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::posts new Harry Potter rewatch review::
Comment: Everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?
This film is based on J. K. Rowling’s 2000 novel of the same name, and both are the fourth installment of their respective mediums from the Harry Potter franchise.
Director: Mike Newell
Writers: J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes
Release Date: November 18, 2005 (United States)
Run time: 2 hours, 37 minutes
Harry Potter has a nightmare in which a Muggle caretaker is murdered after overhearing a plot by Lord Voldemort, Peter Pettigrew and another man whom Harry does not recognise. Harry, along with the Weasleys, Hermione, Cedric Diggory and his father Amos attend the Quidditch World Cup. Death Eaters attack the tournament and the man from Harry’s nightmare casts the Dark Mark.
At Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore announces that the school will host the Triwizard Tournament along with the Durmstrang Institute from central Europe and the Beauxbatons Academy from France. A single student from each school will be selected by the Goblet of Fire to participate; students below the age of seventeen are ineligible. Fleur Delacour is selected as the Champion from Beauxbatons, Viktor Krum is selected from Durmstrang, and Cedric is selected from Hogwarts. The Goblet of Fire then selects Harry as the fourth Champion, causing much confusion. Many students believe Harry cheated and Ron shuns him, hurt that Harry did not inform him when he apparently entered.
For the first task, the Champions have to collect an egg by getting past a dragon. Professor Moody, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, hints that Harry can use his wand to summon his broomstick. All four Champions collect their eggs. Ron reconciles with Harry after seeing how dangerous the first task was. At Christmas, the school hosts the Yule Ball – Harry and Ron are unable to go with their desired dates, and hence go with Parvati and Padma Patil respectively; while Hermione goes with Viktor. Cedric advises Harry to use the Prefects’ bathroom to get a clue for the second task using the egg.
For the second task, the Champions have to save somebody of value to them from the Black Lake: Harry has to save Ron, Cedric has to save his girlfriend Cho Chang, Viktor has to rescue Hermione, and Fleur has to save her sister. Neville Longbottom gives Harry gillyweed to help him breathe underwater. Cedric comes in first and Harry is awarded second place after he saves not only Ron but Fleur’s sister after Fleur withdraws from the task. Harry later finds the lifeless body of Barty Crouch Sr., a Ministry of Magic official, in the Forbidden Forest. In Dumbledore’s office, he enters a Pensieve and witnesses a previous trial of Igor Karkaroff, current headmaster of Durmstrang, during Voldemort’s first downfall. Karkaroff is asked to name those who served Voldemort – he gives Severus Snape who is vouched for by Dumbledore. Karkaroff then exposes Barty Crouch Jr., the son of Crouch Sr. who is in charge of the trial. Harry recognises Crouch Jr. from his nightmare.
For the third task, the Champions must navigate a maze to reach the Triwizard Cup at its centre. Harry and Cedric reach the Cup only to discover it is a Portkey that transports them to a graveyard. Peter Pettigrew kills Cedric on Voldemort’s orders. He then resurrects Voldemort, who summons his Death Eaters. Voldemort attempts to use the Killing Curse on Harry but the latter deflects it – the ghosts of Voldemort’s previous victims appear, distracting Voldemort long enough for Harry to use the Cup to return to Hogwarts with Cedric’s body.
Harry informs Dumbledore that Cedric was murdered by Voldemort. Harry is dragged by Moody to his office – he learns that Moody entered him into the Tournament and was guiding him to ensure the return of Voldemort. Before Moody attempts to kill Harry, Dumbledore, Snape and Minerva McGonagall subdue Moody. Using Veritaserum, they learn that they have caught Barty Crouch Jr. who was impersonating Moody using Polyjuice Potion; the real Moody is imprisoned in a magical trunk. Crouch Jr. is returned to Azkaban.
At the end of term feast, Dumbledore announces that Cedric was murdered by Voldemort, although the Ministry denies these claims. Harry informs Dumbledore of his encounter with Voldemort and Dumbledore describes it as Priori Incantatem. The three schools bid farewell to one another with Harry, Ron and Hermione agreeing that everything is going to change.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth installment of the franchise and it represents a key turning point in the saga’s overall story. It was imperative for the future of the franchise that this film succeed and I am pleased to say it did. Mike Newell took over the director’s chair, he gave Voldemort his body back in what is now an iconic moment in movie history, and he set the film franchise up to be popular through the rest of its run.
This was not an easy story to adapt. For the most part, I felt as though the screenplay did an excellent job cutting the story’s non-essentials, while remaining as faithful to the source material as it could, keeping the plot intelligible to the audience and still delivering impactful emotional moments when those were called for by the plot. With all of that, this was still a nearly three hour long movie.
