Ah yes. The fourth movie. One of my favourite books in the series, but I can distinctly remember sitting in the darkened movie theatre, looking up at the big screen, and thinking… why is everything so wrong? Watching it again twelve (yes, twelve!) years later… why is so much handled poorly?
Okay, lets start off with the things that I liked the most, to give the movie a fair chance. I really love the atmosphere of the Quidditch World Cup at the beginning of the movie. I also like the post-match celebrating in the tent (before everything turns sour). This first part of the movie is extremely important to set up a contrast with the end of the movie, and the jubilant atmosphere is perfect.
My favourite scenes throughout the movie include Rita Skeeta’s interview with Harry, where I love the attitude of the Quick Quotes Quill. The Moody-Malfoy-Transfiguration scene is everything I wanted it to be, and more. Finally, while the dancing scene with McGonagall is not cannon, it really, really should be, because it was probably my favourite scene in the whole movie. Neville is so adorable!
Finally, I have always loved the design of the Goblet of Fire and the Pensieve props. I think the prop makers have really taken heed of the descriptions in the book, but put their own personal flair on them to bring them to life. Really, really well done!
Now onto what I didn’t like about the movie, starting with the more minor grievances first. I’m still annoyed that after the fantastic build up for the World Cup, we don’t even get a bit of the match. Sure, I wasn’t expecting the whole thing, but at least a cut of a few goals, maybe a chat part way through; ‘The Irish are slamming them!’, and then BOOM, Krum gets the snitch. So disappointing. I also don’t understand why we don’t have the whole Weasley clan there, and why they aren’t sitting in the Top Box like they should be (although the cut of Malfoy boasting is a cute alternative). Also, Winky? Ludo Bagman? The second I can understand leaving out, but the first… well, more on that later. I really do not like the Death Eater costumes. There’s already enough for everyone to make comparisons to the KKK, you don’t need to put in flashing neon lights. Side note, and this is as much an issue in the book as it is the movie, why has no one told Harry about Death Eaters or the Dark Mark? Hell, why hasn’t Harry looked into the group of followers of the man who murdered his parents?! Sometimes he’s such an idiot protagonist.
Twelve years later and there’s still two things I really can’t stand about the opening of the Triwizard Tournament. The first is the introduction of the Beauxbatons; it’s so cringe-worthy. The second is the weird introduction of Moody, and the fact that McGonagall, the deputy Headmistress of the school, is, firstly, so surprised to see him there, and secondly, so scared of him. Minerva you’ve fought alongside this man for years! I find much of the Triwizard Tournament to be pretty disorganised, especially the whole champion selection scene. Dumbledore looses his shit real quick when Harry’s name comes out of the goblet, although this has been memed about for ages. I long for a calm portrayal like the one I imagine Richard Harris would have given. I also didn’t like the over-the-top dramatic dragon scenes. Harry having to single-handily defeat a DRAGON is dramatic enough without the chase around the castle, and this screen time would have been better spent elsewhere. I love Neville, but I really wish we had Dobby appearing to help out in the second task (a quick throw-away line to explain he now works at the school), and I also wish the maze in the third task was as interesting as the one in the book.
Other, even smaller, things I didn’t like include: the Imperius Curse shouldn’t make the spiders fly around the place; one of the Patil twins is in Ravenclaw; Ron is much more of a dick in the movie than he is in the book; Peter Pettigrew is super chilled when cutting off his hand, there’s no moaning like there is in the book; I really wanted a shot of fourteen year old Harry fighting off the Imperius Curse when facing Voldemort; Daniel Radcliffe really can’t sob well; we get a lovely pan up when everyone’s mourning Cedric to reveal that the ceiling of the Great Hall is apparently no longer enchanted; and this is the first movie where we have no ghosts just mulling around in the background, which I find rather sad.
Okay, last bit of complaining, but these ones I think are more important. I really, really, hate the way that the Crouch Jr. story was handled. Right from the start, when he’s at the mansion with Voldemort and Pettigrew, you just know it’s going to be wrong. When Harry later tells Dumbledore about seeing Crouch in his dream, it would have set off massive alarm bells if it had actually happened, but he just kind of waves it off, which is not right. Furthermore, if all Crouch Jr. has to do is get Harry to Voldemort, why doesn’t he just disapparate him away when he encounters him at the World Cup? You can understand why he doesn’t do it at the school with Dumbledore right there, but all he had to deal with was Ron and Hermione, which he would have taken care off easily. Instead it just seems like Voldemort feels the need to make Harry go through all of the school year first. I also hate that the story is presented like he escaped from Azkaban and no one noticed. Didn’t we just make a big deal in the last movie how impossible it was to escape from that place (not that it was handled well in that movie either)? Also, no one seems to notice he’s missing? Dumbledore’s line of ‘I think Azkaban is missing one of their prisoners’ when seeing Crouch Jr. really irks me. I like to think there’s some rookie Dementor thinking to himself ‘if I keep volunteering to take his food to his cell, maybe no one else will notice’. I can get why they needed to simplify the story to make it suitable for the movie (goodbye Winky, goodbye Voldemort controlling Crouch Sn.), but at least come up with version that doesn’t fall apart so easily!
Secondly, the movie’s attempt to make Igor Karkaroff the one possibly responsible for putting Harry’s name is the goblet is, frankly pathetic. We get one shot of him entering the Great Hall to see the goblet with no one else around, Sirius mentioning he’s a former Death Eater, and him and Snape examining their Dark Marks… and that’s it. Nothing else happens, and it really doesn’t feel like the trio suspect him at all. They should have just left it out completely.
The last major issue is to do with the Harry-Voldemort wand connection. I don’t mind that they didn’t do the whole golden web thing, but they should have at least had the Death Eaters freaking out to show how unusual it is. I also don’t like the fact that Dumbledore does not explain about core of the two wands, leaving both Harry and the audience wondering. But hey, it’s not like it drives the plot of later movies, right?
Yeah, that was a lot of complaining, I’m sorry. Luckily, casting choices are looking a lot better. Roger Lloyd Pack as Barty Crouch Sn, Katie Leung as Cho Chang, and Clémence Poésy as Fleur Delacour are all satisfactory castings. I don’t think Stanislav Ianevski as Victor Krum was a particularly good choice, but considering his character does pretty much nothing the whole movie, it doesn’t really matter. The better castings in the movie include Brendan Gleeson as Moody, Miranda Richardson as Rita Skeeter, and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort. I despise the tongue thing that David Tennant does, but otherwise he’s a good choice as Barty Crouch Jr.
Okay, after all of that, you’re probably sitting there thinking I hated this movie. Rather surprisingly, I actually didn’t. In fact, I’d say I enjoyed more on this watch than I did on my first. It’s just got a lot of fun elements in it, and a lot of the atmosphere is spot on, so if you can just sit back and watch it, it’s not bad at all. However, when you start to think about it, plot points start to fall apart and you realise just how messy a lot of it is. Of course, there’s a lot of things that I personally do not like, and a lot that I was really looking forward to seeing that never came, but that’s because I’m such an avid fan of the book, so I was expecting more. However, I do think this movie is just making things harder for the series by skipping the all-important information to make later movies better, and just to make the whole series run smoothly. Overall, as a massive fan of the book, I find Goblet of Fire equal parts enjoyable, disappointing, and frustrating.