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Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: Thumbs Up

I took the kids to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yesterday, at the local Famous Players theatre.  I planned it out, purchasing the tickets online ahead of time, and arriving 45 minutes before the show.  Even so, it was a zoo.  The place was packed.  There were probably 4 screens showing Harry Potter, and we still ended up in a line which stretched out of the theatre, and down the fire exit.

So, was it worth it?  Absolutely.  The plot had roughly the same elements as the three previous Harry Potters — Harry goes to Hogwarts, enters "challenge" which he’s clearly too young for, wins challenge, confronts evil, escapes by skin of teeth, exposes infiltrator, and hang out with pals Hermione and Ron.  But the execution keeps getting better and better.  The acting isn’t nearly as wooden as it was in the beginning, the special effects are better, and the evil more believable. 

Some favorite elements:

  • Brendan Gleason as the new Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts, Mad-Eye Moody is great.  Much more engaging than Kenneth Branagh’s Professor Gilderoy Lockhart. 
  • the scene of the dancing lesson with Professor McGonigle teaching Ron to dance.  Rupert Grint does the pained teenage boy perfectly. 
  • the underwater sequence is magical.  The mermaids are a little "fishier" than you might expect, and the challenge a little more horrific. 

Various reviewers have written about how scary this movie is compared to previous Potters.  It does have its moments, but it’s not a fright-fest.  The DeathEaters, for instance, are less scary than the Dementors from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  As one reviewer commented, perhaps the most frightening thing is the ending — unlike other Potters, the coming battle against the real evil is left open.  The last line of the film is Hermione’s "Everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?".

Go see it.  Take your kids.  And if they’re small, sit by them and give them a hug during the scary bits.

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