ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  mike newell

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  fantasy

LENGTH  -  157 minutes

RELEASED  -  18 november 2005

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  goblet of fire

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $140,000,000
harry potter and the goblet of fire - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from harry potter and the goblet of fire at

buy the dvd from harry potter and the goblet of fire at

harry finds himself selected as an underaged competitor in a dangerous multi-wizardary school competition.

at least one full-scale dragon was constructed on set, which could even blow real fire.


picture from harry potter and the goblet of fire

picture from harry potter and the goblet of fire

picture from harry potter and the goblet of fire

picture from harry potter and the goblet of fire

picture from harry potter and the goblet of fire

picture from harry potter and the goblet of fire

picture from harry potter and the goblet of fire


two out of four possible stars

Taking a slight step backward regarding the creative progress made in the first three installments of this massively popular series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire seems like a jump in the direction of the first film of the series: it labors too harshly on plot rather than character direction. The entirety of author J.K. Rowling's novel isn't in the film (far from it, actually), but Steven Kloves's screenplay seems much more tedious than it should given Rowling's incredible talent for creating unique visuals and characters.

Clocking in at a hefty 157 minutes, the filmmakers seem to have abandoned the type of creative liberties taken by Alfonso Cuarón, the director of the previous installment (Azkaban), in favor of taking a few specific elements from the book and plotting them in great detail. The first Harry Potter film was nothing short of a novel slapped word for word on the big screen, but installments two and three veered off that bland track in favor of creating a more textured visual world that captured the spirit rather than the typeface of the Harry Potter phenomenon.

It seems likely that director Mike Newell, new to the series, should shoulder some of the blame for creating an unnecessarily plot-heavy film. Like Chris Columbus's stumble out of the starting gate with The Sorcerer's Stone in 2001, Newell is unable to bring the burdened plot and his characters into steady focus. Rather than taking the viewer on a journey where even viewers who haven't read the book would find themselves carried along easily to the end credits, Goblet lumbers forward in fits and starts, attempting to create a much darker than necessary 157 minutes.

On the surface, Goblet might appear to be a more "grown-up" segment of Harry Potter's journey, but in most instances, it's actually too dark given the long length of the film. There are a few very precious lighter moments in the film though these portions are too few and are really unable to take that heavy weight off the viewer. This heavy atmosphere might have been an easier journey if the editor had been somewhat more enthusiastic in cutting the second half of the film.

Eerily reminiscent of the pacing of the end of the third "Lord of the Rings" film, the last half dozen or so scenes of Goblet each seem to be tacked onto an already long film. Although the film's plot needed to be "finished" during these final scenes, the end of the film is so long in coming that you think each scene is the end of the film as it fades to black, but then another scene pipes up with more "wrap-up." While the filmmakers should earn praise for attempting to bring Harry Potter to an older audience, the question needs to be asked: was that necessary given the already wide appeal of the Potter world? With the massive box office take of the three previous films, it doesn't seem that the series was lacking for older demographics.

But putting aside difficulties in the length and breadth of the plot, the three young performers at the center of the series have again improved in their performance skills, with lead star Daniel Radcliffe making impressive strides in his dramatic abilities. Having started the series as an unknown and inexperienced actor, Radcliffe has moved beyond the mere recitation of his lines toward a more natural and believable performance for his character. Likewise, costars Emma Watson (playing friend Hermione) and Rupert Grint (playing friend Ron) have improved with age and bring and increased depth to their performances.

Having employed a great number of the most famous working actors in England, Goblet again brings more distinguished names to the table with Ralph Fiennes taking on one of the most important roles of the series as "Lord Voldemort," the evil wizard responsible for the death of Harry's parents. Fiennes gives the role a suitable amount of menace though even his important character suffers from the length of the film (by the time Voldemort shows up, viewers might be too emotionally exhausted to appreciate him).

Returning stars Maggie Smith (playing "Professor McGonagall) and Michael Gambon (playing "Albus Dumbledore") are each again infinitely suited for their roles and are joined this time around most notably by Brenden Gleeson, who plays the slightly mad "Professor Alastar Moody." Gleeson makes his role one of the most energetic and interesting of the film, giving the film a welcome energy and enthusiasm in the face of such a heavy story. There are several returning performances that are equally welcome, with Jason Isaacs playing "Lucius Malfoy" with delicious menace and Gary Oldman appearing for a precious few seconds as "Sirius Black" (his performance in the third film was one of the most rewarding of the series).

As with each of the other films, Goblet places much importance on impressive visual pyrotechnics and multi-layered special effects and while no single effect in the film is individually noteworthy, the film's visuals are still a strong part of the film and are consistently well done. The now-familiar set design is also visually interesting (as it has been in every film thus far) and a few new locations created for this film blend in well with the previous films (production designer Stuart Craig has been on board for each one of the films).

Technically, the visuals in this fourth film are nothing less than they should be and the visual artists have all done a fine job in ensuring the visuals do not overpower the characters on the screen. Though the same cannot be said of the plot as the generally impressive performances are hampered by the difficult length and uneven pacing. Rather than having a more sedate opening and a more quickly paced ending, the film instead seems to slow down with each minute that passes. Though it is a worthy successor to previous installments, Goblet cannot be considered an improvement on the series, rather it is more of a difficult continuation of Harry Potter's increasingly difficult life.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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