I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter books and (yes, I’m a geek) I’ve probably read them hundreds of times. Having purchased the box set of films, I’ve decided to have a Harry Potter rewatch (until we get to the last two films, which will just be a watch as I’ve not seen them), to see if I can learn to love the films as much as the books (doubtful, but I’ll try).
Up next is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I love this book, and so far this is my favourite film.
It’s dramatic and funny in all the right places, there are some great characters and while a lot changes from the book, the film manages to work with the source material and create something good for the screen without losing the essence of the book.
Of the four books and films, this is the darkest, as it’s the first time we see someone innocent killed in present time. In Goblet of Fire Harry returns to school to discover the Triwizard Tournament is being held, and somehow finds himself named as a competitor. Surviving two challenges he heads into the third, which he thinks he wins with Cedric Diggory. Turns out it’s all an elaborate plan to bring Voldemort back. Cedric is killed, Voldemort returns to a human body, Harry faces off with him, and the world will never be the same again for the children of Hogwarts.
The final scenes, from Harry going into the maze in the final task, to the end of the film are brilliantly done. While not quite as they were in my imagination, I feel all the elements really come together. The maze is sufficiently creepy, and that moment where Cedric and Harry decide to lift the cup together for a Hogwarts’ win are really moving.
And then to the graveyard and Voldemort – the finest scenes done in the Harry Potter films up until now. Ralph Fiennes is amazing as Voldemort, all harsh lines, snake voiced and just generally embodying the role of bad guy without for a moment slipping into farce. He’s the perfect Voldemort.
Also perfect in Brendan Gleeson as Mad-Eye Moody. He’s just as I imagined him in the book – scarred and looking exactly like he’s spent a lifetime battling dark foes. In the books there are few signs that Moody is actually Barty Crouch Jr, in fact, I think that twist crept up on me without me guessing until the final page or so before the reveal. In the film though, Gleeson plays Moody with a slight hint of sinister, giving enough of a wink to those who have read the book and know his real identity, and planting enough of a seed of doubt in the minds of those who haven’t.
And of course, David Tennant is fabulous as Barty Crouch Jr, erasing all our memories of him as the kindly Doctor Who with his portrayal of the creepy, spoilt Barty.
The young actors in Harry Potter really grew in this film, and for the first time I felt like they were truly acting. Particular praise must go to Matthew Lewis, who just is Neville Longbottom; to James and Oliver Phelps as the Weasley twins, who bring a slice of comedy to the screen whenever they appear; and to Clemence Poesy, who made me like Fleur Delacour.
Among my favourite scenes was the Yule Ball, which brought in elements of a teen romance to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was a good change of pace from the rest of the film – one of the lighter moments among the dark – and we got to see some fun Hermione/Ron interaction, setting the scene for future plot developments.
One moment that stays with me from this film is the sight of Cedric’s dad Amos screaming over his body in slow-motion. It’s a heartwrenching moment, and really powerful seen through Harry’s shocked eyes.
Powerful moments make this film better than the three previous ones, because it’s those moments which truly take us into the world of Harry Potter in the same way thousands of words in the books do. Many more dark and powerful moments are ahead, and if the remaining films are as good as this one, maybe my rewatch won’t be as difficult as I first imagined it would be.