A solid film but nothing more
9 July 2009
Unlike its gorgeous predecessor "Goblet of Fire" is quite an ugly movie, with a very dull, plastic look to it. Surprising, considering it was shot by "Twelve Monkeys" and "Brazil" cinematographer Roger Pratt, who seemed to have been in his "102 Dalmatians" mode while shooting this. Mike Newell does an okay job directing the film I guess, he gets the tone right and the film is not boring at a gargantuan 157 minutes. The screenplay by Steve Kloves is again a rushed narrative jumping through as many of the big setpieces as possible. I suppose it must have been hard to adapt this lengthy book (which is my favorite or second favorite of the series), but Kloves didn't do a very good job of it as far as I'm concerned. It's basically setpiece-humorous coming of age aside-setpiece on repeat. The performances vary in quality but most of them are good-very good. With a prettier aesthetic I may have been able to forgive some of the flaws, but the film still entertains, staying at the level of the previous installment albeit with very different strengths and weaknesses. The overwhelmingly positive critical reviews at the time aren't hard to understand, it was the most human and emotional of the Potter films at the time and I recall the set-pieces dazzling on a theater screen, but it's just okay on second viewing at home, failing to capitalize on the huge jump in quality in both the source material and films from the second to the third installment and continue in that vein, instead leveling out.
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