The Harry Potter phenomenon is so powerful that you could have called this Harry Potter Drinks a Goblet of Water and presented an Andy Warhol-style film of young Harry chugging a glass of water for two hours and Potterheads would still wear their wizard hats and line up to see it. There may be fewer kids in line this time, however, as Goblet is the darkest installment in the $2.6 billion (and counting) Potter franchise.
The story is boiled down from the 700-plus page novel by J.K. Rowling and as the poster tagline reads, “Difficult times lie ahead, Harry.” Difficult times indeed. Not only must the three heroes fend off evil supernatural forces in the form of Lord Voldemort but they also must grapple with dangers of a much more mortal sort—jealousy, romance, mortality and Harry’s raging hormones. Voldemort may be Harry’s sworn enemy, but the real trouble starts when puberty comes to Hogwarts. The Goblet of Fire sees the trio growing up and the filmmakers eliminating many of the child-like elements of the earlier three films. Gone are Harry’s goofy family and the house elves and with them went the lighter feel of the other movies. The Goblet of Fire is firmly rooted in supernatural adult fiction and as such earned a PG-13 rating.
A rooftop race with a dragon, Mad Eye Moody’s leering mechanical eye and the snake-like Lord Voldemort are sure to excite Potterphiles, but if I have a complaint it is that there is almost too much going on. Donny Brasco director Mike Newell has done an fine job of cramming a very long book into a two-and-a-half hour film, but it seemed to me that there were too many characters—Alan Rickman’s deliciously menacing Severus Snape gets lost in the crowd, barely managing two lines, while the inclusion of tabloid reporter Rita Skeeter adds nothing to the film but running time—and the quieter scenes, wedged in between spectacular action sequences, seemed rushed.