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Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire [12A]

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Potter lovers can rest easy. Goblet of Fire is true to the book. In story, tone and weight (157 minutes) it does what you’d expect. Harry, Ron and Hermione are growing up, kids no more, and are discovering grouchiness and the opposite sex. They’re also discovering danger too – at least Harry is. Because someone has entered him in the deadly Triwizard Tournament and they don’t want to see him win. Luckily, Mad-Eyed Moody, the professor against the dark arts is keeping a swivelly eye on him – while Harry’s eye is definitely turned toward pretty Cho Chang. But will she go to the ball with him, if indeed he can pluck up enough courage to ask? With Hogwarts home to the visiting knuckle-headed hunks from Durmstrang School and the beauties from Beauxbaton, dangers and distractions aren’t all down to the evil Voldemort. But he’s back and he looks like Ralph Fiennes, sort of.

Goblet of Fire kicks off quickly, with the Quidditch World Cup celebrations interrupted by flame-throwing death-eaters, out to get our Potter. Then we’re onto the first contest, a vertiginous, edge of seat dragon chase – the best of the few action scenes in the movie. But, like Rowling’s doorstep-sized book, Goblet is as much about boys ‘n’ girls as it is about spells. And Brit director Mike Newell gets some good, knockabout fun from it as you’d expect from the helmer of Four Weddings & A Funeral. Rupert Grint steals almost every scene he’s in, as the hapless Ron, hopeless with girls and hacked off with Harry. Even know-all Hermione is letting her hair down. While it’s well done, the boy-girl stuff inevitably waters down what little sense of menace there is, which isn’t much. While Newell’s kept The Prisoner of Azkaban’s greyish tone, Goblet doesn’t have the same sinister edge. Which is a shame as the atmospheric opener, with Eric Sykes stumbling upon Voldemort’s plans, promises chills we don’t really get.

Newell’s hotter on the comedy - Harry uncomfortably shares a bath with flirty ghost Myrtle and Malfoy is dropped down his mate’s trousers, as a ferret. Miranda Richardson hams it brilliantly as the tabloid hack Rita Skeeter. Dr-Who-to-be David Tennant makes an impression as Voldemort’s henchman, and Brendan Gleeson gives an eye-catching turn as mad old Moody. Pity that Oxfordshire’s Emma Watson doesn’t have more to do as Hermione.

The special effects are okay, in an age when they should be brilliant. Newell, new to this sort of movie, makes a good fist of it. It takes a while to tell its tale though and the script lacks Rowling’s sinister sparkle.

Goblet of Fire will be big success and it’s certainly fun to watch. Like a sweet you think is hard-boiled, but turns out to have a soft centre, Goblet of Fire isn’t what you expect but is enjoyable anyway. Suck it and see.

Glenn Watson (DI Reviewer), 24/11/05

Utterly disappointing. The special effects seem to get worse with each movie and Daniel Radcliffe's acting is so bad it makes you cringe! You'd think with a budget like theirs the directors could have chosen a lead with a least some acting potential...
Where the book was great fun and exciting, the film is overlong and boring, I found myself looking at my watch through the entire movie. It looks beautiful (sets, costumes etc...) but has all the magic of a comatose halibut.

As a fan of the books I cannot believe it could be such a lifeless rendition of JK Rowling's works. Oh well, no doubt if you love video games you will love this as this is basically what it feels like.

Utterly devoid of charm or magic - a total flop in my opinion despite a plethora of well respected actors, lavish sets and costumes and a fabulous story to be inspired by. How can anyone with all these ingredients and such a large budget be so far off the mark. This in itself is to be marvelled at...

Pamplemousse , 02/12/05

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