"Goblet of Fire," the fourth in the Harry Potter movie series, leaves even the biggest Potter fanatics — down to those with a capable imagination — satisfied and sated with this latest on-screen adaptation.
Those who love the spellbound entertainment and captivating world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry will find "Goblet," the next chapter in J.K. Rowling's book adaptations, a step into a world much like ours. Here the good characters are not always wholly good and even the most trustworthy leaders cannot keep back the looming threat of evil.
"Goblet" takes our triumphant 14-year-old trio — Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Grainger (Emma Watson) — away from the glitz and glam of the first movie installation into a world where best friends fight, no one is who he seems and heroes don't always come out on top.
Detailing the yearlong adventure of the TriWizard tournament, "Goblet" undertakes to reproduce Rowling's 734-page book in just two-and-a-half hours. True to the Harry Potter phenomenon, "Goblet," like the movies before it, continues to dominate the big screen. With opening-weekend grosses hitting about $101 million, the reference to this "children's series" seems less and less fitting for audiences.
Harry's world no longer survives on the thrill of magic — it twists and turns as our allies become villains and even handsome favorites perish. No computerized monsters can compare with the mournful cry of a father who loses his son — "Goblet" plunges into the most heart-wrenching fear we have yet seen: Lord Voldemort returns to his flesh-and-blood self. Ralph Fiennes, playing Voldemort, steals the scene as the shrouded serpent-like villain getting beneath our skin as he so wonderfully did in "Red Dragon."
In a scene I have been waiting to see on the big screen since the book came out in 2000, the graveyard duel between Voldemort and Harry solidifies the change of this series. And as the endearing Albus Dumbledore so puts, "Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy."
"Goblet" shines a more penetrating light into the world where Harry is coming of age and beginning to understand his place in the fight against his enemies. While the movie steers away from the artistic license of director Alfonso Cuarón in "Prisoner of Azkaban," it focuses instead on the ever-changing world with which Harry grapples.
Die-hard fanatics may be disappointed by the loss of subplots, including all of Rita Skeeter's secrets, S.P.E.W. action and, Hagrid's favorite, the Blast-Ended Skrewts. But in two-and-a-half hours, the movie gives us what we need. It is filled with the splendor and action of the TriWizard tournament, the undoing of a number of characters and the uncomfortable moments of adolescence.
Like the three movies before it, "Goblet" transcends the boundaries of age and leaves us absorbed in a plotline teeming with dragon fights, mermaids, lessons in Unforgivable Curses and the ever-present threat of teenage hormones.
Complete with moments of lightheartedness, my roommates and I nearly died during the Yule Ball episode. Each of us rehashed our own nightmares from junior high and sympathized with Hermione while wondering what the hell is the matter with guys at age 14 (and, speaking of young 'uns, I heard those 20-something ladies in the audience whistle when the 16-year-old Radcliffe went shirtless during the bathtub scene. We have two years left, girls).
But there's something we need to acknowledge with the Potter series: we keep coming back. Even college-aged kids headed to "Goblet's" midnight opening. (I know who you people were — I heard you talking about it as you were leaving Helen C. White Thursday.)
These movies continue to provide those who can still remember their inner child the belief in a world where, though turncoat villains are at your ankles, you would give anything for the chance to be there.
Meg Costello is a junior majoring in creative writing and journalism. She can be reached at [email protected] She would like to remind readers that Matt Dolbey's poor taste stems from his devotion to King Crimson and Frank Zappa.