Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005): Halloween Review

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Whether or not “The Goblet of Fire” is a faithful adaptation to its book remains subject to the opinion of the viewer (although, we likely can all agree that the delivery of that infamous Dumbledore line remains a sore spot in the Harry Potter film franchise). However, it goes without saying that the fourth installment of the beloved franchise is one that took a major leap in expanding the scope of the Harry Potter universe, both from a narrative perspective and a filmmaking perspective.

Directed by Mike Newell, “The Goblet of Fire” sees the students of Hogwarts thrown headfirst into the grandeur of the Triwizard Tournament, in which a student from the school competes against students from two other wizardry schools, namely Durmstrang Institute and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, in a series of intense magical challenges.

Viewers learn, though, that this year’s Triwizard Tournament is not what it seems, and it brings a deadly force along with it.

“The Goblet of Fire” is arguably the defining film in the Harry Potter franchise where the storyline takes a sharp twist and sets the back half of the series on a darker path than its earlier films. The movie is the first where the stakes feel higher than ever before. It possesses a newfound maturity in more ways than one.

For a start, the game-changing moment viewers had long awaited occurs in the film: Voldemort (flawlessly portrayed by Ralph Fiennes) makes his first true appearance in his full form.

Voldemort’s return marks a shift where viewers and characters alike both awaken to the reality of the evils of dark magic in the Harry Potter universe. His character brings a sense of dread that looms over the remaining movies of the franchise.

Voldemort isn’t the only new character who makes waves among viewers in the film, though. “The Goblet of Fire” introduces endearing characters like Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy) and Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) to its lineup.

However, the real star of the show is Robert Pattinson’s entrance as beloved Hufflepuff Cedric Diggory (who absolutely shatters our hearts).

As the Harry Potter universe expands, viewers also see its already-established characters like Harry, Ron and Hermione step into a new maturity as the threat of evil looms darker and darker over them.

On a lighter note, we also watch them navigate the trials of growing into your teenage years, including all the drama of crushes and young love.

At the end of the day, while the overall quality and book faithfulness of “The Goblet of Fire” remains up for debate, the film proves itself to be a high point of the Harry Potter franchise for the way it raises the stakes for the series’ characters and marks a valuable shift in the series’ storyline moving forward. It’s dark and mature, but more importantly, it evokes emotions in a way that the films that came before it were not quite able to achieve.

So yes, even with that botched Dumbledore line, “The Goblet of Fire” is one of the Harry Potter franchise’s best. From a personal standpoint, “Prisoner of Azkaban” is the only other movie that comes even remotely close to competing with it.

Fimnetic Grade: A-

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