Sunday, August 7, 2011

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Review

Out with Alfonso Cuaron, in with Mike Newell, in quite a departure from Four Weddings and a Funeral, Donnie Brasco and Mona Lisa Smile. Personally, I would have stuck with Alfonso Cuaron, but Newell does a good job, other than allowing Danielle Radcliffe to sport a highly rubbish haircut, and pulls off some impressive visuals, particularly the Quidditch World Cup, the dragon-duelling (excellent CGI) & the ominous maze of the triwizard cup final challenge.                 

Goblet of Fire is the last truly stand-alone story, as the triwizard cup takes centre stage, before the final three novels build up to the showdown between Harry and Voldemort. Harry is smartly cast as the underdog, unwillingly thrust underage into the triwizard championship, after saving Hogwarts three years in a row, so its easy to keep rooting for him (although you have to wonder what Harry finds intimidating about a inter-school challenge, even a dangerous one for seniors, after seeking out the Philosopher's Stone, the Chamber of Secrets and a werewolf's lair...).

Be it as it may, Harry gets to test his mettle & resourcefulness, while Mike Newell introduces females of the world to Robert Pattinson as generally nice, not very talkative Cedric Diggory. In between, hormones start to flair as Harry works up the courage to ask a girl to the school dance, while Ron & Hermione repress their feelings for each other, all before the great dark lord in the creepy 
climax. Ralph Fiennes relishes his role as dark lord Voldemort, with his hushed voice, piercing eyes & otherworldly intensity, and his brief performance puts Goblet on the map.  

Goblet is also notable for marking the point from which a major character will be killed off in each instalment, and because the band that plays at the school dance includes Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood.

Brendon Gleeson & Miranda Richardson are colourful additions to the adult cast as Professor Alastor 'Madeye' Moody (the new 'Defense Against the Dark Arts' professor with - would you believe it - ambiguous intent) & tabloid reports Rita Skeeter, respectively.  

Oscar nominations: Art Direction