Monday, November 21, 2005

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


Okay, a tiny bit of background, like many, many, many other people I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I've read all the books. have all the films on DVD and, in fact, saw the last film at the cinema three times - and that was before I had an unlimited card.

Book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is probably my favourite of all the Harry Potter books so far. It's the book where Harry starts to grow up, and he, Ron and Hermione really make the transition from kids to teenagers. It marked the series transition from relatively short novels to big, thick thumping great tomes. A LOT happens in the book and director Mike Newell (best known for Four Weddings and a Funeral) took on a big challenge in attempting to translate this book to the big screen.

Incredibly, he succeeds, fantastically. The studio originally wanted to make The Goblet of Fire into two films, however, Newell decided to focus the film on harry's story, on the book's main plot, and it works well. Yes, there is a LOT missing which will disappoint fans of the book (gone are the Dursleys, SPEW, Winky, Harry's first date and first kiss, etc), but Newell has captured the essence of the book perfectly. The characters are all developed and the overaching plot is moved on.

Newell is obviously a fan of Cauron's slightly darker tone from Prosoner of Askaban as Goblet of Fire retains much of the feel of that film. Each director in this series has the huge advantage of working with a group of actors who are maturing with each other, and so inevitably produce a better performance with each film. Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, really shines in this film, and shows himself to be a great comic actor. Whereas Emma Watson stole the show as Hermione last time, this time it's Ron that steals the show.

That's not to downplay Dan Radcliffe's Harry though, as this is by far his best performance to date in the title role. Wheares one could criticise the previous film for feeling more like Hermione Granger and the Prosioner of Askaban, Goblet of Fire is undoubtedly Harry's movie.

This film is both very funny and very dark, and the entire audience regularly bust into loud laughter during the showing. I went to a late showing so there were very few kids in the audience, but be advised, this is NOT a film for small children, there are some VERY scary parts. This film is a lot darker than any of the others. That darkness is best personified by the presence, for the first time, of Lord Voldemort himself, fully whole again and played exquisitely by Ralph Feinnes (in his second excellent movie of the month!). He just oozes evil and menace here, but also brings a certain humanity to Voldemort, reminding us that he is very much a man who has become twisted and evil, rather than just a monster, some otherworldy spirit of evil.

I really cannot find one thing to criticise about this film. The only thing wrong with it is that it's not longer, but I 100% understand why the cuts were made...and if you want a longer version, read the book!

Outstanding in every way.

Rating: 10/10

No comments: