film - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire may be the second best film in the series, after the first one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001.)
The running theme this time around is that everyone is coming of age. Girls and boys are beginning to discover one another and you see lots of funny and awkward moments.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is selected to host this year's Tri Wizard Tournament. It's a series of challenges featuring one representative from three wizard schools and the winner goes down in history. You have to be 17 to enter, says the Ministry of Wizardy, since it is very challenging and dangerous. Three candidates are selected by the goblet spitting out paper with the name of the selected entrant. But, a fourth name is spit out, and it's Harry's. He's 14 but the officials decide that the goblet must be respected and Harry must compete. It's just a tad hard to understand how kids could be allowed to compete in a contest with real life and death consequences, but that's what we have here. The part of the challenge that takes place underwater may be a bit disturbing to some, when you discover what "items" the kid wizards are supposed to recover from the depths. What was Rowling thinking? Couldn't they be asked to recover something else without jeopardizing lives?
A new teacher of Defense of the Black Arts shows up. He's got almost what looks like a cyborg eye and he befriends Harry...
The final challenge involves the hedge maze, spread over what appears to be acres of land. But, there's more to it than just capturing the prized cup and you know it involves someone very naughty. Evil, in fact.
There were tons of laughs from the audience. Mike Newell (Four Weddings and A Funeral) will have his biggest hit to date, no doubt. Michael Gambon (65) does such a credible job replacing the deceased Richard Harris for the second time (72)that you almost don't even notice two people have played the role. Rupert Grint (16) is Grinch-like as former wimp, Ron Weasley, someone with a chip on his shoulder. There's something eating him that causes tension between him and Harry. Is it jealousy? Or is it their mutual attraction to Hermoine (Emma Watson, 14)? Watson is whip-smart as the proud, self-confident Hermoine and while her male friends notice how she is sprouting into a little hottie, they don't have the guts to ask her to the ball. Still, she displays moments of vulnerability that makes her character well-rounded. To be honest, it's Daniel Radcliffe (15)who comes up as the weakest of the main actors in this film. He comes across as being pleasant but not terribly interesting, even with the aura of being the child-prodigy super-wizard. Harry doesn't come across as being cocky but at the same time, Radcliffe's performance is tepid at best. He's not a fireball of acting talent and isn't as interesting as his supporting cast.
As usual, this film is feast for the eyes, but more so, with lots of opposite sex attraction, it shows how the franchise is growing up.