DVD Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Widescreen Two-Disc Deluxe Edition)
Release Date: March 7, 2006
Distributor: Warner Home Video
· Mike Newell
· Daniel Radcliffe
· Rupert Grint
· Emma Watson
· Robbie Coltrane
· Ralph Fiennes
· Dame Maggie Smith
· Alan Rickman
· Michael Gambon
· Brendan Gleeson
· Miranda Richardson
· IMDb: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
· SirLinksalot: Harry Potter
by R.J. Carter
Published: February 23, 2006
Right from the onset, you can tell this Harry Potter movie is different -- the opening score is notably changed, although you can still pick out the theme from the variation. Yes, it's the changeover from Chris Columbus to Mike Newell, and the change is good. Not that the Columbus movies weren't, but it's a marked way to show the various turning points in the series. In the first three installments, the cast was young, the adventures were thrilling; with this fourth movie, things are changing. The cast is maturing. Boys and girls are starting to discover one another and reacting to that. And the threat of the Dark Lord, Voldemort, becomes more deadly and threatening than ever.
The film opens with dazzling special effects, and doesn't let up with the eye candy until the closing credits. However, that doesn't mean that this newest installment of the insanely successful J.K. Rowling franchise is bereft of characterization and plot -- it's chock full of it.
Usually the complaint with book-to-movie adaptations is how far the film strays from the source material. Be prepared -- straying occurs. But have you seen the original book? The movie is already two-and-a-half hours long, and that's with the bits that got cut out. We don't really need to see the full playout of the Quidditch World Cup as it occurred in the novel to appreciate the introduction of Viktor Krum and fear the advent of the Death Eaters as they attack the event.
The main plot of the story is the Triwizard Tournament, which pits three champions from three magical schools in three herculean tasks. Well, it's supposed to be three: but somehow, Harry Potter's name gets into the mix, which puts Harry -- as usual -- in the midst of great and terrible danger! Because underlying all this is the possible return of the dark lord, Voldemort, whom we finally get to see made flesh (courtesy of Ralph Fiennes and some CGI face surgery) in the final scenes. I had to stop myself from saying, "Now, feel the power of the dark side, Obi-Wan!" as Harry and Voldemort square off in their magical duel.
"The Force is strong with you, young padiwan." Voldemort
and Harry wand duel to a standstill.
L-R: Fiennes, Radcliffe
Michael Gambon replaces the late Richard Harris as Professor Dumbledore in this film. He's a livelier version of the character; louder, as opposed to Harris's quiet yet powerful portrayal. The accents are also a bit thicker this go-round, and the Weasley twins (James and Oliver Phelps) get some wonderfully brilliant scenes. There's a bit of a drawn-out period between the first and second task, as the characters learn they must all find dates for the annual Yule Ball, an ostentatious formal affair in which Rupert Grint gets to look absolutely ridiculous in the traditional income-challenged Weasley family way.
The film also has some strange cuts in it. Sometimes we never leave the scene -- such as when we're with Hermione and Ron at the dance, or with Dumbledore and Harry at the Pensieve -- yet the players inexplicably change position, never dropping a beat of dialogue.
Of course, if you're any kind of Harry Potter fan, you've already seen the movie. You know it's darker and scarier than the first three, certainly earning every inch of its PG-13 rating. But this is the DVD -- and the DVD is always about the special features. Well, it's my duty to inform you that there are absolutely no special features on the movie disc at all...
...because they wouldn't fit. Warner Brothers had to put them all on a second disc, and it's filled to bursting with featurettes, interviews, and interactive wizardry. Be aware that if you put this disc into your DVD-ROM drive, it will install Interactual on your machine, providing a thematic window into the contents, with links to different Harry Potter places on the web. On my machine, it would not play the video; your mileage may vary. At any rate, I closed it and went with my tried-and-true player of choice.
The additional scenes segment includes the full-length version of the rock and roll song played at the Yule Ball, as well as some rather "crucial to the plot" bits that really should have been incorporated into the film, even if only at the option of the viewer. The special features all highlight the cast and crew as they discuss the setting up of the various tasks. Richard Curtis hosts a group chat with Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson, who are later joined by a small audience of young fans who get to ask their questions. The rest of the regular cast of kids join in on "Reflections on the Fourth Film", where they talk about growing up together with each other from the first film to this one.
Viewers can also participate in the various phases of the Triwizard Cup tournament using their remote control keys. These games aren't your usual left-right guessing games. These are difficult. Good luck.
Previews on this set include "The Ant Bully" and "Happy Feet". The audio can be set to either English 5.1 and Spanish 5.1, with optional subtitles in English, Spanish and French.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Main Feature (2:36:54)
- Additional Scenes (10:08)
- Preparing for the Yule Ball (9:03)
- Conversations with the Cast (30:33)
- Reflections on the Fourth Film (14:12)
- Theatrical Trailer (1:17)
- DVD ROM Features
- Triwizard Tournament: Dragon Challenge
- Harry vs. the Horntail: The First Task (6:08)
- Meet the Champions (13:03)
- Triwizard Tournament: Lake Challenge
- In Too Deep: The Second task (9:48)
- Triwizard Tournament: Maze Challenge
- To the Graveyard and Back Challenge
- The Maze: The Third Task (6:48)
- He Who Must Not Be Named (11:08)