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Movie Review: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Theatrical Release: 11/18/2005

Theatrical Release: 11/18/2005

Synopsis

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is beginning his fourth year at Hogwarts, and things are not going to be getting any easier for him. This year, in addition to holding the usual classes for students, Hogwarts is hosting the Tri-Wizard Tournament. The tournament will see three contenders from three different wizarding schools competing in various challenges. It is unknown what exactly the challenges will be, but they will be dangerous, they will require skilled, experienced young wizards to complete them, and they are designed to see which wizarding school will come out victorious.

The Goblet of Fire is a magical goblet that randomly selects which wizards will be competing in the tournament. Although, Harry Potter is too young to enter his name into the Goblet of Fire, the magical goblet mysteriously selects the name "Harry Potter" as the Tri-Wizard Tournament‘s fourth contender. Having four contenders is unheard of, and being selected has led some to believe that Harry has somehow cheated in order to enter the tournament. Nonetheless, in addition to his usual classes, Harry Potter’s fourth year will see him competing in the deadly challenges of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and he will need the help of his trusted friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) if he had any hope of surviving.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Tri-Wizard Tournament (+8pts)

The Goblet of Fire (-3pts)

Mad-Eye Moody & Hogwarts (+6pts)

The Ball (-3pts)

Voldemort & The Climax (+8pts)

Rushed (-4pts)

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Pro: The Tri-Wizard Tournament (+8pts)

The Tri-Wizard Tournament was the driving force behind the entire plot of this movie. Pretty much as soon as Harry got to Hogwarts, the concept of the tournament was introduced, and everything else in the movie was circling around that concept. There were the suspicious circumstances surrounding Harry's selection as a contender—I will get into that later. There was also the mysterious new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Mad-Eye Moody—I will get into that later. There was even the ominous feeling that Voldemort was potentially making a comeback—yes, I will get into this later as well.

All of these things were interesting and they all seemed to tie into the Tri-Wizard Tournament in one way or another, and then there was the tournament itself, which was a lot of fun. The challenges that the contenders needed to complete were really entertaining and exciting to watch, and the preparation for those challenges were both mysterious and suspenseful. Where we had already seen three years of Harry Potter's time at Hogwarts, the author needed to come up with something new to flip the routine on its head, and the tournament was a great idea for doing so. The tournament was filled with magical and exciting moments, and it was surrounded by mystery and suspense, which made it incredibly easy to immerse myself into this movie.

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Con: The Goblet of Fire (-3pts)

The Goblet of Fire tied pretty directly into the concept of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, because it was the method used for selecting the tournament's contenders. Unfortunately, I thought the way Harry Potter was selected was a bit too ridiculous, and it felt like the author and filmmakers were trying to force drama where there did not need to be. They established pretty quickly that there was an age-limit to who could enter, and they established that Harry Potter was too young. However, they also established that the Goblet of Fire's selection would be treated as law.

This seemed pretty weird to me, especially when considering how Harry Potter's name got in the goblet in the first place. It was a pretty obvious loop hole to how the Hogwart's faculty chose to enforce the age limit, especially when considering a better rule would be to just not count anyone's name that was selected by the goblet if that person is under the age-limit. The method the Hogwart's faculty used left the door wide-open for someone to exploit it. It just made it obvious that the author and filmmakers just wanted drama, and did not care if forcing that drama required characters like the Hogwart's faculty to make illogical decisions.

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Pro: Mad-Eye Moody & Hogwarts (+6pts)

Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) was the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in Harry Potter's fourth year, and he was shrouded in mystery. To start, the role of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher alone, is enough to raise suspicion, as the last three teachers in that role had played integral parts of the stories of the last three movies. In that respect, Mad-Eye Moody was no different. At times, he seemed to be on Harry Potter's side, at other times, his intentions were unclear and suspicious, but it made it so that the character was always interesting. This all led to the final act of the movie, when the mystery of Mad-Eye Moody was finally revealed, and it was a plot twist that I definitely did not see coming. It also made re-watching the movie fun, because it was interesting to see how well this reveal was hiding in plain sight the whole time.

