Welcome to the review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth in what has become the wildly uneven but popular Harry Potter franchise.
In this go-around, Harry Potter finds himself entered into the TriWizard Tournament where he must face three dangerous challenges to compete with neighboring magical schools. Imagine football, only more dangerous and with less steroids. Sort of like Rugby… only saner.
But all is not well in JK Rowling’s magical fairy land of pixie dust. A dark force from the past is returning and, even though it was the tagline for the last movie that didn’t deliver on the promise… everything is about to change.
And this time it really does! Honest!
I’m not a huge fan of Harry Potter. The first film was boring, the second was pretty good, and then the third one was downright incomprehensible, but I’ve always said that there is a good Harry Potter movie waiting to burst out of the mess and sweep me off my feet.
The Goblet of Fire isn’t that movie although it comes pretty close. But I can say that, without any doubt, it is my favorite of the lot. It’s without the horrid cutesiness of the first one and the mindnumbingly incompetent plot holes of the third. This new Harry Potter is darker, more action-packed, and full of danger. The Goblet of Fire delivers a wand-slinging good time.
I guess all that Harry Potter needed was a good shot of pure evil all this time to make it less dumb.
If the darkening of Harry Potter wasn’t enough, the movie also does the franchise a tremendous service by actually letting the kids grow up. Harry isn’t a hot-headed adolescent nimrod anymore, Ron isn’t nearly the bumbling idiot he was, and Hermione blossoms.
Of course, the magic of the series – the franchises universal saving grace – is still there making Hogwarts a wonderful place to visit despite the fact that it has grown a little less inviting. I swear the place goes through Defense against the Dark Arts instructors faster than a keg at the Bush twin’s sweet sixteen.
Heck, I’m even accepting Michael Gambon as Dumbledore this time around despite the fact that he’s still no Richard Harris.
To be blunt, I loved this movie despite its flaws and creepy bath scenes. Considering that the previous Harry Potter movies have ranked from “okay” to “bad” with me, The Goblet of Fire is a huge improvement for this franchise and I can only hope that the remaining films keep this momentum.
Of course, with you-know-who back and aching for a little payback against a certain little scarred bastard, I have a feeling that dark and dangerous times do indeed lie ahead.
And it’s about time, too!