Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Game-Triwizard Tournament: Dragon Challenge
Featurette-Harry Vs The Horntail: The First Task
Featurette-Meet The Champions
Game-Triwizard Tournament: Lake Challenge
Featurette-In Too Deep: The Second Task
Game-Triwizard Tournament: Maze Challenge
Game-To The Graveyard And Back Challenge
Featurette-The Maze: The Third Task
Featurette-He Who Must Not Be Named
Featurette-Preparing For The Yule Ball
Featurette-Conversations With The Cast
Featurette-Reflections On The Fourth Film
|Year Of Production||2005|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Mike Newell|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the latest Harry Potter film to be released on DVD. With another new director at the helm, Goblet of Fire is the darkest and most sophisticated film of the series so far.
As with its three predecessors, Goblet of Fire is based on the Harry Potter children's fantasy book by J.K. Rowling. As I mentioned in my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, both the Harry Potter books and movies have been exceptionally successful. For example, it is estimated that there are over 20 million Harry Potter books in print, in 40 languages. Furthermore, all of the four Harry Potter films sit comfortably in the Top 40 list of the Top Box Office films of all-time.
With Goblet of Fire, Steve Kloves returns as the screenwriter, adapting Rowling's very lengthy book. As I noted in my review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Kloves understandably dispenses with a few of the book's subplots and rather focussed on the action, suspense, and mystery elements of the books. Film, after all, is a visual medium, and as with his previous adaptations, Kloves has understandably chosen to focus on the themes and characters of the book, rather than just the events of the book.
Following in Chris Columbus' and Alfonso Cuarón's directorial footsteps, Mike Newell has taken over the directing reigns for the fourth Harry Potter film. Previously, the British Newell was best known for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Mona Lisa Smile.
While the first two Harry Potter films revelled in Rowling's world of wizards and magic, the last two films, Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire have chosen to look more deeply into developing the characters and focusing on the human drama. As the three young protagonists move into their teens, they begin to confront common teen issues, such as hormonal urges, peer pressure, and individuality and identity. They also discover that magic can't help them solve any of these problems.
In Goblet of Fire, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is suffering from a recurring nightmare. He sees a room glimpsed from a dark corridor, in which his nemesis, the evil Lord Voldemort, conspires with his disciples.
When Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry opens for another year, dark figures attack. The dark figures, who are known as Death Eaters, haven't appeared since their leader, Voldemort, lost his powers 13 years before, on the night he murdered Harry's parents but failed to kill the baby Harry.
From the very opening we can see that Newell and Kloves have chosen to jettison the world of muggles (non-magic folk), and this story takes place entirely on the School's grounds.
This year, Hogwarts is also to host the Tri-Wizard Tournament. As a result, two other prestigious magic schools, the Beauxbatons Academy with its beautiful and graceful girls, and the Durmstrang Institute of athletic and powerful boys join Hogwarts for the competition.
Candidates, who enter the tournament by placing their names in the Goblet of Fire, must be at least seventeen years old to join in the dangerous competition of three challenges. The enchanted Goblet of Fire spits out the names of the champion for each of the three schools. However, a strange thing happens - a fourth name flies out - Harry Potter. At 14, Harry is far too young to compete. Yet the Goblet must be followed, so Harry is entered into a very dangerous competition against magic students far more advanced than he.
Harry's strange selection upsets his relationship with his two best friends. Ron (Rupert Grint) becomes angry and jealous, and believes Harry cheated his way into selection to gain popularity. Meanwhile, Hermione (Emma Watson) is concerned for Harry, and also becomes increasingly annoyed as she finds herself in the middle of her two warring friends.
Hogwarts' Headmaster Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is also worried. Believing that there is some foul play at work, he asks the new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, the extremely odd Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody (Brendan Gleeson), to watch over Harry.
The three challenges of the Tri-Wizard Tournament provide the basic structure of the story. Each is a great action set piece, filled with danger and adventure. The first challenge puts the young wizards up against angry, fire-spewing dragons. The second sends the four contestants to the depths of the mysterious Black Lake. The final challenge involves a giant, creepy maze of vicious hedges and narrow, misty, pathways.
