Harry Potter ‘fires’ it up

Emily Triebwasser

Allow me to preface this review with the simple request to read the books before seeing the movies. No matter how much money producers spend or how much time the filmmakers contribute to the creation of a Harry Potter film, nothing can compare to the books that began the craze.

That said, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is by far one of the most entertaining films of the season. In his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), along with loyal buddies Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), continue their magical studies. This year, however, Hogwarts has been chosen to host the legendary Tri-Wizard Tournament in which they will compete against two other schools. A champion from each school is selected by the Goblet of Fire to compete in the three life-threatening tasks. Surprise of all surprises, Harry is selected as a fourth champion, despite being three years underage. Fear gets the best of participants, jealousy tears apart friendships and the tasks call for some great action sequences for the audience. As the tournament comes to a rapid and climactic finish, so does the larger subplot of the film in a terrifying and incredibly well-done scene.

This fourth installment of the series is, in my opinion, the best Harry Potter film yet. I think the most charming aspect of this film is that the main characters are finally coming of age as teenagers. They deal with new crushes, fights with friends and the humiliation of first school dances. This really adds to the enjoyment of several very mature problems that the kids have been dealing with throughout their years at Hogwarts. The acting is also top-notch. Radcliffe, in particular, has really proven himself as an accomplished actor rather than “the kid who looks like Harry Potter.”

Although the film is a bit long, it flows very easily. The scenes tie together smoothly with nearly impeccable editing. Here again I stress the fact that reading the book is necessary to enjoy the movie. Due to the fact that there is such extensive material in the over 700-page book, the screenwriters obviously had to leave a great deal out. In fact, the Dursleys (Harry’s aunt, uncle and cousin with whom he lives) were completely cut out due to time constraints. Other small details were left out that may seem insignificant to those who know the story, but may in fact be necessary to one seeing the movie before reading the book.

This film is truly remarkable: an ideal adaptation of a cherished novel. If you read and loved the book, go see this film. If the future Harry Potter films continue to improve in this pattern, we have plenty to look forward to in this series.