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(Review originally written at 5 April 2006)

Although the previous 3 Harry Potter movies were good as entertainment, I probably never was the biggest fan of the movie franchise. The previous movies all had their flaws, mainly with the pace and character treatment. However "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" seems to do everything right, what the previous did wrong. I was surprised as well as impressed with this fourth Harry Potter establishment.

The main characters in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" are maturing and luckily so is the movie and its story. Harry Potter and friend face beside the usual problems (Voldemort, the Malfoy's, some evil school teachers) also a whole new different sort of problem; puberty. Hermione has her occasional mood swings and easily gets agitated and Ron seems to be more interested in the girls at school (especially the French) than in brewing potions. It all gives the main characters a totally humane face and suddenly makes us look differently at them and we realize that they're growing up fast now. It makes the movie a whole lot more realistic and it's easier for the viewer as well to identify with the main characters.

There were several problems with the previous three Harry Potter movies. One was occasionally the pace. It was offbeat at times and there were some unnecessary characters and subplots in them. The pace in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" however is fantastic. It doesn't waste any time and everything happens very quick and the movie feels very consistent. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" had the problem that it took itself far too serious. It was a good movie but there was little fun and things to enjoy in it. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" however is far more humor filled and in fact is the Harry Potter movie with the most humor in it as of yet. It are not childish jokes but instead consist out of very well constructed and realistic comical situations and dialogs. It makes the movie very entertaining and pleasant to watch, even though the movie itself is just as dark, if not darker, as "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban".

Yes, this really is a PG-13 rating movie. There are some scary moments in it and finally also Lord Voldemort transforms into a far more threatening, convincing and scary, almost horror-like looking villain. He also is perfectly scary and villainous portrayed by actor Ralph Fiennes.

There was always a big difference between the adult cast and young cast. Both seemed like a different separated class and they never really felt completely as a whole. This time however the young cast perfectly blends in with the adults, which is I think mainly due to the way of directing by Mike Newell. I have the feeling that previous Harry Potter directors tried to impress the viewers with the big well known adult cast that had many well known names in them. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" however focuses more on the three young main characters and Harry Potter himself in particular in this case. The adult cast this time really play nothing more than the sidekicks of the movie and that's also the way it should be I think. The Harry Potter movies are all about the three main characters and it makes a whole lot more sense of the movie to focus mainly just on them. The screen time with the adult cast has surprisingly cut down, compared to all the previous two movies. Some people might be disappointed by this but I'm of opinion that this was the right step for the story and also the entire movie franchise in particular.

But yes, of course the adult cast is still impressive to watch, they just had been given lesser chance to shine this time. I'm especially glad Alan Rickman and Jason Isaacs returned and reprized their roles. But the movie also has some fresh new names in it, such as; Miranda Richardson, Brendan Gleeson and the earlier mentioned Ralph Fiennes. They are a welcome addition to the already impressive cast list.

The story itself is exciting, mysterious and fun as well to watch. The movie is perfectly constructed and also has some fine looking special effects, consumes and sets. It's a fine adventurous and more serious movie to watch for both young ones and adults, even though the movie occasionally gets to scary and serious for the very young ones probably.

It does all the little thing the previous three movies did wrong, right this time. It makes "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" so far the best, most realistic, most thrilling and exciting Harry Potter movie yet.

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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