It is during this final challenge that Harry is finally brought before the cruel Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). The much-anticipated confrontation does not disappoint.
Another challenge facing Harry is that Hogwarts' Yule Ball requires that boys come with dates. Facing the agony of insecurity, both Harry and Ron find themselves tongue-tied and awkward. Harry desperately tries to work up the courage to approach Cho Chang (Katie Leung). Meanwhile, Ron asks Hermione in such a lame manner that she chooses to attend with Durmstrang's champion, Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski).
In Goblet of Fire, the three leads appear far more comfortable in their roles, and they are helped with a great supporting cast. Returning are Alan Rickman as the grumpy Professor Snape, Robbie Coltrane, the gentle giant Hagrid, Maggie Smith as the unflappable Professor McGonagall, Timothy Spall as the rat-like Wormtail/Peter Pettigrew, Jason Isaacs as the pompous and condescending Lucius Malfoy, and Tom Felton as the annoying school bully Draco.
The film's direction by Newell is also great, and the film moves along at an excellent pace. The film also boasts the same awesome production values of his predecessors. Designer Stuart Craig and cinematographer Roger Pratt help Newell create a darker and more sophisticated landscape - a brooding world of fantasy where evil seems to lurk around every corner. Indeed, the film's imagery is truly wonderful, and the special effects are not gratuitous, as they really serve the story.
In the film, Dumbledore remarks that life is often "a choice between what is right and what is easy". Fortunately Newell and Kloves chose to stay true to the spirit of the book, which I believe was the right, but certainly not the easy path.
As with the other three Harry Potter films, the transfer is magnificent, and looked brilliant on both my widescreen television and when I viewed it with a projector (InFocus DLP). Indeed, if you can watch this film with a projector, I would encourage you to do so. A lot of the sweeping visual style, with castles and dragons, is lost on a small television screen.
The transfer is presented its original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1. It is 16x9 Enhanced.
The sharpness of the picture is excellent. For example, consider the detailed shot of the crowd during the Tri-Wizard Tournament at 105:50. The black level is perfect, with true deep blacks. As with the last in the series, this film is very dark in both its mood and appearance. Indeed, it appears that large segments of the film's print seem to have been intentionally darkened through digital grading. As I've mentioned before, I much prefer it when the films are lit in a shadowy way, such as in the beautifully filmed The Godfather, rather than the relatively 'lazy' approach of using computers in post-production. That aside, the shadow detail is excellent - for example, consider the scene featuring candlelight and flickering shadows in Harry's room at night at 3:49, or the shadowy and dark interior of the bell tower at night at 79:07.
The colour is also excellent, with a rich palette of beautifully-saturated hues which suit the film's many moods. The transfer also exhibits accurate flesh tones.
While there is some film grain noticeable at times, there are no problems with MPEG or film-to-video artefacts. A few tiny film artefacts, such as black or white flecks, appear infrequently throughout, but are hardly noticeable unless one looks for them. Some slight edge enhancement is also noticeable, but again, only if one's looking for it. I never found either that noticeable or distracting.
English, Arabic, Greek, Icelandic, and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are present, and the English subtitles are accurate.
This is a dual-layer disc, with the layer change placed at 74:54. The feature is divided into 29 chapters.
Originally released theatrically with Dolby Digital Surround EX, dts, and SDDS audio, there are two audio options on this DVD: The movie's audio encoded as English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), and an English Descriptive Audio Track is encoded as Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). Sadly, unlike Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Goblet of Fire's 5.1 track has been encoded at the inferior 384Kb/s, as opposed to the 448Kb/s 5.1 EX track we were treated to with the original film. Considering that there is no dts track on the DVD, I find this disappointing.
The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent throughout.