I never felt like the story dragged very much and I was surprised by how well the special effects hold up nearly two decades later. Visually, this is the best Harry Potter film in the series thus far. Newell built upon the tone shift of The Prisoner of Azkaban, and provided an even darker and more menacing world for our characters. He also did a strong job moving our kid protagonists further into their journey toward adulthood. The young characters saw first-hand more of the world’s darkness. I thought the scene of Moody teaching the students about the Unforgiveable Curses was really effective in that respect. This film also begins to inject romantic complications into what were very recently the pure friendships of childhood.
Though I enjoyed the movie a lot, it was far from perfect. The choice to present the two visiting wizard schools as gender segregated did not make much sense to me, and seemed motivated by the director’s choreographed entrances for both into the castle.
I also felt as though some of the film’s characters behaved out of character. Would any of the Weasleys, or Hermione, have left Harry unconscious on the ground, trampled by other wizards? Absolutely not. I think the story should have found a better way to explain the Golden Trio being alone when the Dark Mark was fired. Dumbledore’s yelling and general agitation throughout the film helped to set a mood of general unease for the story, but that tone was set at the expense of his well-established characterization. The Dumbledore from this film would not have had a conversation about candy with Harry, as he did at the end of the first film. Dumbledore is supposed to be an opposite to Voldemort. He is a representation of the power of love, wisdom, and innocence. Those things have power of their own. Anger and agitation might feel more relatable for the audience, but they are darker, and Dumbledore is supposed to be aspirational, not relatable. He is the all-knowing (or nearly so) and all-loving God character in this story.
The two big new casting additions were Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort and Brendan Gleeson as ‘MadEye’ Moody. Both were pitch perfect in those roles.
This is a great movie with good that far outweighs its bad. All three of Harry’s tasks looked great and they were great drama to boot. I particularly loved the look of Harry’s fight with the dragon – which expanded on the same quite a bit from the source material. The maze task was reduced from its book counterpart, but the unsung hero of the entire film franchise (the sound and the music) carried us perfectly through that moment. Everything got quiet when Harry entered the maze. That cued the audience to know that the building feeling of dread we had sensed throughout the film was about to reveal itself.
The big return of Lord Voldemort needed to be nearly perfect and it was. This easily could have been a misfire that ruined the rest of the franchise. We could have been given an unintentionally campy Dark Lord, or a Voldemort who was too over-the-top in his evil appearance and demeanor. Ralph Fiennes hit mark with just the right amount of fright.
I took notes as I watched. I’ll share some of them here:
- Imagine sneaking into an old house and not running out as fast as possible when a HUGE snake slithers past you? That old muggle at the start of the film messed around and found out.
- I did not mind that this film skipped past Harry’s time in the Dursley’s house.
- Just before everyone left for the Quidditch World Cup, Hermione was totally just standing over Harry and watching him sleep when he woke up abruptly. All the anger about hurrying up was “I got caught” improv on her part.
- We see our first port key. I thought they overdid it a bit here with the effects, but it looked fine.
- The Quidditch World Cup wizard gathering looked pretty good, too.
- After you graduate from wizarding school, playing Quidditch is 90% practicing your national team’s entrance choreography.
- Apparently people can rent a real life version of the Weasley’s camping tent.
- Lucious Malfoy is such an awesome evil dad. I want his cane so badly.
- Viktor Krum gets the Ivan Drago introduction before the match (giant face on screen.) It’s awesome and not at all because Durmstrang is portrayed as vaguely Russian.
- There are literally like 100,000 wizards at this match. Why are they running from a few Death Eaters. This story should have ended right here. That’s like ten people walking into an active war zone with some sling shots looking to cause trouble.
- The two wizard school introductions are bizarre. You get the impression that the two visiting schools limited the options of who they brought based upon their choreography needs. Is there a class at Durmstrang that teaches acrobatics? Can you imagine being a parent of students from one of those schools? “Why are you learning to do flips? Our family business needs you to know arithmancy.”
- “Brilliant isn’t he! Completely demented of course. Terrifying to be in the same room with.” <– new DustyReviews slogan
- The actor playing Neville (Matthew Lewis) really gets a chance to shine, for the first time in the series, transitioning from comic relief to someone with some more depth. Casting kids is a gamble but the series won on that one.
- DID YOU PUT YOUR NAME IN THE GOBLET OF FIRE?!?!
- If the adults had listened to McGonagall, or if wizards had good lawyers, Harry would have stayed out of the tournament and the entire plot of the movie would have failed to unfold. “Binding magical contract.” What was the backup plan for Old Voldy if common sense had prevailed? Does Moody just finish out the year teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts?
