“Everything is going to change now, isn’t it?” the young witch Hermione (Emma Watson) asks at the end of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of
Fire.”  Believe me, little missy, it already has.

“Goblet of Fire” continues the story of our favorite magical universe and goes far darker and more mature than any entry before it.  And as
last year's “Prisoner of Azkaban” did, “Goblet of Fire” handles the shift in tone with near perfect grace and intensity.  

The film mainly revolves around the Tri-Wizard Tournament, which challenges the finest in school-aged wizards to three deadly tasks in
order to receive eternal glory and a shiny blue cup.  It is being hosted this year at none other than Hogwarts.  When the underaged Harry’s
(Daniel Radcliffe) name is pulled from the Goblet of Fire to compete, it goes against the rules and gets him branded a cheat by fellow
classmates.

Even best buddy Ron (Rupert Grint) turns against him.  We see how social rejection can be just as painful as any magical curse a dark lord
can throw at you.  Well except for that torture one they learn from new character Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody (played with a fantastic wild
craze by Brendan Gleeson).  

The real wrench in the plot is the return of “He who shall not be named” himself, the Dark Lord Voldemort.  Played by Ralph Fiennes,
Voldemort has little screen time, but a powerful presence.

As you can see, there is a lot going on and some of the simple charm of the first trilogy of films is lost.  But what we get is a furious piece of
epic filmmaking that is at times larger than life and at other points very personal.

The acting by the entire cast is pitch perfect, especially Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint as our three young heroes.

The film is also very funny in regards to the Yule Ball Dance and the awkwardness of young love.  I really like the interaction between the
characters, especially when Hermione tearfully asks Ron why he didn’t ask her to the ball.

Director Mike Newell shows his range with these excellent character-based scenes and also some spectacular action sequences.  The first
challenge of the tournament involving a dragon is probably the most elaborate and stunning.  Like “Azkaban” the visual-effects are
masterful.

Unfortunately Patrick Doyle’s score, while adequate, lacks the thematic brilliance of John Williams’ previous work in the series.

But my only real complaint about the film is that the climax becomes almost too busy for its own good.  Ron and Hermione are nowhere to be
seen, and even Harry fades into the background at one point.  But this is relatively minor.

“Goblet of Fire” is a very, very good movie.  After four films and three directors the series has lost no steam and is in fact stronger then
ever.  I might slightly prefer the brilliant “Prisoner of Azkaban” to “Goblet of Fire,” but it’s a toss-up.  “Harry Potter” is quickly becoming one
of the finest fantasy-film series of all time.  If you have dismissed this series after the first two films as being too childish, you are truly
missing out on something very special.  I anxiously wait for year five and highly recommend “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

* * * 1/2
(Out of four)
HARRY POTTER AND THE
GOBLET OF FIRE
Directed by: Mike Newell

Written by: Steve Kloves

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint,
Brendan Gleeson, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes

Cinematography by: Roger Pratt

Music by: Patrick Doyle

Released: November 18, 2005; 153 Minutes