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HomeNewsArchivesHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Is Compelling as Ever

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Is Compelling as Ever

Nov. 16, 2005 –– Well, it had to happen. Harry has been struck by puberty. And reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic have something to say about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
As the young lad (Daniel Radcliffe) emerges in his new persona, his hormones and those of his pals get full billing.
James Christopher in the London Times observes, "The 14-year-old has sprouted from a bespectacled geek into a shameless poster boy. And his loyal chums – Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) – have followed suit. Adolescence is Harry's new foe."
Ed Park, in the Village Voice, is not so concerned with Harry's hormones as with the effect of this new movie on first-time Hogwarts viewers. It's not for sissies.
Park says, "The fourth filmed installment of J.K. Rowling's still-unfolding boy-wizard saga, pulls out all the stops, relentlessly spinning adolescent terrors into metaphor: whiplash teleportation, dragons and disguises, octopoid nasties, screaming golden eggs, and a clammy-palmed interlude of ballroom dancing. Like a dream, it's everywhere and nowhere, by turns scarily intense and scattered."
And he offers some advice: "Those who haven't kept up with the Potteriad shouldn't take their first sip at the Goblet," says Park. "Given the sheer cumulative density of plot points and players, Number Four sometimes only has time (even at nearly two and a half hours) to allude to past actions and characterizations."
This is the first time a British director has taken a whack at the vastly addictive movie and book series. And, according to Christopher, he comports himself well. He says, "His considerable triumph is to keep the thrills up to exhilarating scratch."
According to both reviewers, Rowling is as compelling as ever; she doesn't seem to lose a haunted beat over time. The books are a decade old now. Park says, "To this reviewer and reader, the decade-old juggernaut is as deeply felt as it is flawed, dense and illogical and laudably weird."
As for the hormones again, Christopher says, "The hairstyles are longer and the teenage hormones ping off the walls like snooker balls. The irony is that our valiant trio are more terrified of securing a date for the Yule Ball at Hogwarts than they are tackling the latest dastardly threat to their potty lifestyle."
Now, to the story. Harry faces his greatest challenge and danger yet when he is elected as a contestant in the Triwizard Tournament where he must compete against the best young wizards from schools all over Europe.
But, guess who arrives to muddy up the works? Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) who, Christopher describes as a "whispy ghost, an ice age chillier than the previous incumbents."
Ghosts and ice ages being what they are, that's a pretty tough challenge for Harry. But, we know our hero it up to it. We have followed him through worse than this. How could anyone forget those awful people he had to live with? Though from the so-called real world, they seemed scarier in their fashion than anything in Rowland's fantasies.
It's nice to have something so reliable to come home to again and again. Even if it scares you half out of your wits. Isn't it?
It is rated PG-13 for frightening sounding things: fantasy, violence and images. Good heavens.
It is playing at Market Square East.

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