By the time 2005 arrived, we had reached the fourth instalment in the Harry Potter franchise: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
It seems bizarre that more than a decade has passed since we were introduced to the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament; to Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, Robert Pattinson’s Cedric Diggory and the rebirth of Lord Voldemort, but there we go.
Harry’s fourth year is certainly an eventful one, and it’s the beginning of the slope into darker territory for the series – the first three/books films certainly had their dark elements, but for the most part had an ‘all’s well that ends well’ conclusion. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire breaks that trend, and ends with Hogwarts shaken by the death of a student – and with the threat of Voldemort’s successful return to power hanging over Harry’s head.
The Quidditch World Cup is a time of great anticipation in the wizarding world, and the summer before fourth year gets off to an exciting start when Harry gets the chance to accompany the Weasley family to watch the sport he loves.
It isn’t long before the World Cup takes a nastier turn when Death Eaters attack the spectators’ encampment and the Dark Mark – symbol of Lord Voldemort – is sent up into the sky. It’s a sign of the sinister events to come; Hogwarts is playing host to the Triwizard Tournament this year, a competition between three magical schools, but when Harry gets selected as an under-age competitor – despite the fact that he did not apply – it is clear that something is not quite right.
With the help of his friends and his own resourcefulness, Harry manages to fight his way through two of the three tasks, alongside the officially chosen Hogwarts champion Cedric Diggory, Beauxbatons champion Fleur Delacour, and Durmstrang champion Viktor Krum. But the third and final task – an enchanted maze with a variety of dangerous and frightening obstacles – holds a terrible secret at its core. To rise again, Lord Voldemort needs the blood of the Boy Who Lived; and the maze, masterminded by one of Voldemort’s followers, is a way to get Harry to him.
The Quidditch World Cup is fresh and exciting; it’s a chance to see Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys having fun together away from school, and a chance to see more of the wizarding world’s customs and traditions. It’s always nice to see beloved characters just enjoying themselves and relaxing. The Yule Ball also provides this, though admittedly it is also a cause of contention among the Golden Trio, when Ron gets jealous of Hermione’s relationship with Krum. Still, everybody gets to dress up and dance, and the music is great – ‘Do The Hippogriff’ is still, to this day, impossibly catchy.
Speaking of the Yule Ball; the scene in which Professor McGonagall teaches an uncomfortable and awkward Ronald Weasley to ballroom dance with her before all his peers is, naturally, a glorious one. Fred and George’s sheer joy at Ron’s horror is beautiful.
Seeing Draco Malfoy get turned into a ferret by a teacher as part of a punishment is also a great moment. Admittedly the teacher turns out to be a Death Eater in disguise, but… still funny.
The Goblet of Fire is packed full of great drama and suspense, too, and the tasks of the Triwizard Tournament are proof of this. The first task in which Harry has to seize a golden egg from beneath an enormous dragon leads to a wild chase around Hogwarts via broomstick, with a dragon hot on his tail. The second leads Harry into the depths of the lake in order to recover something cherished from the Merpeople. The underwater world and all that it holds is fascinating and sinister.
The third task is of course the climax of all the suspense built up throughout the film and it certainly delivers on that. The maze is spooky and leads Harry and Cedric to the graveyard which is spookier still; credit must go to Ralph Fiennes, as he is fantastically frightening as the newly restored Lord Voldemort. Voldemort’s rebirth is an iconic scene from the books; fortunately, the film does it justice.
“I love magic.” So says Harry when he enters the Weasleys’ apparently tiny tent and finds it enormous on the inside, TARDIS-style; his continued joy at the magical world mirrors the audience’s.
“Oh my god! I’ve killed Harry Potter!” There there, Neville, there there…
“Bone of the father, unwillingly given… flesh of the servant, willingly sacrificed… blood of the enemy, forcibly taken… the Dark Lord shall rise again.” A massively important scene in the series, delivered by Timothy Spall’s quaking, terrified Wormtail.
“Though we may come from different countries and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.” One of Dumbledore’s greatest lines.
“What’s life without a few dragons?” The bond between Harry, Ron and Hermione is always one of the brightest points in the Harry Potter franchise; Ron sums it up here.
Did you know?
Daniel Radcliffe logged nearly 42 hours spent underwater in a giant task during the filming of the second task.
A full-scale dragon was constructed on set, partially created from the basilisk puppet from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Director Mike Newell staged a fight with James or Oliver Phelps in order to convey how he wanted the Weasley twins’ fight to look when they get rejected by the goblet, and accidentally fractured a rib in the process.
The films give the impression that Beauxbatons is an all-girls school and Durmstrang an all-boys school, but this is not the case in the books.
JK Rowling describes Voldemort in the book as having ‘livid scarlet eyes and a nose as flat as a snake’s.’ Ralph Fiennes’ nose was digitally removed but it was decided that giving him red eyes would diminish Fiennes’ expressiveness.
In the book, Hermione uses Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion to neaten her hair for the Yule Ball. JK Rowling has recently revealed on Pottermore that this product was created by Fleamont Potter, Harry Potter’s grandfather (and presumably owner of hair as messy as his son, James, and his grandson Harry).
If you look closely you can see the mark of the Deathly Hallows on Dumbledore’s Pensieve.
The report: A*
For me, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is potentially the strongest of the films in the franchise. It has everything; there’s action and adventure in the forms of the tasks and Harry’s escape from Voldemort, emotions both good and bad – Harry’s friendships, his attraction to Cho Chang, Cedric’s death – and at the heart of it, a strong storyline which is cleverly built on throughout the novel; that of a Death Eater hiding at Hogwarts, manipulating Harry into accidentally becoming an aid to Voldemort’s return.
The book is enormous, and naturally there are things which had to be left out of the film. Ludo Bagman, for example, features a fair amount in the book but is non-existent in the film. Possibly the most unfortunate consequence of fitting such a large book into a normal length film is the fact that Dobby the House Elf, along with another elf named Winky, had to be left out. Dobby is always a great addition to the films, but it’s understandable why his role had to be cut – there was no way that they could have fitted everything in.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire marks the point where Rowling’s tales begin to get darker, and it manages to mix the light-hearted fun of the magical world with the sinister gloom of the grim times to come. It gets a good balance – it’s a very strong instalment in the Potter series overall.
What’s your favourite moment in the movie? Let us know below…