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Quick-Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Screened at Cinépolis • ??? Viewing • Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Welp, I take back my claim that there “isn’t even one dud in the OG eight-part Harry Potter series.”

From a disoriented script with downgraded dialogue, unusually over-the-top acting direction for some unusually non-over-the-top characters that does not concur well especially after Prisoner of Azkaban, sloppy editing/transitioning techniques, the piss-poor and abysmally fused-in comedy, to the barbaric pacing — the narrative here delegates events in such drastically different lengths, making the 157 minute runtime feel rickety as hell — Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire… is a misfire? Goodness gracious, even the green-screening in this movie might just be worse than the first two Harry Potter movies in some cases… yeah. 

These properties that I have just mentioned have greatly caused the root of my problems with this fourth installment. For example, the aggressive dramatic quarrel between Ron Weasley and Harry Potter is so underdeveloped — it nearly craps itself out of thin air. The journey as well as the resolution of it is also cheap and quick, showcasing a weak spot in director Mike Newell’s rash enforcements on Steve Kloves’s writing. There are multiple cases in Year 4 like this where Newell is desperately concerned with creating ordinary teenage conflict that just rarely feels organic or progressed. Newell will throw in an out of place ballroom dance that doesn’t amount to anything by the film’s demise or linger tiresomely on Harry’s crush-life for quiet giggles rather than focus AT LEAST MAINLY on leading itself to that drastically significant finale. Newell inserted in a reoccurring dream sequence and was like, yep, that should do it for the build-up to the RETURN OF THE MAIN VILLAIN OF THIS ENTIRE FRANCHISE. It makes sense that the director who literally claimed to have found The Goblet of Fire book to be too long would find making an incoherent streamline of scenarios to be more entertaining than a maybe lengthy but undoubtedly sensible flow of affairs. 

I remember as a child I loved The Goblet of Fire book and movie solely because of the Triwizard Tournament, yet looking back on the movie’s version of their challenges, they’re honestly not that conceptually logistical — the audience can’t even witness what’s happening in the underwater or maze rounds, so why is anyone excited to watch these events? They also don’t really require a lot of talent as the teachers suggest it to be, as there’s no true wit to them; they’re either straightforward or based on sheer luck. I do, nonetheless, savor the locations of these tournaments such as the mermaid kingdom or hedge maze but the sequences that involve those areas appear immensely derivative and highly elongated to a point where I had myself wondering numerous times: “why does this need to be so long in an already crammed movie?” With a considerable runtime like this, the fleeting minutes should be spent elsewhere, meaning in areas where the side-plot interludes Newell is so desperate to have or possibly the Voldemort storyline should be… you know… developed. 

One of the few genuine elements I did feel gracefully endowed with in The Goblet of Fire, however, was actually Mike Newell’s introduction to Ralph Fiennes’ interpretation of Voldemort which is introduced in a stomach-churning sequence — mostly thanks to Fiennes’ momentary yet incredibly compulsive performance and the exceedingly graphic rebirth of Voldemort. Something I can applaud Newell for is how grisly the execution in a few sequences in the Goblet of Fire are, such as the trial of Karkaroff. The tragedy of Cedric Diggory is also handled phenomenally well; I appreciated how the audience just goes from zero to a hundred once they begin noticing what’s happened to Cedric, bringing a truly haunting impact to the return of Voldemort. It blusters my mind to see how exceptional this finale is; sure, it feels completely out of place given for a near two hours after the film’s introduction Newell was just trying to be painfully funny whenever he could, but I can’t deny that these concluding thirty minutes were something that kept Goblet of Fire from being a complete disaster. 

What a waste of David Tennant though. Now, at least we can all agree — especially fans of the Barty Jr. character from the books or Doctor Who — that that’s an objective sin.

Verdict: C

Harry Potter Ranked

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is now playing in select theaters.

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