Aug 24, 2012

[Movies] Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

It will sound a bit weird, but this will actually be my last Harry Potter movie review, only because I had already posted reviews for the movies after this one prior to this little housekeeping activity. And that sentence was less than ideal, but I'll leave it there for now.

This fourth movie always felt like the big jump off the deep end for the series - heck, the same situation applies to the books. Beyond the fact that almost everyone decided to manifest growing up by having longer and larger hairstyles, the tone of the overall narrative also takes are rather startling turn at this point and thus everything changes for then long term.

The third book / movie sort of ended on a relatively hopeful not with Sirius Black now fulfilling his role as Harry's godfather. But in this book, it seems the joy from that reunion of sorts is completely overshadowed by the growing darkness that threatens both the wizarding world and the Muggle one. And this is how the story manages to up the ante, stop with the games and bring things to a new level of seriousness.

Synopsis: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth installment of the Harry Potter movie franchise as based on the fourth book in the related series of novels by J.K. Rowling. It was directed by Mike Newell with a screenplay by Steve Kloves.

Despite strange nightmares involving Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) himself, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) does his best to stay positive. And it certainly helps that the Weasleys have invited him and Hermione (Emma Watson) to watch the Quidditch World Cup with them. And all seems well until Voldemort's Death Eaters attack and cast the infamous Dark Mark over the area.

And this isn't the best time for increased danger especially with Hogwarts hosting the Tri-Wizard Tournament this year. This activity involves the three schools of magic to engage in a competition of magical skill through the three champions selected by the magical artifact known as the Goblet of Fire. And surprisingly enough, the Goblet doesn't just select three champions - it also selects young Harry Potter to compete in the trials. And it looks like his main support apart from his friends is Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson), the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

This movie really had a coming-of-age feel for many reasons, which made sense since it is the mid-point for a lot of the stories. Beyond the usual progression in magical skill for our young wizards and witches, we also have them growing in many other ways as they become increasingly complex individuals. We have the friction from the budding romance between Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione. We have Harry also coming to terms with his feelings for Cho Chang (Katie Leung). And we have everyone being made to face very adult issues with the return of Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters - even if the Ministry is keen on denying such "rumors".

And no, I won't discuss how the movie ends. But that's definitely the most adult shift of all.

It's interesting how the shift in the overall tone of the series has been somewhat complimented by the changes in directors after Chris Columbus left the seat vacant after the second movie. As the story has grown more and more complex, so have the directors done their best to accomodate the changes and bring the entire narrative forward towards the darker times ahead. We also knew that the battle lines would be drawn eventually and I suppose this movie marks the rough beginnings of the "war" as a whole.

Being a Doctor Who fan, it was quite the pleasant surprise to see David Tennant in the role of Barty Crouch Jr. And yes, I truly enjoyed Gleeson's performance as Mad-Eye Moody, which did justice to how the quirky character was represented in the books. This is not to say that everyone else did a bad job of things - I just wanted to cite these particular actors for now.

Bringing the other wizarding schools to life was also a lot of fun. I don't think any of us will ever forget how the visiting schools entered the Grand Hall with grand style as well. There was the elegance of the girls of the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic as contrasted against the seeming athletic prowess and sheer strength of the Durmstrang Institute. Certainly a nice bit of showmanship right there.

Then of course there was the Tri-Wizard Tournamet itself, which must have taken a lot of planning. While there were other parts of teh book that did not make it to the final movie, I can appreciate the need to edit if only for how well the tournament was represented on-screen. Each of the challenges certainly presented most interesting trials for the various contestants to face and the end result was quite the believable - and rather frankly scary - series of magical challenges.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire made for one of the more compelling movies in the series and certainly did the massive book plenty of justice in is representation. Thus the movie rates 5 disturbing memories of Albus Dumbledore out of a possible 5.

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