November 21, 2005
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Posted by Gordon Smith

This is the best Potter film yet, in my opinion. If you are a fan of the books, you may lament the missing scenes -- lots of them! -- but if you can abide less-than-slavish adherence to the original story, you should enjoy this show.

The Tri-Wizard Tournament changes everything about Hogwarts, and that's all to the benefit of the film. The only classroom scenes are in the Defense Against the Dark Arts, where Brendan Gleeson rules as Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody. He is terrific, by the way.

The Tournament offers a high-speed chase, an underwater battle, and a deathly maze, but the most surprising thing about this film is that it is so funny. Most of the humor emanates from teenage angst, but it is (almost) all well done. Harry, Ron, and Hermione have grown not only physically, but as actors. Indeed, Emma Watson is turning Hermione into the star of this series.

Voldemort is outstandingly rendered by Ralph Fiennes. The scene of his rebirth is the only part of the film that is frightening enough to keep my youngest children (age nine) from seeing the film.

This summer's release of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince combines with this movie to re-energize a brand that was flagging. For the first time, I am looking forward to the next installments of both the book and the movie.

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