Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Wow!  That was amazing.  This latest installment is at least as good as any of the previous Harry Potters.  I laughed, I cried…

In Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts, the Goblet of Fire has selected him to represent the school in a "TriWizard Tournament, which promises to be very difficult and very dangerous.  Additional plot lines include a two-week visit with the Weasley family, the Quidditch World Cup Final, and a love interest for Harry.  To add even more tension, it looks like the evil Lord Voldemort may be ready to return and really do a number on Harry this time.

Hermione plays a lesser role in this film, and we see a stronger focus on Harry and his friend Ron Weasley.

My favorite scene was the Yuletide Ball.  It was absolutely stunning with the great room turned into an ice palace.  But more than this, I liked the awkwardness and complications each of our main characters overcame to find a date.  It was a bittersweet reminder of my own teenage years.

Each new Harry Potter film is aimed at an older target audience and this is the first  to have a PG-13 rating.  Unfortunately some of the lighthearted fun of the earlier films is missing from the Goblet of Fire.  While I noticed quite a few preteens in the theatre, toddlers will likely find the film too scary.  It is definitely a darker movie and the tension never lets up.

The Harry Potter books are becoming thicker and thicker.  There was some talk about making two movies from a single book, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards.  The result is that only the main storylines of the book will make it into the movie.  A 700 page book was condensed to a 2 1/2 hour film.  Purists will be upset by the portrayal of Dumbledore and dissappointed to see so much missing that was in the fourth book.

But what we do see in the film is absolutely wonderful.  It is truly a masterpiece and well worth all the waiting and wondering.  For the first time, I really felt a kinship with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  Their characters come into the sharpest focus yet, and it is hard not to keenly empathize.

Best movie of the year!
                  - Reviewed by: Paul G.

fair & honest

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