Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (12A)

Written by J.K. Rowling (novel) and Steven Kloves (screenplay)
Directed by Mike Newell

Reviewed by Madeline Fuller

I hold my hands up - I have never read a Harry Potter book, nor had I seen any of the film adaptations prior to this, the fourth instalment in the series. Directed by Mike Newell, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the most recent of JK Rowling's stories to reach cinemas.

As a Harry Potter virgin I wondered whether this film would make any sense to me - whether it would stand alone as a film in its own right. It does and I was not disappointed. The film is intriguing from the start - a strange dream which is more of a premonition, disaster at the Quidditch World Cup and Harry's mysterious nomination for the Tri-Wizard Competition.

It is this competition that is central to the story and its three rounds feature dragons, near drowning and death. The film is exciting, mysterious and genuinely scary in parts. The dragons are perhaps the best feature - so well animated I wondered whether dragons actually exist!

If there is one downside, it's that the central characters - Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) - are quite irritating. They are meant to be fourteen-year-olds yet much of the dialogue makes them sound middle-aged. A few 'sod offs' and 'bloody hells' did not convince me that I was listening to the conversation of early teens. The content alone was effective enough to illustrate that these characters had reached their teens. Consequently it did feel a bit Enid Blyton in places - Enid Blyton on acid perhaps.

Certainly there were moments when I sat blank faced as others gasped in horror or excitement, however this made little impact on my appreciation of the film. It simply made me want to go out, buy the books and DVDs and get 'Pottered'. This is a magical film and I recommend it to everyone, from Potter fanatics to newcomers.

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