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HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
Ultimate Edition Blu-ray

Film review by Chastity Campbell
Technical specs by Michael Jacobson

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Oldman, Miranda Richardson, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall
Director: Mike Newell
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 157 Minutes           
Release Date:  October 19, 2010

Film ****

It was a cold and rainy day back in 2001 as I sat down in a movie theater, glad to be able to put aside the ordinary for a couple of hours while I enjoyed a butter slathered tub of popcorn and peanut M&Mís. 

Fifteen minutes into the film my popcorn sat untouched, as I became one of the millions of people enthralled by the world that is Harry Potter (Thank you for your gift to us, J.K. Rowling!).  Since that time I have read all of the books that have been released, and viewed all four films as they hit the big screen.

Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire is the one that I have anticipated most since I finished reading the book.  I could not contain my glee as this film hit theaters.  I contributed (four times) to the mass amounts of money movie goers spent on this film, and donít regret a dime of the $32 (total) that I paid to see it on the big screen.  

However, nothing says fun like being able to pause and review or fast forward to my favorite part. Now that itís on DVD, and I have the Two-Disc Special Edition, I can definitely say that I am a happy girl!

Each of these films has amazed and astounded me, but none more so than Goblet.

Harry and Hermione join the Weasley family as they venture out to the Quidditch World Cup.  When things go terribly wrong after the Irish squash the Bulgarians on the Quidditch pitch, Harry gets left behind and almost squashed like a bug.

When the trio return to their beloved Hogwarts to begin their fourth year studies they find themselves, tossed into the middle of a Triwizard tournament that will test friendships, push boundaries, and force our young heroes to find within themselves the courage to face pure evil head on. 

This film is a perfect blend of action, entertainment, fun and complex emotions.  Itís really hard being a teenager in and of itself.  However, when you throw in a deadly tournament, and an evil so great it threatens to destroy all that you hold dear, well then youíve got a nervous breakdown by the time youíre fourteen and gray hair by fifteen!

Yet that is exactly why we all love these films, and the books as well.  We get everything that is mundane about day-to-day life wrapped up in a magical package that lets us forget our troubles for a while and be entertained!

Throughout the progression of the four films, we the fans have had the unique perspective of watching the three lead characters grow up right before our eyes.  Dan and Emma have grown the most in terms of acting ability in my opinion.  Rupert Grint, who brings the nervous and charming Ron brilliantly to life, always seemed to have a good feel for acting. It all seemed very natural for him.  While he has grown as a person (obviously) over the last five years, he has also shown steady progress as a professional actor during that time as well.

Emma Watson has done an amazing job as Hermione.  Emma did a lot of growing as an actress between films two and three.  In Goblet you get the chance to truly see how far sheís come as an actress.  Thereís much more yet to come from this brilliant young lady, and I certainly canít wait to see whatís in store for her next.

Dan, on the other hand, seemed to be searching for himself as an actor.  Iím not a Dan basher; I just think he took a bit longer than Rupert and Emma to fit himself into his role.  By the third film I think Dan had finally found that balance he needed to play the desperate, and often times conflicting emotions of his character. 

Part of the problem with playing a character like Harry is finding someone young enough to play the part that at the same time has the emotional development to go with the character.  I think Goblet Of Fire is a testament to Danís acting abilities, and displays vividly the difference between his acting ability in the first film, and this one.

In addition to the main characters there is always an amazing supporting cast.  As always Dame Maggie Smith, and Alan Rickman are an absolute hoot to watch.  Michael Gambon took over the role of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore after the actor who originated the role, Sir Richard Harris passed away. Gambon proves once again that filling someone elseís shoes may not be easy, but it can be done.

However, I say without preamble that Brendan Gleeson stole the show (comedy wise) with his portrayal of Mad-Eye Moody!   I have looked forward to seeing Moody on screen since reading the book.  Wondering all the while, how will they make his eye work, what will it look like and so on.  I was not disappointed and neither will you be.

Now on to the most amazing and wonderful aspect of this film in particular, the rebirth of Voldemort.  My creepy meter went off the charts when Harry and Cedric Port keyed into the cemetery.  I knew what lay ahead for our young hero and his friend.  However, I was not prepared for the stunning visual of Voldemort himself.

Ralph Fiennes is an amazing actor.  Having seen this movie there is no other actor out there that could have brought J.K. Rowlingís Voldemort to life more realistically and stunningly than Fiennes!  I think once you see how he handles this role you will agree that no one else could have done it better, or creepier!

Finally, we come to director Mike Newell.  Chris Columbus directed the first two films, then handed the reigns over to Alfonso Cuaron, who like his predecessor, did a stunning job. 

Newell breathed a new kind of life into this film.  He brought teen angst, high school hijinx, and youthful exuberance to the front, while staying true to the bigger story told in the book as well.  Well, the parts of the book that they actually left in! I am kind of bitter about the house elves being cut out of the film versionÖgo S.P.E.W!!

Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire is the best film in this series thus far.  However, filming just started on Order Of The Phoenix so I reserve the right to change my mind down the road!

Video ****

The films are getting darker, but the Blu-rays are getting better...the series started settling comfortably into cooler schemes with this entry, and the high definition presentation captures the atmosphere with no loss of integrity or clarity.  The contrast is more subtle but just as striking, and the lower light images come across with more of a sense of style to juxtapose the brighter ones.

Audio ****

The Triwizard challenges really showcase how strong and how powerful DTS HD sound can be.  There won't be a safe seat in your living room because you'll feel like you're right where Harry is...in the middle of the action.  The music is a plus and the layers of audio effects blend nicely with the dialogue and more ambient sequences...superbly done!

Features ****

This Blu-ray is loaded, starting with the fourth part of the "Creating the World of Harry Potter" series of one-hour documentaries.  On this disc, you get to look and listen to the sound and music of the films.  Plus, you can watch the movie with cast recollections picture-in-picture.

There are a few additional scenes that were cut from the movie, conversations with Emma, Dan and Rupert, and Preparing The Yule Ball with Reflections On The Fourth Film.

Triwizard Tournament: Dragon Arena is broken down into three parts.  There is an interactive game called Dragon Challenge, you can play using your DVD remote.  Navigating is hard and I got killed quite a bit by Mr. Dragon but by the third or fourth time (ok the 50th time!) I was doing ok!  Harry Vs. The Horntail: The First Task is an exciting look at how the first challenge was created.  Meet the Champions is a back stage pass with Fluer, Cedric, and Viktor as they work through a day in the life of a Harry Potter actor! 

Triwizard Tournament: Lake is broken down into two parts.  The Lake Challenge lets you step into the action as you fight off Mer-people and other creatures from the Black Lake!  Watch out for those Grindylows!  In Too Deep: The Second Task swims you through the making of the lake, Dan learning to dive, and filming underwater action scenes! 

Triwizard Tournament: Maze is broken down into four parts.  The Maze Challenge once again lets you join in the fun and excitement as a Triwizard Champion.  Fun, but once again itís hard to maneuver with your DVD remote!  To the Graveyard and Back Challenge is yet another game you can play, where you are the main character and itís a race for your life!  The Maze: The Third Task was a really enjoyable featurette.  Building the Maze kept everyone on the crew hopping.  This is one extra feature that wonít have to grow on you!

He Who Must Not Be Named is in my opinion the best extra feature on this disc.  Following the evolution of Voldemort from concept drawing to final product will enthrall you!

The disc also includes a 44-page color book with a pair collectible cards and a bonus Digital Copy disc to make the movie portable!

Summary:

The stories are getting bleaker, but the Blu-rays of the Harry Potter films bring much joy with their pristine and well-packaged presentations.

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