'Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire (Ult. Edition)'
(Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, et al / 3-Disc DVD / PG / (2005) 2010 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: When Harry Potter's name emerges from the Goblet of Fire, he becomes a competitor in a grueling battle for glory among three wizarding schools - the Triwizard Tournament. But since Harry never submitted his name for the Tournament, who did? Now Harry must confront a deadly dragon, fierce water demons and an enchanted maze only to find himself in the cruel grasp of He Who Must Not Be Named!
DVD Verdict: 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' is a truly epic movie, with thrills, excitement, and emotion, that never disappoints and really brings the Wizarding World to life. This film really entertained me, and is a welcome restoration of the Potter magic for anyone who disliked the dreary, overly-depressing feel of "Prisoner of Azkaban".
I was fortunate enough to see this film on its opening day of November 18, 2005, and to this day, five years on, I still think it is one of the best out of all the films and my favorite movie out of the whole series. As a humongous fan of the books and the first two films, I wasn't going to miss seeing this one, and was given a pleasant surprise upon discovering how good it was.
It's no easy feat adapting a hulking 734-page novel to a workable two-and-a-half-hour production that doesn't lag nor run by too quickly and feel rushed, but the filmmakers did a splendid job in balancing things out so you don't feel as if the whole thing has been butchered. It keeps moving, but does not go at such a break-neck speed as films five and six do that there isn't time to relax and enjoy things like the music, the scenery, or the more intimate interactions between characters.
Obviously, with a book that large, you're going to have to cut out something, and I for one feel that the proper choices were made in doing away with several rather pointless sub-plots (Hermione's S.P.E.W initiative, for example, which I was glad was cut because it made her seem a little childish and annoying; or the inclusion of Ludo Bagman, which made the it longer than it should have been) to cut out some time. Even with cuts, it stays surprisingly faithful, so it won't disappoint fans, and it successfully retains the novel's spirit while also managing to remake itself into a film that flows nicely and may even rival the book.
Nothing can be entirely flawless, but "Goblet" comes close. Everything was done right, from the pacing to the casting to the music to the directorial decision. In short, one couldn't ask for a better film. The director, Mike Newell, as well as the screenwriter Steven Kloves, really chose to emphasize the real feeling of a British boarding school, as well as increase the drama of the darkness concerning Voldemort's return to power. The TriWizard Tournament is expanded to heroic proportions, and is one-hundred times more exciting than what was originally written, which makes watching this film even more interesting to anyone who is already familiar with the book.
The visual look of the film is amazing, and even better than what I could have imagined. Hogwarts has this golden glow to it, and feels incredibly warm and cozy, the kind of place you always imagined it to be, but up till this point had never seen before in any of the previous films. The cinematography is beautiful, and the special effects are perhaps the most effective we've seen in any of the films.
The music Patrick Doyle has written is breathtaking. With this score, he's created another gem. It is right up there with John Williams in the magic department, but is more tuneful and romantic.
As far as acting goes, everyone, the adult actors included, are better than ever. After five years, everyone seems to have really slipped imperceptibly into their characters, so that it's difficult to separate the performance from the reality. The younger actors, particularly the three main stars, have really improved in the capabilities, and give astounding performances that are filled with insight and pathos.
Daniel Radcliffe especially has come a long way from the wide-eyed little 11-year-old he was when the series started. I thought his performance in "The Prisoner of Azkaban" was a little stilted and lacking, even in comparison with the first two films, in which he was very good. Here, he brings a sensitivity and courageousness to Harry that even J.K. Rowling hasn't been able to put across as well. Harry still has his flaws, but he is easier to relate to. He is also a bit smarter, which was a great improvement; he's too dull in the books and gets on your nerves after a while because of his sheer stupidity!
Ralph Fiennes gives a chilling performance as Lord Voldemort, and if you aren't as creeped out as I was seeing him in full regalia, then you'd better go back and watch the scene in the graveyard a few more times.
There is absolutely nothing I can find that I didn't like about this film, except the inclusion of the heavy rock numbers during the Yule Ball scenes (I found them terribly out of place, even though the Weird Sisters band were included in the novel; but then again, I'm not one of those people who enjoys that sort of music), but aside from that, everything else was perfect, and I highly recommend this film. [MC] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 4: Sound and Music
5 Vintage TV Specials: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Behind the Magic; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Dark Matters, New Masters; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Some Animal Magic; Inside Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Preparing for the Yule Ball
Conversations with the Cast
Reflections on the Fourth Film
Triwizard Tournament: Dragon Arena - Harry vs. the Horntail: The First Task; Meet the Champions
Triwizard Tournament: Lake - In Too Deep: The Second Task
Triwizard Tournament: Maze - Maze Challenge; To the Graveyard and Back Challenge; The Maze: The Third Task; He Who Must Not Be Named
44-Page Sound & Music Photo Book with rare images from years 1-7
Year 4 lenticular card
Two in a series of character cards: Ronald Weasley & Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody.