*Insert obligatory “J.K. Rowling is a terrible person” line here*. We all know it, let’s move on.
This is, without debate, the most important movie in the Harry Potter franchise. Granted, it kind of got handed that for free; this is the one where Voldemort gets revived, after all. But it’s not just that. This one sets the tone for the rest of the series going forward, not to mention all the stuff it introduces to the main plot.
And it’s kind of… not good. It isn’t unbearably awful. But… well, it’s sloppy.
Before heading to Hogwarts for another year, Harry and friends drop by the world Quidditch cup. But their fun is cut short when the Death Eaters, Voldemort’s trusty servants, show up and crash the party. After that, they return to school. This year, they’re holding the Triwizard Tournament along with two other schools. When Harry ends up registered in the tournament against his will, all of his friends turn against him. Can he survive the tournament and find out who put his name in the Goblet of Fire?
Alright, let’s get the big two problems out of the way. One: the entire Barty Crouch plotline is a titanic waste of time. Why couldn’t Peter Pettigrew have put his name in the stupid goblet? What’s the point in establishing a new villain when you’ve got a perfectly good one that would’ve done just fine?
If anything, it hurts the plot! Because you know Mad-Eye Moody? That great character? Yeah, he was a lie! And now, for the rest of the series, we get the real Moody, which is a completely different character that we don’t know! Why did Moody have to be an imposter? Why couldn’t he have just been… well, Moody? The real one?
Second: the ending. You’d think that it would be a fairly dark, somber ending, considering that a) Voldemort came back and b) a student was murdered. But nope. Everyone’s relaxed, smiling, and cracking jokes. The whole status quo of the world has changed and all the kids, who should be feeling it the most, are acting as if nothing bad had ever happened.
There are many more issues than just those two, mind you. Ron becomes a total asshole in this movie and he stays that way for the rest of the series. Cedric is severely underwritten and his death wrings hallow. The other contestants of the tournament are basically just fodder who never really contribute. I could nitpick and nitpick all day long. You get the point. The plot is sloppy from top to bottom.
Still, it is enjoyable. It’s basically an anime tournament arc but with wizards. It may not live up to its full potential, but it’s still a fun flick.
Not to mention that the climax is one of the best in the series. Voldemort’s return is one of the most terrifying and intense battles we get. Watching Harry stand up to him despite being scared absolutely shitless is one of the few moments where he gets to be a good character. Plus, it pays off the fact that Harry and Voldemort’s wands are related! I love it a lot!
Alright, that’s enough from the story. Let’s talk about the visuals. Frankly… I’m not impressed. The CGI in this movie is decent, but it definitely shows its age in a few areas. It doesn’t have the same fidelity and quality we’ll get in the later movies. Hell, I’d even say some of the earlier CGI was better than this!
Man, I miss practical effects.
All in all, this is a decent movie. The plot is an absolute mess and the visuals aren’t especially incredible. But you can still enjoy it just fine. Goblet of Fire is, flaws and all, pretty good. Not great, but good.