Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (2005)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman
Directed by: Mike Newell
I've seen all the Harry Potter films, but until now, I never made an effort to see them. I don't read the books (hardly surprising), and haven't loved any of the movies. But they always fell around somebody's birthday, so I was taken to them as part of the celebrations. I enjoyed all three for what they were, but none of them left much of an impact with me.
Until now. This one, I had to make an effort to see, because while it did come out around a birthday that the new family went to, I wasn't able to make it due to school. Then everyone I know saw it and raved about it. I didn't buy into the ravings too much, since a lot of people said the last movie, Prisoner of Azkhaban was the best Potter movie yet, and I liked it the least. But, now that I'm three movies into the series, and I had been entertained the whole way, there was no reason to not see The Goblet of Fire. But, spending my own money on it would be a new experience. Luckily, I had a gift certificate, so, haha... take that J.K. Rowling, you're not getting any of my money yet! (Of course, she could care, not only does she need anymore money, but she's also getting somebody's money because I went, even if it's not mine).
If I HAD spent my own money on this movie, I would have considered it money well spent. I enjoyed it more than any of the previous three, all of which hold more merit for me if for no reason other than the fact that they formed the groundwork for this movie. It was the perfect blend between Chris Columbus' earlier, fun movies, and Alfonso Cuarón's darker film.
The biggest strength of The Goblet of Fire is the addition of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. The tournament allows the movie to present three different trials and adventures that easily fit within the context and reality of the series. This keeps the pace brisk and exciting throughout without becoming repetitive, and opens up the movie to even bigger chills in the end. This movie is full of more excitement, more angst, more danger, and more pathos than any Potter films that came before it. The danger and pathos of the story truly stand out in this film, injecting the series with some much needed consequence to magical adventures at Hogwarts. In previous films, the series hinted at the horrible dangers of the dark side of magic, and what a horror the evil of Lord Voldemort is, but in the end, everyone was okay and Voldemort was held back by a novice child. That's all changed now. Not only is Voldemort finally given full form (to fairly chilling effect by Ralph Fiennes), but as a result, no one can say the danger presented in these stories isn't real. This is very important for the series, and a bold move signaling that this is not just a kid's series anymore (if it ever truly was).
While this is a great film, there were a couple of flaws that stick a bit with me. First off, why didn't Harry reveal who he saw in the graveyard before he left school? Kind of a big deal if you ask me (oh, and don't tell me he did in the book. I'm not reviewing the book). But more than that, the major flaw of the film comes as a result of its greatest strength: the pace of the movie is so fast, the action so gripping, that the passage of time feels far too short to encompass a full school year. What supposedly took 10 months felt as though it took about 2 weeks.
Regardless, I enjoyed this movie tremendously, and am now truly excited about what the series has to offer the next time out. Who knows? Maybe I'll even spend my own money on it.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (2005)
The Incredibles (2004)