franchise has excelled at is its use of special effects. Goblet of Fire does rely a lot more heavily on effects to bring a multitude of creatures and environments to life, but there are no weak moments.

Everything still looks pretty good and holds up quite well, especially the dragon and black lake sequences.

With the cast and characters all growing older, the story and tone has also matured. Goblet of Fire feels much darker and more atmospheric than previous instalments. From the look, settings and haunting nightmare sequences, it’s clear the darkness is starting to close in, and the threat of death is closer than ever before.

This darkening move is actually reflected in the score by Patrick Doyle (Thor). This is the first movie not to be scored by John Williams, which is obvious from the very beginning. It sounds great and much more epic than the other scores, but has no real standout tracks, making this one feel a bit weaker and not as memorable, aside from a rock concert segment by a cameoing Jarvis Cocker.

With this being the middle chapter in Harry’s journey, everything begins to change. From the darker atmosphere to the maturing stories. This is where Harry Potter properly moves away from kid’s territory and closer to young adult.

Overall, this is a solid but rushed adaptation. It’s more streamlined but still tells a good story that has matured along with its cast. This is a good and essential part of Harry’s journey and a must watch for all Potter fans.

Purple Revolver rating: 4/5. “Dark and difficult times lie ahead.”


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