Thursday Night Movie Club
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: November 18, 2005

Director: Mike Newell
Daniel Radcliffe
Emma Watson
Rupert Grint
Michael Gambon
Robbie Coltrane
Maggie Smith
Alan Rickman
Brendan Gleeson
Gary Oldman
Robert Hardy
Roger Lloyd-Pack
Katie Leung
Predrag Bjelac
Stanislav Ianevski
Frances de la Tour
Clémence Poésy
Miranda Richardson
Robert Pattinson
Shirley Henderson
Ralph Fiennes
Jason Isaacs
Tom Felton
Timothy Spall
Adrian Rawlins
Geraldine Somerville
Harry Potter
Hermione Granger
Ron Weasley
Albus Dumbledore
Rubeus Hagrid
Minerva McGonagall
Severus Snape
Alastor 'MadEye' Moody
Sirius Black
Cornelius Fudge
Barty Crouch
Cho Chang
Igor Karkaroff
Viktor Krum
Madame Olympe Maxime
Fleur Delacour
Rita Skeeter
Cedric Diggory
Moaning Myrtle
Lord Voldemort
Lucius Malfoy
Draco Malfoy
James Potter
Lily Potter
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie poster.
Photo of several Hogwarts teachers and guests.As young Harry Potter grows up, his movie adventures follow suit with the first PG13 rated film in the series. No wonder too as there is a murder and an attack from Lord Valdemort's legion of Death Eaters all within the first few minutes. Life is getting serious and seriously dangerous for Harry.

Harry is now 14 and in his fourth year at school. For this go-around, Hogwart's has been selected to host the legendary Tri-Wizard Tournament. Three wizards are selected from the Wizarding schools to compete for eternal glory. The wizards will face three dastardly tasks that will test their skills as well as their character. In the end, there can be only one.

My first regret about the growing complexity of the novels and how they are becoming more difficult to translate to the screen revolves around the tournament. Unfortunately, no background information regarding past tournaments is given. Nothing is mentioned whether the three tasks are different each time or even who the past champions are. Like Harry, the viewer just has to follow along and watch events unfold.

Each willing contestant places his or her name into the Goblet of Fire. The Goblet then selects one champion to represent each competing school. Due to the inherent dangers in the tournament, no one under the age of 17 is allowed to compete. Hogwart's champion is the very talented Cedric Diggory. Fleur Delacour represents the all-girls school from France, the Beauxbatons (sp). The third champion is the Quiddich specialist, Victor Krum. But a much bigger surprise awaits. The Goblet mysteriously erupts with a fourth champion, none other than Harry Potter.

Suspision surrounds Harry. Everyone wonders how he put his name into the Goblet against the safeguards put in place by Headmaster Albus Dumbledor. Since the Goblet's selection represents a binding contract, Harry must compete in the tournament.

To Harry's dismay, everyone at Hogwart's has turned against him. Even his faithful friend Ron is bitter at Harry's growing fame and celebrity. It seems reasonable that the great Harry Potter has once again succeeded in breaking the rules.

Although each contestant must face the challenges alone, Harry finds a steady supply of help from Goundskeeper Hagrid, Neville Longbottom, Hermione, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teach Mad-Eye Moony, and even Ron pitches in. All of this help might be construed as cheating. But since Harry is underage, everyone wants to keep Harry from getting himself killed.

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry PotterWhile Goblet of Fire is a darker movie than its predecessors, it is also funnier and more touching. Thanks to the Tri-Wizard Tournament Ball, Harry, Ron and Hernione are introduced to the opposite sex and all of the pains associated with dating. Harry suddenly finds himself attracted to Cho Chang, another Hogwart's student. Although she appears to like Harry, she already has a date to the Ball.

New to the helm is director Mike Newell. His direction doesn't bring with it a personal/particular style but the action and dream sequences are quiet stirring. He borrows the visual look from Prisoner of Azkaban, which isn't a problem since the visual look is based more in reality. Hogwarts, as well as the World Cup of Quiddich, look like real places. The first two installments had more of a fantasy look.

As the stories evolve into deeper complexity, the adult actors screen time dimishes, with the exception of Brendon Gleeson. He takes every opportunity given him to steal every scene he is in. "Mad-Eye" may be a nickname, but the character is clearly not all there. From his first appearance when he sneaks a drink from a hip flask, he is very different from the other teachers, imbibing in apparently hidden liquor.

Speaking of short screen time, Ralph Fiennes is absolutely wonderful as the malicious Lord Valemort, reincarnated to flesh and bone through his servant Wormtail (Peter Petitgrew). Needless to say, since there is a fifth movie scheduled, Harry survives his encounter with Valemort, but not without fresh scars. The scene is not for the very young in the audience.

Michael Gambon as Albus DumbledoreNow for some personal regrets about the complexity of the movie. The opening dream sequence is wonderful, but the face of the third man in the room is indistinguishable. He does pop up later in the movie but the immediate connection was not made until a second viewing. There is no explanation made of the events at the Quiddich World Cup. In fact, this scene is all but ignored for the rest of the movie. Who is the winner of the Tri-Wizard Tournament? Although the event ends in disaster, no champion is named. In fact, the tournament quickly becomes an afterthought at the conclusion.

It is a testament to the writing of J.K. Rowling that the movies continue to surprise and delight. Throughout The Goblet of Fire, elements of the previous three movies come into play, most notably here is the use of the Polyjuice potion from Chamber of Secrets. The series is in good hands. I look forward to reading the novel to fill in the gaps as well as anxiously awaiting the next installment. How long the three main actors can remain playing these characters remains to be seen.