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Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire (2005)
Rated PG13

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson

Rating:
*****
out of
*****

What an incredibly consistent film series the Harry Potter films are! Four films into a run of seven movies and it has yet to stumble at all. While I'm sure this can be credited to the strength of the novels by J. K. Rowling, each individual movie has had to deal with the complex issue of leaving out certain details, subplots, and other extraneous bits for the sake making a roughly two and a half hour movie from each book. At the beginning of the series, this wasn't as difficult as the books were shorter. Beginning with Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, the books nearly doubled in size. Yet, the film version remains within that two and a half hour running time and still manages to tell a thoroughly engrossing story.

This time around, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) finds himself thrust into the Triwizard Tournament, a competition meant to crown the champion wizard of three schools of magic. The Triwizard Tournament is a particularly cruel contest that forces the competitors to complete three tasks that potentially could cost them their lives.

Harry is not old enough and technically not eligible to compete in the tournament but his name is mysteriously entered and magically drawn from the titular Goblet of Fire. Due to the rules of the contest and its traditions, because his name was drawn, he is required to compete alongside the three other contestants. Because he isn't supposed to be able to compete and is allowed to anyway, his fellow students, including best friend Ron (Rupert Grint), deem him a liar and cheat. So, the great Harry Potter has two problems: surviving the tournament and finding out who entered him in the first place.

Mike Newell, who takes the director's seat for the first time, provides a seamless transition from the previous entry, Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban. The series' descent into darker territory again gives this film a decidedly more "adult" feel than its predecessors as well. This is the first of the series to be rated PG13, as opposed to PG, and it's a rating that's well-deserved as things get a bit intense for Harry and friends.

Aside from the strong source material, the stability of the cast -- including Radcliffe as Harry, Grint as Ron, and Emma Watson as the maturing Hermione -- is another asset that benefits the series greatly. Their chemistry is undeniable and I can only hope they are able to stay together through the final film in the series which, at the pace the series is going, won't be until 2011 or so.

If the movies all stay as good as Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, I'll be very happy.

Trivia: In the end credits, it says that "No Dragons Were Harmed in the Making of this Movie." (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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