Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again – another Harry Potter film! My screening was at Warner Brothers, which was convienient because I had a scoring session this afternoon, and just stayed there. This film, the fourth, is based on one of the better books: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The 2.5-hour long film has a lot going on, but seems more like a bunch of well crafted sequences held together by a very thin and simple plotline.
Much will be made about what they didn’t include in the film – but then, I had no interest in seeing a 4-hour long version of this movie (thank you very much Peter Jackson). The basics are this: Voldermort is making a return, so Harry is having bad dreams, and at the same time, he has been unwillingly entered into the Tri-Wizard Tournament, a dangerous competition involving three tasks. But is he just being set up? Find out!
The tasks are: rescue a golden egg from a dragon; rescue something important from underwater, and find the Goblet of Fire in a dangerous maze. The sequences by themselves are well done, especially the dragon sequence, and there’s also a bit of a subplot about the Christmas Ball, and will Harry be able to get a date, etc.
After all that happens, we have a climax that, like all Harry Potter films before this one, feels a bit short and deflated, because really Voldermort is still out there, for three more movies. Ralph Fiennes is Voldermort, and does a delightful job here. Oh yes, there’s also a nice bit at the Quiddich World Cup tournament at the beginning of the movie as well.
Goblet of Fire is good – it’s just missing the emotional involvement and focused plot that Prisoner of Azkaban had. Which reminds me – I loved that in this film, they kept the “geography” of the castle layout intact – there’s the rickety bridge, the owl tower, the hill above Hagrid’s hut, etc. Consistancy is a good thing, and the cinematography matched Azkaban nicely – but it still didn’t have the same crispness which that film had.
Musically, John Williams is gone – replaced with Patrick Doyle, who only uses “Hedwig’s Theme” four times in the film. He has some nice themes, and some really good musical sequences – but much of his score is relegated to the background, even in sequences where it should really stand out. Damn sound effects! Visual Effects are quite good on this one – I point out the first challenge with the dragon as a great example. I don’t know if it’s Oscar-ready though. There might be just too many options this year.
Overall, Goblet of Fire is a well done, enjoyable movie. It won’t leave you as emotionally involved as the last one, but it’s certainly better than the first two. I’m seeing it again tomorrow night (yes, I know – all these screenings! Aargh!), so I might have more comments then.