In the fourth cinematic installment of the Potter series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry finds himself discovering new things about the Wizarding World. Hogwarts plays host to a legendary magical event, the Triwizard Tournament, and will compete against two other magical schools. But when Harry’s name mysteriously emerges from the Goblet of Fire, he has no choice but to compete. Voldemort, now on the loose, is desperate to get Harry Potter no matter the cost, and the unknown person who placed Harry’s name in the Goblet seems to want him to perish in the dangerous tasks.
GoF is possibly the best adaptation of any of the books, with the possible exception of the Half-Blood Prince. But where HBP suffers, Goblet seems to soar. Directed by Mike Newell, an experienced filmmaker, this is about the only film that actually increases the tension when it should, instead of dialing it back as most of the others want to do. Screenwriter Steve Kloves also contributes his best book-to-film adaptation, creatively boiling the nearly 800-page book, filled with complex and intricate storylines, into a digestible 2 and 1/2 hour film. Of course, most of the sub-plots get tossed out, such as the entire sub-narrative of social justice involving S.P.E.W. and the rights of house elves. Nevertheless, the film manages to preserve the main storyline with only a few alterations.
Brendan Gleeson is marvelously suited to play the newest major cast addition, Professor Mad-Eye Moody, and the cast does well in growing even further into their characters. This marks the first film to not hire John Williams (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc.) for its musical scoring task, but the change works well. Patrick Doyle’s score has the cinematic scope worthy of Williams, and provides with some very nice new themes. Since the fourth book marks the transition point of the story, it was appropriate that a change in musical feel would come as well. And the inclusion of some random Potter details makes the film enjoyable for those who are bigger fans. Walking in the forest with Hagrid, singing the Hogwarts Song was a delightful inclusion, and I can only wish more of the films would have stuck random details in to give the environment a bit more flavor.
All in all, Goblet of Fire may be the crown of the Potter films, and is certainly among the best of the set.
Rating: **** out of *****