Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire : Dark And Difficult Times Lie Ahead.

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This magical epic is the fourth in the series based on the books by J.K. Rowling. This is also the pivotal year in which Lord Voldemort is no longer hiding with in the bodies of his followers or in the pages of a lost diary. He has grown stronger, and needs just one perfect spell to bring him back, and Harry is the catalyst to make it work.

We are lucky enough not to have dealings with the Dursleys in this film, as we go from the scene at the old Riddle manor house where we see Wormtail (Timothy Spall) and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) conspiring with an unknown ally. Nagini, Voldemort’s familiar, portrayed as a Burmese Python, but a magical pairing, as she has fangs and venom where true pythons do not, works as a sentry for the Dark Lord and his crew, and spies the old caretaker, Frank Bryce (Eric Sykes), but the old man knows to much and meets his end with a killing curse from a phoenix feather-powered wand.

Cut to the Burrow, where the Herminone Granger (Emma Watson) has been sent by Ron Weasley’s (Rupert Gint) mother to awaken Ron and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) just at the crack of dawn. Fred and George (James and Oliver Phelps) and Ginny (Bonnie Wright) are going with Arthur (Mark Williams) to meet with Amos Diggory (Jeff Rawle) and his son Cedric (Robert Pattinson) to find a portkey, which looks like a ratty old boot, that takes them directly to the campsite by the stadium where they are going to watch the 432nd annual World Quidditch Cup. Witches and wizards from all over the world are here, but the two teams that are favoured to take it all are Ireland and Bulgaria. Bulgaria has a young seeker that is one of the most talented ever seen, Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski), but even Viktor cannot stop Celtic pride, and the Irish take the game.

As Harry, Herminone, and the Weasleys celebrate back at the tent, singing, and quaffing down pints, a hail of loud noises cut through the night, sounding much like fireworks, but the celebration is cut short when a team of Death Eaters invades the camp. The look not unlike Spanish Inquisitors or Imperial Guards from Coruscant. They are here to make their mark on the wizarding world to let it know that their dark lord is coming back. There is much running around and confusion, and Harry gets separated from the Weasleys and knocked cold. He wakes a little bit later and sees a man shoot lights into the sky from his wand. The sky is illuminated by a vision of a snake coming out if the mouth of a human skull. This is what is known as the “Dark Mark”, and is worn by Death Eaters, the followers of Voldemort.

Even with the dark times coming on them, the kids cannot stay away from school, and soon find themselves back at House Gryffindor, learning new spells and magical skills. As Harry rides the Hogwarts express, he meets with Cho Chang (Katie Leung), a pretty Ravenclaw, and she becomes his new crush. Again, there is a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. This year it is Professor Alastor ‘Mad­Eye’ Moody (Brendan Gleeson), a former Auror. That is not the only thing new this year. It is also time for the Tri-Wizard Tourney, in which three champions from three different schools will compete. The three schools are Hogwarts, Beauxbatons Academy of Magique, and Durmstrang. Once again we meet with Viktor Krum. The three headmasters of the schools are here to watch over their charges. Madame Olympe Maxime (Frances De La Tour) for Beauxbatons, and Igor Karkaroff (Predrag Bjelac) of Durmstrang. Any student over the age of 17 can enter the contest, but this is not to be taken lightly, because people have died in these competitions in the past. They must write their name on a piece of paper and put it in the Goblet of Fire. The magical vessel chooses the competitors. It chooses Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy), Cedric Diggory, and…. Harry Potter?

Harry is not one to flaunt the rules, and even magical protections have been put around the goblet to prevent anyone under age from entering, but somehow Harry’s name ended up in there, even though he is only 14 at this time. Once the name is chosen, the champions are under a geas to compete, so Harry cannot back down, and trying to get a golden egg from a vicious dragon is just the beginning of a magical rollercoaster ride.

There is not just fantasy adventure waiting this year. There is the Yule Ball, a formal dance, new relationships forming, some dangling by a thread, and even Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) finds a girlfriend. Some of the elements of the book were cut, such as Hermione taking up the cause to bring freedom to the house elves, and the rockin tunes at the dance should have been played out completely. There are times when you think Harry might see his end, if not for his life, then at least for his social standing, because he is also being hounded by a investigative reporter, Rita Skeeter (Miranda Richardson), and even if she does write for the prestigious Daily Prophet, she still does whatever she can to make Harry and his friends seem scandalous in the press.

Harry finds unlikely allies in his friends, and even in the ghostly Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson), and does not even realise that his closest ally is the pawn of his greatest enemy. Even though this movie came out only six years ago, it, along with the other movies in the franchise, are ones you can watch over and over and never get tired of. They are just that good. There have been rumours that Rowling might start up a new series. I certainly hope so, because this kind entertainment has become classic, but never forget that it is just entertainment, but some of the best to be had.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★★☆ 

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Available on Blu-Ray from Amazon