Potter and the
This Mike Newell film is first and foremost a nice coming-off age drama, with fine performances by the three young leads Radcliffe, Watson and Grint. There are emotions stirring with love, friendship, insecurity, jealousy and restrained sexuality. Newell does well to let the actors express themselves, and there are some wonderful scenes during a ball which on a dramatic level surpasses anything this series has contributed so far.
In contrast to the two former entries, The Goblet of Fire offers a continuation of the story on a more comprehensive level - setting Harry up against Lord Voldemort himself (intriguingly portrayed by Ralph Fiennes). This and the subsequent concluding scenes are exciting and well-executed, but the contest our young magicians are put through in order to get there is disappointingly run-of-the-mill, with one-dimensional characters (why is the East-European contestant always dimwitted and untalkative?), irrelevant events and, of course, never any real doubt as to who the winner's gonna be. Rowling throws every trick she knows into the fantasy mixer (or goblet, if you like) and screenwriter Kloves brings it all eagerly and uncritically to the screen. Some sequences are good (the Brendan Gleeson character is both cleverly plotted and expertly acted) but at some point you have to ask yourself just how many characters a film can handle without becoming completely messy. And it doesn't make matters better that the most important of them is the least interesting. I'd rather this film was named "Neville Longbottom and the Goblet of Fire", because that Harry Potter kid is turning into the most mushy, over-considerate, unflawed bore you can imagine.