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 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
 Critic's Rating
 Date Posted
   25th December, 2005
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Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Director: Mike Newell

For a film franchise in its fourth series, it seems baffling to me why a movie like Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire would spend such an enormous amount of its time on exposition and buildups and nearly not enough on the more exciting elements of what made 'Prisoner of Azkaban' work. Not only do we get more talk about 'he who must not be named' but also about the significance of Potter's scar and the greatness of the hallowed halls of Hogwarts.

Potter no 4 is the first one to start without feeling like an individual film but a continuation from where it previously left off. Diving into a dream sequence might help it form continuity but never allows it to be enjoyed in singularity or on its own terms. For too long after it began, I kept waiting for something differently new to happen, but was left wanting. The story is the basic Harry Potter cycle of a new academic year, newer teachers (Brendan Gleeson's scene stealing Professor Moody being the favorite here), perilous settings (Harry's mysterious and unsolicited selection as a competitor in the dangerous triathlon like Tri Wizard tournament) and finally, big revelations (along with the awaited screen arrival of Harry's arch nemesis, played menacing well by Ralph Fiennes).

The film has many things going for it, most notably director Mike Newell's expert hand at creating situations of adolescent uncertainty (the highlight of the film is a ballroom dance) and a feeling of repressed sexuality underneath the confrontations of the three main characters amongst each other and with other students who are guests at Hogwarts for the duration of the tournament. This is after all helmed by the man who gave us the fabulous 'Four weddings and a funeral'. Unfortunately, invoking a sense of completeness isn't one of the movies traits. I've read many compliments at the ability of director Newell and screenwriter Steven Kloves to compress a 700 pages plus book into a little over 150 minutes of screen time while maintaining a mostly coherent and discernable plot, but then why should each film begin and end like its paperback counterpart? If the studios want these films to continue milking the world of author J. K. Rowling, why should the entire series end with movie number 7 simply for the sake of conforming to a prescribed format.

After 4 back to back to back films over a period of 5 years, it is difficult not to feel uninvolved and disconnected with all the events and prosaic antics of the characters. Goblet of fire has much in common with the redundant classroom frolics and dull pacing of the first two movies in the series and almost nothing with the greater free flowing format and natural pacing of the third where the movie finally seemed to have found an identity of its own that it has sadly relinquished once more in favor of appeasing its millions of fans worldwide.

Goblet of fire is not really a bad film; it is merely featureless, save for its last act. It is obvious that overkill has been committed and I think the time is right for a moratorium on all things cinematically Harry Potter. - Faizan Rashid

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