By Chris Campo
And we have made our way to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth Harry Potter film in my series of reviews leading up to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which hits cinemas in just a few weeks. I have had a blast so far experiencing these films for the first time. Sure, the second one may have not wowed me, but the third one sure as hell did. I didn't know what to expect going into The Goblet of Fire, especially now that there's a new director, Mike Newell, and the third film is something pretty hard to top. But I still pressed play on the Blu-Ray very hopeful... and I was very surprised...
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for a change, doesn't begin with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) at his Aunt and Uncle's house before leaving for Hogwarts. Instead, we open with a dream of Harry's, featuring an unspeakable evil one cannot imagine will ever be of any relevance to the plot (but, maybe it is), but once Harry does get to Hogwarts, Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) announces that Hogwarts will be the home of Triwizard Tournament, and that three champions will be selected to participate using the goblet of fire. Through a series of mysterious events, Harry Potter is selected to compete, despite being underage, and while this is all going on, Harry and his two best friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) must also face the extremely daunting task of asking out someone for the approaching Yule Ball.
This film is currently tied with Prisoner of Azkaban as my favourite in the series. It plays out very differently from the last movies, taking on a new structure that's oddly similarly to a young adult novel such as the Hunger Games, only better. New comer Mike Newell may not bring as much captivating style as Alfonso Cuaron did, but he juggles shifts in tone and story just as well. I'm not trying to say that this film has no style, it certainly does and it pops off the screen, it's just not as stylistic. Goblet of Fire also features the tightest screenplay in the franchise thus far. The story is fun, challenging, and paced very well, and I was welling up with tears towards the final act, which is the first time so far in this franchise.
The scene that made me tear up was something that I feel was being worked towards over the past films, and it earns it. For the first time, the saga has reached a significant turning point. It is in the final act, so I won't spoil it, but it was easily the most satisfying moment this series has seen yet. It's not the only thing in the film that works, though. I also found myself very intrigued by both the Triwizard and the Yule ball plots. The Triwizard Tournament offered some absolutely thrilling action sequences, and the Yule Ball offered some of the funniest sequences. I was a little worried both these aspects would be too young adult-esque, but they both fit in with the story and offer a lot to the film.
The performances here are still excellent, the main three are as loveable as ever and are oozing with charm. They are truly the perfect cast for these movies. Side characters also get more to do, which was nice to see, but some were sidelined, and for the better. This is the first time where Draco Malfoy doesn't have a whole lot to do, yet it was a nice change of pace. Newcomers also shine with an unexpected appearance from Twilight's Robert Pattinson as Cedrick Diggory. He offered a lot, even though he doesn't shine as bright as someone like, say, Daniel Radcliffe. We're introduced to yet another new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor in Alastor Moody, and I found my elf, for the most part, enjoying this character, and especially his design.
As for flaws, there's only really two, so this should be quick. Early on in the film it is established that Ron has some sort of grudge against Harry for being picked in the Triwizard Tournament. It's very abrupt and isn't really expanded upon, with Ron suddenly becoming all pissy, and I didn't quite buy it. Plus, the issue is resolved very shortly after, so it feels pointless. Another flaw is late into the finale of the film, where there's a last minute reveal or plot twist. That itself is not a flaw, but I feel it was way too similar of a twist to the previous movies, and it shouldn't surprise anyone. Halfway through the film I guessed what it was. That disappointed me a little.
Overall, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire just may be the best Harry Potter so far, but I'm not confident enough to go that far just yet. It has laughs, tears and incredible action scenes, and like always, I'm looking forward to the next film. I'm halfway done with the series so I'm expecting nothing but the best from here on out, and please keep a lookout here on Directors Cut Movies so you don't miss our review of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
4 1/2 Stars