If you are between 6 and 11 years of age, this was the most anticipated event of the year. And as I'm lucky enough to witness and share in the excitement of one particular nine year old, I find it difficult to see the cynicism most childless adults have to this iconic series. Being in a full cinema on a Saturday morning and feeling the air buzz with nervous energy and hope for a movie is something very special, whatever the actual film in question is.
Those I know above the age of 13 that have allowed themselves to enjoy the J.K. Rowling’s books say that Goblet of Fire is their favourite - It is deeper, darker, more grown up and 3 times as long as the preceding 3, and as such, must have caused the execs a fair few headaches in pre-production. It was always going to have to be one film albeit a much condensed version of the book, purely for marketing reasons, and even at a popcorn stretching 2hrs and 40 minutes is way too short to represent its print version with any accuracy.
And herein lie all its problems; those who have not read the book will become confused to the point of not caring as key events are skimmed over in 20 seconds (if at all) and very little is explained enough to give the climax its necessary gravity. Not that what is in there is bad, it does have a different atmosphere about it, brought in by the new director, but most scenes are handled very well, especially the last half hour and the re-emergence of Lord Voldemort (a deliciously creepy Ralph Fiennes stealing the show). But there is so much missing the whole falls way short of the sense of doom that should be present as the credits roll.
Also, I have to mention the main trio of teenagers... As younger actors it was easier to forgive their inexperience and lack of emotional depth, but they have done 4 of these things now and things really are not improving; now they are just beginning to look stupid surrounded as they are by the cream of British talent. Indeed the adults were outstanding as ever in their roles, but Rickman and the rest were shamefully underused, with Brendan Gleeson as the new dark arts teacher Mad Eye Moody the only one allowed the scope to camp it up in style - he is hilarious, a great character that saves the tone from entering the realm of the mediocre more than once.
What this needs is a longer director’s cut to fill it out. I don't know if such a thing exists, but if not I may even have to think twice about buying the DVD and seeing it again... Who am I kidding? My daughter is nine! Of course we'll buy it - it's the law. 7/10