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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (****)
Directed by Mike Newell
Written by Steve Kloves, from the book by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Principal Cast
Daniel Radcliffe -- Harry Potter
Rupert Grint -- Ron Weasley
Emma Watson -- Hermione Granger
Michael Gambon -- Albus Dumbledore
Brendan Gleeson -- "Mad Eye" Moody
David Tennant -- Barty Crouch, Jr.
Frances de la Tour -- Madame Maxime
Miranda Richardson -- Rita Skeeter
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

The new Harry Potter film gets off to a shaky start. No sooner do we get used to one setting than we are snatched away to another. I was beginning to worry that the task of adapting a 636-page book had been too much for Steve Kloves, who has written all the Harry Potter movies.

Then, Harry arrives at Hogwarts, and it turns out that Kloves knew what he was doing -- get the first third of the book out of the way, fast, and concentrate on the Tri-Wizard Tournament. As soon as the tournament begins, we are drawn into the film, and never escape until the end credits roll.

My only lasting objection to this movie is the character of Dumbledore, who seems weak. What a shame that the original Dumbledore, Richard Harris, died. If I got a vote, I would like to see the current actor replaced by a CGI version of the Richard Harris Dumbledore, especially in the crucial scenes from book six.

The world of fine art has turned away from the beautiful -- no modern art museum would dare display a picture that was "pretty," any more than a modern poet would dare to write a poem that rhymed (many poetry journals say, in their submission guidelines, "no rhymes.") Which means that artists who create beautiful pictures now work for the movies. I have no trouble calling some of the images in this film works of art.

But the center of the film is not the battle with a dragon nor the adventure with the mer-people. The center of the film is the Tri-Wizard Ball.

There are so many ways this could have gone wrong. One misstep, one out-of-character joke, would have been beyond bad, it would have been embarrassing. Thanks to both the easy mastery of J.K. Rowling, who knows these characters inside and out, and the respect Steve Kloves shows his material (more respect that Peter Jackson showed dwarves), the heart of the film is a deep delight. Here we have an extended sequence with no fantasy and no adventure, entirely character driven, and it works perfectly.

The book is a tragedy. The screenplay is true to that fundamental fact. Harry's last words in the film are particularly sobering. It is a good thing we have some beauty and joy along the way.

Copyright © 2005 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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