This was one the most highly anticipate films of 2005 and I have to confess to getting slightly caught up in the hype. However, I tried to forget about its release until I arrived in the cinema knowing that too much excitement would ultimately lead to disappointment. When it came to it, as the credits rolled, my feelings were somewhat mixed.
JK Rowling's fourth book was, in my opinion, the better of her six novels so far; consequently the film adaptation was always going to be put under a lot of scrutiny. It seemed to me that the writers and directors had tried to remain as faithful as possible to all story lines in the book. However, so much detail was missed out from them all that I believe they would have been better to ignore some of the smaller story lines completely. Take, for example, the house elves; they were completely omitted from the film and made the Barty Crouch Jr. story line impossible to understand. Perhaps the Director would have been better served focussing on this story line and leaving out the Rita Skeeter scenes ? which again served little purpose because the story line was not followed through as in the book.
The CGI in this film was massively improved on the previous years. This is probably to be expected due to the rapid developments in the field, but regardless this added an extra element of realism to the film. The Quidditch World Cup was depicted exactly as described in the book. It was a shame that this part of the story was rushed through so quickly. However, the computer effects were used to their best in the first Tri-Wizard Cup challenge where Harry took on the Horntail ? this was certainly one scene which bettered the book!
As far as the cast is concerned, our favourite villain Draco Malfoy was noticeably missing from most of the film. However Ralph Fiennes debuts as the evil Lord Voldemort and is as nasty as one could allow in a 12A. It was also nice to have some new younger characters introduced this time round in the form of Cho, Cedric, Fleur and Viktor Krum. Whilst they did not appear with the same frequency as Harry, Ron and Hemione, they were a welcome distraction from the acting of the three leads. It would be unfair not to mention that their acting had improved on the last few films, but I got this impression this time that they were trying a bit too hard!
Whilst I may have spent much of this review criticising the film, it was an enjoyable watch. There weren't too many extended periods of boredom and some of the scenes within both the Tri-Wizard challenges and the rise of Voldemort were interpreted just as I had imagined them to be when reading the book. It must be remembered when reviewing a film such as this that the story was first and foremost intended for children. An audience of a younger age would probably be completed enthralled by the film.
All in all, it could have been done a little better but it was a entertaining none-the-less. I still prefer the third film (perhaps because the story was the ideal length for a 2 hour film) but if you're a Harry Potter fan then the Goblet of Fire is worth a watch.