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November 15, 2005 > Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The magic continues

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The magic continues

by Mekala Raman

The much awaited fourth installment of the Harry Potter series will light screens all over the area on Friday, November 18. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (GOF) takes us through another year of Harry's adventures at Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the trials he faces, and the resurrection of the evil Lord Voldemort.

The movie begins just like the book, with the death of the old caretaker, Frank Bryce in Tom Riddle's old manor. After a quick visit to the Quidditch World Cup, the movie quickly transports us to Hogwarts and introduces the exhilarating Triwizard Tournament, the courageous battle between three students, one from each of the wizarding schools of Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang. In a mysterious turn of events, Harry's name is drawn as a fourth champion to take part in the competition and plot wheels are set in motion. Harry must fight to survive the challenges he faces during the Tournament while some mysterious force is intent on capturing him to fulfill a dark purpose.

British director Mike Newell has done an excellent job on GOF and the high standard of the series has not decreased from that of its predecessor. Although the script varies slightly from the book and several characters have been excluded, these eliminations do not affect the movie adversely. The storyline is decidedly darker and thicker than The Prisoner of Azkaban, but the darkness is offset by very enjoyable, and tension-easing, humor. The movie also has a romantic air to it that will definitely appeal to the adolescent crowd.

The cast in GOF is also very impressive. The three main characters have matured even more in the past year. Daniel Radcliff's talent is really showing through and Emma Watson and Rupert Grint continue to shine. These three and their peers had a whole new range of expressions to portray and all executed very convincing performances of jealous, infatuated, suspicious, and emotionally confused teenagers.

The adult cast was topnotch as well. Professor Alastor Moody was very well depicted by Brendan Gleeson, whose faade was uncannily close to the cartoon in the book. His gruff manner and booming voice did much to add to the character. Michael Gambon, who took over from the late Richard Harris, continued with a zesty performance as the old Professor Dumbledore and, as usual, Maggie Smith excelled in her stern, yet kindly role as Professor McGonagall as did Alan Rickman in his icy and very suspicious part of Professor Snape. Miranda Richardson was ideal for the part of Rita Skeeter; the perfect mixture of repulsive aggressiveness and false politeness to go along with her torrent of flowery, yet empty words. Finally, the revived Lord Voldemort was played very well by Ralph Fiennes, whose depiction of the Dark Lord matched his chilling performance in Schindler's List in its raw cruelty.

GOF was a very thrilling movie and, though several details were cut in the editing between the book and the movie, I believe Newell has done an excellent job with it and made all adjustments very tastefully. This movie has elements for all age groups and although some sequences are quite violent, I think the movie should be fine for children who have been able to comfortably watch the last three movies. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire comes to theaters on November 18. Don't miss the magic of Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts!

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