Monday, February 4, 2008

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (Mike Newell, 2005) Year Four at Hogwarts, and Harry must learn that he can not stop death, that at times he must stand alone, trust his friends, and though he may be a natural at magic, it can't keep him from acting like a stupid muggle in front of girls. Oh, and (He Who Must Not Be Named) comes back. That's big. Who's new? Lots of kids (Hogwarts is visited by exchange students from France (girls) and some teutonic country (boys), Miranda Richardson as The Daily Prophet's gossipy-pain-in-the-neck Rita Skeeter, Brendan Gleeson (marvelous) as "Mad Eye" Moody, and Ralph Fiennes, chewing as much CGI scenery as possible as HWMNBN--Fiennes clearly relishes the role. At this stage of development, all the regulars are at the heighth of awkwardness, looking slovenly and disheveled, and just a bit homely. Harry must participate in a prom as well as the Tri-Wizard's Something-Or-Other, and one had best place their bets on Harry on the latter (in the former he's a complete wash-out). Director Mike Newell bustles things along and tries to put eveything in at the cost of giving A Big Important Event For Harry (and the emotional high-point of the film) a little too little background to make us care. The films are getting darker, both in subject matter--but also in lighting, the beginning of the film is nearly indecipherable without one of those divining maps from Part Three, "Harry Potter and the Rather Inocuous Magical Prop" (that was the name of it, wasn't it?).

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