There was also revisiting Hogwarts and all the characters in it once again. There were the main three characters, with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and there were the assortment of teachers and side characters that we had grown to enjoy seeing after the previous three movies. There was also the magical school in all its glory, as it has always been fun to explore this wizarding school. J. K. Rowling created an assortment of characters and a compelling location that readers would want to continuously come back to, and the filmmakers of these movies did a great job doing the same thing with these movies, with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire being no exception.

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Con: The Ball (-3pts)

In the book this had the room to be fleshed out as its own chapter or section in the story, without sacrificing the rest of the story. In the movie, the same was not true, and this ball was completely unnecessary. While Hogwarts was hosting the Tri-Wizard Tournament, Hogwarts also hosted a ball to which students from all three schools were invited. This ball had literally no impact on the overall story, so the filmmakers could have taken it out of the movie all together.

Instead, the filmmakers rushed some things, and did not properly develop others, all in order to cram this ball storyline in here. We got to see riveting scenes where Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to find dates, and other scenes showing the kids learning how to dance. We also got the ball itself, which was filled with stereotypical, high-school drama. The ball was wildly unnecessary to the overall story, and the filmmakers decided to cram it in here and give the ball a lot more focus than it should have received.

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Pro: Voldemort & The Climax (+8pts)

I will keep this brief, because both Voldemort and the climax of the movie are pretty deep in spoiler territory. With this movie, it finally felt like there was a real shot at Voldemort coming back. This was setup right in the beginning of the movie, and it felt like the wizarding world was about to start feeling a lot less safe, as darkness was making a resurgence. The threat of a potential return of Voldemort gave the rest of the movie a sense of danger that contributed greatly into making this movie as compelling as it was.

Then there was the climax of the movie, which was the kind of popcorn-popping climax that makes you want to go to the movies. It was gripping, it was climactic, it was exciting, and it changed the game in terms of the state of the wizarding world. It was great, and I remember walking out of the theater after seeing this movie for the first time, wondering what would happen in Harry Potter's fifth year, because I knew the entire wizarding world was going to change, and that everything would feel far less secure. It was a great, exciting climax for this movie, and it was a game-changer for this franchise.

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Con: Rushed (-4pts)

I know the common stigma that movies get when they take a book and split it into multiple movies. I mean, the trope of taking a book saga and splitting the last book into two movies was a trope that I am pretty sure was started by this very franchise. That being said, I think this movie would have been better served by splitting it into two movies. This was because the filmmakers tried to do a lot in the span of a single movie. It ended up coming in at around two and a half hours, but it still felt like everything was rushed.

There was the introduction of the movie and setting up the potential return of Voldemort, establishing the Goblet of Fire, the Tri-Wizard tournament, and introducing the other schools that were visiting Hogwarts to compete in the tournament. Then there was the ball, all of the various challenges for the tournament itself, continuing to develop Harry, Ron, Hermione, and all of the other characters we have come to expect to see in Hogwarts. Then there was the mysterious Mad-Eye Moody, and that whole storyline. This movie, without rushing things, easily could have been well over four hours, so I think the filmmakers would have been smarter to split it into two movies, so that they could flesh everything out properly. Instead, a lot of the movie felt rushed, which meant that it became less impactful, because it always felt like the filmmakers were just pulling us along to the next thing, rather than letting us reflect on what was happening.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B+ (87pts)

This was the fourth movie in the Harry Potter franchise, and while it was one of my least favorites in the franchise thus far, that was only because of how good the other movies had been. My point is, there was a lot to like about this movie. The Tri-Wizard Tournament was a great premise, as it made things feel fresh, but it also made way for a bunch of exciting, magical challenges that were a lot of fun to see brought to the screen. Then there was the mysterious Mad-Eye Moody, the ominous threat of a potential Voldemort return, getting to revisit Hogwarts yet again, and the epic, game-changing climax that came at the end of the movie. The movie had some problems, as it felt rushed, the ball felt unnecessary, and the Goblet of Fire thing made no practical sense. Nonetheless, the movie's strengths drowned out most of its weaknesses, and it still ended up being a pretty good movie.

Comments

Movie Beasts (author) from MA on September 17, 2020:

Yeah I enjoy doing these reviews too. With some of these movies, I find myself rambling, then I have to come back and refine it quite a bit lol.

Easy to get carried away.

Thanks for the comment!

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on September 17, 2020:

I've seen all the Harry Potter books, and really enjoyed this one. Thanks for the review. I always like to hear other people's views on these films.