Do you know what's strange? We are already witnessing the fourth Harry Potter film and it just seems like yesterday we were introduced to the boy wizard as he began his first day at the wizarding school, Hogwarts. My goodness, do they grow up fast.
Yes that's right, our young bright-eyed Harry is starting to grow up and Goblet of Fire is just the beginning of Harry's ascent into adolescence.
This time out, young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returns to the school to find out that the school will be hosting a most prestigious tournament called the Tri-Wizard Tournament where two rival schools come to Hogwarts to compete for The Tri-Wizard Cup.
A champion from each of the rival schools, as well as Hogwarts, will be chosen by the ominous Goblet of Fire. The goblet will only allow seniors at the participating schools to compete in three harrowing tasks. The first champion to finish all the tasks wins.
In a conspiracy-filled mishap, four champions are chosen this time and mysteriously Harry Potter is the first ever fourth champion. How did Harry's name get in the cup, since he is much too young? Did Harry find a way to get his name in the cup? Furthermore, who will win this tournament of champions?
This fourth film can probably be singled out as the best of the series thus far because it embraces everything that is Harry Potter. The wizarding trials, the effects, and the evolving relationships between the central trio (Harry, Hermoine and Ron) are all the cement that keeps this series going. In this film we see an evolution in each of these key aspects of the film.
The biggest problem with this entry in the series is the sheer scope of it and the length of the book to which it is based. Transferring that book to film must have been a huge task unto itself. The narrowing down of the materials does affect the quality of this film and there are places where the film feels rushed. This is felt very evidently in the film's first fifteen minutes and the downplaying of a lot of the ensemble cast of teachers, including Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman. If it would have been me as the director, I probably would have skipped the whole Quidditch World Cup segment all together and then did more relationship-based scenes at Hogwarts.
The reason I like this film probably the best is because we finally see the world of wizards expanded from just schoolyard activities. There is no Quidditch. We get to see a whole host of new characters and finally we get to see the series' central villain in the flesh. Also, as Harry grows up, the films are getting darker and far more entertaining.
I pity the poor soul who walks into this film not knowing anything about Harry Potter. They will be surely lost and disappointed, but what did you expect when it's the fourth film in a series? Rent the DVDs!
You almost have to step back and look at each entry in the series as a chapter in one huge novel. The problem is that the films really haven't focused a lot on the central plot of the series until now. A lot of the central plot has been cut from the previous film entries.
Harry Potter is probably the best film franchise going right now and I have to say I am excited about seeing it get to its final series conclusion with the seventh film. (4 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.
Tags: Harry Potter