Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


Dir: Mike Newell (Pushing Tin, Donnie Brasco, Love in the Time of Cholera, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time)
Regular Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis
Additional Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Stanislav Ianevski, Clémence Poésy, Robert Pattinson, Miranda Richardson, Robert Hardy, David Tennent, Bonnie Wright
UK/USA, 2005

Originally Seen: During it's theatrical release in 2005 at The Beach cinema

Revisited: June 29, 2009 *

In this fourth installment of the Harry Potter series, we are coming off a virtual high from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, one of the most loved of the series. But, apparently not the most loved as The Goblet of Fire narrowly claimed top standing in the Poll for the Best Harry Potter film (so far). We see quite a few changes in the world with The Goblet of Fire with Mike Newell directing this instalment before the reins get passed to David Yates who takes on from The Order of the Phoenix and then for the rest of the series. Also for the first time we are seeing a more truncated version as the book is twice the size of those which came before.

In my review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I noted that we start to see patterns emerge in the series but many of these do not persist in the fourth film. Another changes is seeing instead of one predominant colour scheme, The Goblet of Fire uses a combination of a cold as well as a warm colour story. This is in line with and strengthens unpredictable tone of the film and the themes deception and danger. Previously we had a gradual introduction of new things to the central trio of Harry, Hermione and Ron now in their 4th year at Hogwarts and 14 years old, this year we get a taste of the contrast of seeing how young by the introduction on several older, powerful and charming students Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson), Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski) and Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy). Of course, this fits perfectly with being 14, a time where you can just start to get your footing and then can easily get thrown off again. A new turn for the film is to show scenarios where people are actively making choices, be that to go into a dangerous situation or even to be deceptive. This is quite the leap considering that up until this point we have mostly seen investigation and reactionary measures. Add all of this together and we end up with a lot of tension including inadvertant strain in the friendships and relationships.

This strain is completely believeble but as a viewer, it makes it a too little sad for it to compete as a favourite of the series. When I first watched the film I wasn't sure if I even liked it, although I eventually did come to love it. Watching it again this time I picked up more of what that was about. It is the only one in the series shows even a hint a gender imbalance. It isn't huge, but it is there if you look and this is a disappointment considering the series is otherwise devoid of anything like that. Perhaps it was used to highlight gender in general as this is the first of the series that introduces romance. It could also be more prevalent in the film due to being a more truncated version of the book. I haven't re-read it recently so I will have to research that more.

Ironically, with the sour comes the sweet. Even with this tension and imbalances the film has beautiful moments that may very well be my favourite of the series. So far it's the only time I've looked forward to repeat watching of the Quidditch scenes, it has fantastic seasonal celebrations and the beautiful progression in some of the smaller characters, specifically Neville Longbottom. There is also a continuation of more mature relationships between the teens and adults making them more eye to eye, not only with Dumbledore but with the introduction of Mad-Eye Moody, Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher (Vol 4) played by Brendan Gleeson.

Overall, a lot of charm is adeptly snuck into a film that is preparing us for the dangerous downward spiral this world is taking. I look forward to jumping down the rabbit hole for the next instalment: The Order of the Phoenix.

Shannon's Overall View:
I love it
I own it in widescreen
I'd recommend to fans of magic, fantasy and adventure

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© Shannon Ridler, 2009

* in anticipation of the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Wednesday July 15, 2009, I am doing a weekly countdown to watch & review of the first five Harry Potter films

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