A dark cloud had started to descend over the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban noted a grim shift in tone but it would be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that would steer the franchise in a new direction. The kid gloves were already loose, director Mike Newall was about to shake them off.
The Quidditch World Cup should be joyous affair but for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends, the fun never lasts long. Chaos erupts as Death Eaters strike. Harry and the Weasleys escape unharmed but the attack raises serious questions. Harry is distracted by life at Hogwarts. Not only are his hormones starting to run amok, he finds himself illegally selected for the Tri Wizard cup, a dangerous tournament that will test the wits and skills of any wizard, let alone one so young.
It wouldn’t be another year at Hogwarts without an annual Defence Against the Dark arts teacher and this time it’s Mad Eye Moody. Played by Brendan Gleeson, Moody lives up to his name and like most of the teachers at the school, he takes a shine to Harry. The essence of the film is captured wonderfully in Moody. He’s peculiar, odd and humorous but there’s an underlying darkness with prophetic foreshadowing.
The wizarding world is expanded as we are introduced to schools outside of Hogwarts. The introduction of new characters helps current relationships evolve as Ron (Rupert Grint) clashes with Hermione (Emma Watson) and Harry as emotions growing pains take hold. The chemistry between Grint and Watson has come a long way. Their inevitable relationship is slowly teased with each film and handled with a delicacy that allows the audience to invest in them.
The danger in Goblet of Fire is less cartoonish this time around. There is more severity to the threat with one particular tragedy handled in a shocking and moving manner. There is much spectacle to draw on from the source material and Newall doesn’t skimp on the action. He presents a visually enticing film that makes up for in excitement that it does in colour.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire may lack the depth of its predecessor but it creates an important chapter in the series and provides a turning point for the overall plot. There has been much build up to get to this point and the climax leaves you wanting more. Unlike fans at the time, you fortunately don’t have a much of a wait for the follow-up.
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