November 18, 2005


Harry Potter IV: A Bright, Steady Flame (Desson Thomson, November 18, 2005, Washington Post)

Your first question about "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" shouldn't necessarily be about how good it is. (Hold on to your pointy hats, the news is good.) It should be: How much time do I have? At close to three hours, the film would work well as part of an overnight package: See Harry battle fire-breathing dragons and denizens of the deep, then check into our lovely downtown Marriott!

But the fourth Potter film is otherwise probably the most engaging Potter film. Director Mike Newell and screenwriter Steve Kloves (who has written all four) know their primary responsibility: to create three-ring spectacles like the whiz-bang, airborne game of Quidditch, or Harry's mighty tussles with otherworldly creatures. But they also allow time for the characters to breathe a little -- you know, when they're not busy casting spells.

'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire': After three attempts, the latest film in the series finally captures the magic that made J.K. Rowling's books such a phenomenon. (Kenneth Turan, November 17, 2005, LA Times)
Viewed as a whole, the Potter movies are shaping up to be a fascinating experiment in big-budget filmmaking. Using the same J.K. Rowling source material, the same screenwriter (the excellent Steve Kloves), largely the same cast but a variety of directors, the Potter pictures have ended up reflecting the sensibility of their filmmaker more than that of the author.

With the reliably commercial Chris Columbus in charge, the first two Potters were soulless but safe-as-houses copies of the books.

The gifted Alfonso Cuarón attempted to escape the bonds of the conventional in "The Prisoner of Azkaban" but succeeded only in part.

It has fallen to the veteran Mike Newell, eager, in his own words, "to break out of this goody-two-shoes feel," to make the first Harry Potter film to be wire-to-wire satisfying.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Peter T. Chattaway, 11/17/05, Christrianity Today)
Things get more emotional, and more intense, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is the fourth and middle installment in J. K. Rowling's seven-part series, and it is, in a sense, the fulcrum on which the entire saga rests. Each of the previous stories concerned a mystery that took place over the course of an entire school year, but despite a few loose threads here or there, the mysteries were basically resolved in the end. This new story starts off as just another adventure, more or less, but by the end, the situation faced by its protagonists has become much darker, and much more dire. If the previous films were like the lull before World War II, when Hitler built his army and everyone hoped nothing would come of it and life could go on as before, this film marks the invasion of Poland, so to speak. There is tragedy, and death, and we know things will get only worse. [...]

However—and those who have not read the book may want to skip this paragraph—the film completely fumbles the ball at the most crucial moment, when Harry is caught by servants of the Dark Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and witnesses the macabre ritual that brings He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named back to full embodied life for the first time in over a dozen years. This is supposed to be the moment when Voldemort, who has snake-like nostril slits where his nose ought to be, steps out of the shadows and confronts us with his evil. But instead, he comes across as nothing but a whiner, a bald man in a cape with a bad nose job. When the Emperor made his first appearance in Return of the Jedi, I could believe that Darth Vader would voluntarily submit to him; but I find it difficult to imagine that someone as proud as, say, Malfoy's father (Jason Isaacs) would submit to this guy. Will children find this sequence scary? I'd like to think so, but I doubt anyone else will.

The film unfolds so quickly, you almost don't have time to notice how passive Harry is—he is constantly reacting to things or letting events drive him, rather than acting and driving them himself—or how his friends continue to break the rules whenever it suits their purpose. What you do notice are the fantastic visuals—note how the tents at the quidditch match are bigger on the inside than the outside, or the way the dragon pursues Harry by clambering over the roof of Hogwarts—and the amusing characters. Alas, in its climactic moments, Goblet of Fire fails to lay the groundwork that the next films so badly need.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 18, 2005 7:58 AM

Between the Potter films and the Lord of the Rings adaptations, Time-Warner's been able to serve itself up a pretty nice Christmas present for the past five years, though I believe the next movie isn't due out until 2007, so they'll have to stick a Batman or Superman flick into theaters next holiday season.

Posted by: John at November 18, 2005 8:59 AM

The principal difficulty is that they can't make the films quickly enough to keep pace with the ageing of the leads.

I can suspend my disbelief for the dragons and the flying broomsticks, but there's no way I'm going to believe that lumbering lurch of a lad is 14.

Posted by: Brit at November 18, 2005 9:30 AM

Stick him a tiny cage like a little baby veal, and feed him sparingly, like a jockey.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 18, 2005 12:15 PM

I think he's supposed to be 15 in this one, which makes the lumbering lurchness a bit more believable.

Posted by: Timothy at November 18, 2005 3:25 PM

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a movie not just for children for heartfelt teenagers and adults. This fourth adapation of Harry Potter is excelently superb and should be previewed amongst all families across the world. I enjoyed it, just seeing it last night (11/19/05) at 4:30-6:30. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

-Jason Porter

Posted by: Jason at November 20, 2005 2:13 PM

When will the 4th movie of harry potter(harry potter and the goblet of fire)be coming on DVD?i need a specific date plz

thx plz respond asap

Posted by: Zman at November 24, 2005 12:27 PM


Posted by: Sasha at November 27, 2005 4:21 PM