Busy Guy Reviews
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Critics are universally awed by the cinematic quality of this fourth film in the Harry Potter franchise. In a film that addresses the weightier issues of adolescence, 'Fire' racked up $101 million in ticket sales in its opening weekend alone.
This film uses more computer generated (CGI) effects in the first 10 minutes than the other films displayed in the first hour. It's pretty scary and a bit grim hence the PG-13 rating. There is a death. The endearing, whimsy of the first two films, while present, is peripheral at best. There are more floating candles, more motion in wall paintings, and a much larger cast accounting for the additional $25 million invested in the film.
We meet other schools of wizardry as Hogwarts Academy hosts the 'Tri-wizard' championship tournament. One (Bowbatten) is an all girl school whose entrance in perky, pastel blue attire (and with matching caps) is a festive sway. Another is an all boy school (Durmstrang) whose headmaster is something akin to Attila the Hun. This is the school of 'Krum', the most excellent master of 'Quidditch'. The new defense against the dark arts teacher has quite the roving eye! Hagrid resumes a relationship with one headmistress who is actually taller than he. A formal mixer is held and our three friends confront teen angst ala the WB. Pettiness, jealousy and competition will alter their friendship.
There is also a good deal of evil to be found. Voldemort (Harry's long time nemesis portrayed here by Ralph Fiennes) is reconstituted with the help of Ron's ex-pet (Peter Pettigrew). A protracted battle sequence pits Harry against a 'Hungarian Horntail', a particularly vicious dragon. An enormous if carefully landscaped garden maze hides the tri-wizard cup within, but threatens to close in on and absorb the unwary. The tournament goes under water when parts of the competition requires participants to rescue their friends from the deeps. The games turn dangerous and deadly as Potter is scorned by classmates who feel he used trickery to enter the competition. Gone are the 'muggles' of Harry's adopted middle class home.
The ballroom scene is replete with lovely, multi-national young ladies. It's easy to see that Emma Watson who portrays Hermione Granger is well on her way to become the next darling of the paparazzi. Perhaps it would be best if she struck up a friendship with Lindsay Lohan for a few tips and tricks!
This is no frivolous thrill ride. It's high drama and may be too intense for the average Harry Potter fan. It may be a different thing entirely than reading the books. One can create their own vision from the text. Viewing the film is to witness a directors vision of this CGI world where fantastic circumstance collides with adolescent angst.
Friendships change and mature with time. We can only hope that our imaginary friends can digest these events and recapture the whimsy of earlier days. Good luck!