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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Genre: Adventure/Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Directed by
: Mike Newell
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon
Released by: Warner Bros.

In Short: Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts is his most difficult yet; he competes in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, tries his hand at love and once again faces that pesky Voldemort.

Dragons, First Love and the Paparazzi
Fourth Years Have it Tough at Hogwarts
By Veronica Marian

The much-anticipated fourth installment of the Harry Potter saga has finally arrived. The title “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” alludes to the prize of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, a competition between three wizarding schools: Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. Traditionally, there is one competitor from each school and this time, no one under the age of seventeen is allowed to enter the competition. To everyone’s shock, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), age fourteen, becomes a fourth contestant against his will. The adventure unfolds from here.

Cinematically, the movie is a great success, with particular treats being the Quidditch World Cup stadium and the fight-in-flight between Harry and a Hungarian Horntail dragon. The "Harry Potter" movies have always been visually delightful, but this time there are a few extra pieces of eye candy, mainly the handsome Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson) and the burgeoning beauty Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). Harry Potter is likewise becoming studlier, even with his (finally) shaggy hair.

Fans of J.K. Rowling’s books will no doubt be delighted to see the wizarding world come to life on the big screen. Those who have not read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, however, might have a hard time keeping up with everything that happens. The screenplay leaves much to be desired, with many important plot twists being poorly explained and much of the novel's humor seriously depleted. Not to say that the movie isn’t funny. In fact, there are some absolutely hilarious moments, such as Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) dancing with Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith), the first time Harry opens his mouth to speak to his crush Cho Chang (Katie Leung) and Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson) flirting with a naked Harry in a giant bubble bath. However, the subtleties that made the novel so side-splitting just aren’t there. And Severus Snape fans will have to wait another couple of years until the next movie to actually hear Alan Rickman speak more than one complete sentence.

One highlight of the movie, however, is the actors’ performances as a whole. Daniel Radcliffe finally shows some emotion on screen, after being somewhat bland in the first three movies, and Rupert Grint and Emma Watson do a great job as teenage best friends who at times can’t stand each other, but who we all know are made for each other. Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, the Dark Lord who tries once again to kill our hero, is deliciously evil and surprisingly spry, while Miranda Richardson as tabloid writer Rita Skeeter is wonderfully hateful.

Great special effects, a fine score and of course, the lovable characters, make it easy to sit through the two and a half hours, as long as you’re not looking to relive the experience of reading the novel. The movie explores some pretty dark themes, such as torture and death, and some scenes might be a little scary for very young kids. Everyone else, however, should enjoy being a part (for a couple of hours) of Rowling’s magical worlds that leaves us all wishing we were witches and wizards.

(Updated: 01/22/08 NJ)

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