Harry Potter

film 4 of 8

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 5, 2014

May I say that the special effects in these movies are really good? They’re either pleasingly spectacular or truly menacing. In this way they meet two tremendous objectives, delighting the kids and filling their eyes with wonder, or scaring them silly. That’s actually a perfectly acceptable, even morally viable combination for a melodrama such as this. There’s nothing wrong with shining good guys and vivid bad guys, especially given how things will develop as the series continues. Mind you, the compression of the (really!) long novel into this sort of long film really hurts. The result is that like in the Chamber of Secrets, we get to the high plot points too quickly, without the percolation and lead-up that makes the high points resonate. (By this time Rowling was no longer having trouble with this in the books.)

Still, there are lots of good things here. Like the boys’ long hair, the Quidditch World Cup and its really chilling interruption, Moaning Myrtle—“I was distraught!”—the continuing flowering of the estimable Miss Watson. These relationships are really starting to mean something. The climactic confrontation is, once again, powerful, and Cedric’s death—”that’s my son!”—actually, truly pitiable. (Yes, we notice who played Cedric.) Plus which, it’s not just the film, but the circumstances in which you encounter and absorb it. Or, consider your kids as you share this kind of thing together. It can, it should get to the point where not completely great is still way good enough.