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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (12A)
Directed by: Mike Newell
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Hotly anticipated by fans of that awful Rowling woman, the fourth Harry Potter film is here and this time it's made by a British director. Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) stepped in to direct after Alfonso Cuarón realised he wouldn't be available to work on this project, because he was still finishing the last Harry Potter film!

That'll be a dragon then
That'll be a dragon then

Luckily, Newell has kept the dark and washed out style that Cuarón established rather than the frightfully gaudy look Columbus used in the first two films. It may be stolen from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, but it goes a long way to making these films more adult and more enjoyable.

If you haven't read the book or if you're wondering which parts of it they've managed to squeeze into the film, then let me enlighten you. Hogwarts plays host to the Triwizard Tournament, in which one wizard from each of three schools competes against each other in a series of tough challenges to be crowned the victor. It's a bit like all other tournaments really, but with more dragons. Harry and the usual suspects are too young to enter the competition, so it comes as quite a surprise when the Goblet of Fire selects Harry's name as one of the contenders!

Things are frequently made more intense by the growing presence of evil in Hogwarts, as the evil Lord Voldemort slowly regains his power. I bet you can't wait to experience another all powerful, monologue-happy, evil genius, can you?

Essentially, Newell's Harry Potter film is damn good fun. There are characteristically amusing parts in the film, as you would expect from a comedic director, but the action-themed set pieces are pretty spectacular too. Gone is the school-play acting from the first two films, although Harry's chums don't seem to have very much to do in this film. Hermione barely features at all, while Ron Weasley gives a master class in exhaling, presumably the next best thing to actually having any lines.

If there is a criticism to be made of this film, it is surely that the structure of the movie is a little disjointed. The individual sub plots don't seem to hang together as one smooth story and the timescale throughout the film is hard to keep track of. However, this is undoubtedly a hazard of reducing a 734 page book into a mere two and half hours.

Overall, though, the criticisms are far outweighed by the strengths of the film and are therefore easy to overlook. The Goblet of Fire is really a pretty good summer blockbuster that's been released in the increasingly popular winter holiday period. Definitely one to catch on the big screen.

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Length: 157 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site: http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0330373/
Release Date: 18th November 2005

Top Five Rating: 80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0% (80.0%)
User Rating: 10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0%10.0% (10.0%)

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