- Rita Skeeter pulls Harry into a broom closet to interview him. He lived in a room smaller than this for most of his life. I bet he felt right at home.
- “Potter Stinks” – everyone
“Remember that time I defeated Voldemort as a baby, you ungrateful gits, or when I kept him from stealing the sorcerer’s stone and ran him out of this castle as an 11 year old? Or when I saved you from death via basilisk and ran Voldemort out of the castle yet again? Put some RESPECT on my name” – Harry
- Draco’s entrance in this movie, about an hour in, while sitting in a tree… it’s probably one of the best scene entrances in film history. I’d watch an entire movie of nothing but Draco Malfoy sitting in a tree and insulting the Golden Trio.
- Moody turns Draco into a ferret and commits enough animal abuse to merit PETA singling him out personally. Snape abuses Harry and Ron later on. Dumbledore runs a loose ship. Two of the last four DADA teachers were working directly with the Dark Lord. Lucious Malfoy has a point in wanting him fired.
- It’s really annoying that Hermione is the one who explains to Ron what dress robes are. The muggle born girl is explaining wizardy things to a pure blood wizard from a huge wizard family?
- “Hey, we just realized for the first time in our four years of friendship that our friend who looks like Emma Watson is really pretty.” – Ron & Harry.
- Hermione is into Harry. Hear me out. She was watching him sleep when we first see him in this movie. She throws herself at Harry inside the Champions tent. Hermione reading the newspaper: (paraphrased and inferred) “I’m allegedly into Krum now. Are you jealous, Harry?” Hermione went with Krum (world’s most famous Seeker) to the Yule Ball hoping that Harry (Hogwarts’ most famous Seeker) would get jealous. Instead, Ron got jealous. She got so mad at Ron because her plan with Harry backfired… and Ron going public with his jealousy guarantees Harry won’t change his mind. He wouldn’t betray Ron in that way. Nevertheless… in the very next scene where Harry and Hermione hang out, she tells him that she and Krum don’t talk at all because “Viktor’s more of a physical being.” She looks at him to gauge jealousy then says, “he Just watches me study. It’s annoying.” Seconds later, she’s changed the topic back to the task and is holding onto Harry’s arm, telling him that she’s scared for him. After the task, Hermione wraps Harry in a towel and kisses him on the forehead. This is not how a girl who is just a guy’s friend behaves.
I think Rita Skeeter had a point about her.
- “Let’s let Harry stay in this contest… for now… to flush out the culprit” pretty quickly turned into “if he dies, he dies.”
- “Hungarian Horntail escapes during Triwizard tournament. Hundreds of spectators- mostly children – almost killed.” What are they even doing at this school?
- I would have found Ron’s betrayal tough to get over, if I were Harry. On the other hand, Harry is pretty short on friends. Maybe he’s also got a deep and irrational need for approval from gingers? His late mom was a ginger. It was in some sense an adaptation improvement upon the source material to give Ron credit for Harry learning about the dragons. It made Harry’s decision to forgive him more understandable.
- Cedric: “You told me directly about the dragons. So here’s a riddle about baths.”
- The Moaning Myrtle actress was like 40 years old in this movie when her character (ghost) is in the bath tub with Harry – who is a child. On the other hand, would it have been worse if an actual child had played that character? Either way… ick. “Almost all the bubbles were gone.”
- I wonder if Dumbledore allowed both Hermione and Ron to be taken by the merpeople out of curiosity over which of them Harry prefers. Dumbledore probably also knew – because he knows everything – that Harry had a crush on Cho.
- It appeared that Harry would have been drowned in the lake, after he rescued Ron and Gabriel, barring Moody’s discreet assistance to free him from the lake creatures.
- I really liked the choice to occasionally change the camera lens to to the Moody’s eye lens. It subtly reminded the audience that he was spying on Harry throughout the movie. (Dumbledore asked him to keep an eye on Harry early on.)
- Dumbledore: “You dreamed about Barty Crouch Jr.? Don’t think about it ever again.”
- “That’s my boy!” ::sobs::
- It’s an adaptation mistake to not show what happens to Crouch Jr. after he’s caught. The next film hinges on the fallout from what happened to him. It’s also strange that Dumbledore doesn’t find out about the “priori incantatum” until days later (after the end of term feast where he tells the school how Cedric died.) I also felt like Dumbledore needed to give Harry some credit in that speech, too.
Overall, with only a few nitpicks here and there, I really enjoyed the movie. It’s cast extremely well, it’s visually excellent in every respect (from cinematography to special effects), the musical score is iconic, and despite being long in its run time, it held my interest and is paced well, too. I’m looking forward to seeing how the series moves forward.
Have you seen Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? What did you think?
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