The scores for the first three Harry Potter films were provided by the great John Williams, who added the Harry Potter series to his impressive body of work, which also includes the very successful franchises of the Jaws, Star Wars, Superman, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones movies. However, with the latest film, Patrick Doyle has provided the score, as well as crafted some variations on the original themes.
The surround presence and activity is very immersive and impressive. The rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score and provide a lot of ambience throughout, such as noise of the crowd at the Tri-Wizard Tournament at 52:04, or the cheers from Harry's friends at 60:18. There are also a number of rear directional effects, which includes panning between speakers, such as during the Quidditch World Cup at 5:55.
The subwoofer is also utilised very effectively throughout, and the LFE track is used well to support the dark mood of the film, such as the thunder at 18:28 or the ominous rumble in the dark maze at 114:07.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are plenty of extras spread across the two discs, but unfortunately I found them to be all rather short and shallow. They also seem to be aimed squarely at kids, which I suppose is understandable as this is a family film.
Once again, the pleasant packaging of the first two Harry Potter DVDs with their slip-cases and gate-fold packs is gone. Instead, Warner Home Video have opted to package Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in a much cheaper, standard DVD case.
The menus are animated, with stereo audio.
Forced commercial - Anti-Piracy Advertisement
This very loud and annoying commercial raises its ugly head again. I dislike it so much this advert is actually making me want to commit piracy. It cannot be skipped, but one can fast-forward through it.
Descriptive Audio Track
Here the story of the movie is narrated, as if it were a book being read out aloud. The dialogue and sound of the movie remain.
All material included on Disc Two is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio (unless noted otherwise). The clips from the film are all letter-boxed. The extras are divided into four distinct sections:
1. Dragon Arena
Game-Tri-Wizard Tournament: Dragon Challenge
A simple obstacle game for kids using the DVD player remote.
Featurette-Harry Vs The Horntail: The First Task (5:53)
A look at one of the big scenes from the film. Key VFX and Design crew discuss bringing the vision from the book to the big screen. There are snippets from the director and some of the crew, and some letter-boxed clips from the film.
Featurette-Meet The Champions (13:03)
A behind-the-scenes look at the young actors playing the champions. We follow them around from their early-morning arrival on set, to their make up and costumes, to filming their scenes, to leaving the set.
2. The Lake
Game-Tri-Wizard Tournament: Lake Challenge
A simple obstacle game for kids using the DVD player remote.
Featurette-In Too Deep: The Second Task (9:24)
A look at building the tank that was used for the underwater lake scenes. We also have a behind the scenes look at filming underwater, and Daniel Radcliffe's diving and swimming training.
3. The Maze
Game-Tri-Wizard Tournament: Maze Challenge
A simple obstacle game for kids using the DVD player remote.
Game-To The Graveyard And Back Challenge
Another tedious DVD remote control game for the kids.
Featurette-The Maze: The Third Task (6:31)
A look at the creepy maze featured in the film. We also have a behind-the-scenes look at filming the maze scenes, and a look at some of the CGI used for the finished scenes.
Featurette-He Who Must Not Be Named (10:42)
A look at the character of Voldemort. We see some of the design sketches for the character, and his costume. Their are also some snippets of interviews with the director Mike Newell and the actor who plays Voldemort, Ralph Fiennes.
4. Hogwarts Castle
Deleted Scenes (9:43)
Eight additional scenes, presented in their original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1. They are 16x9 Enhanced, with Dolby Digital Stereo Surround audio.
Featurette-Preparing For The Yule Ball (8:40)
A look at the design of the costumes and art direction for the ball, and some dance preparation for the cast.
Featurette-Conversations With The Cast (30:33)
This is the longest extra, but I found it rather dull. Richard Curtis interviews the main actors of the film, and they discuss their characters and the story. The actors responses to familiar questions seem rather mundane, and I can only guess they're getting bored with talking about all things Harry Potter after all these years.
Featurette-Reflections On The Fourth Film (14:13)
A nostalgic look at the main and supporting cast and how they have changed in appearance over the four films.
Theatrical Trailer (1:13)
Presented in its original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1. It is 16x9 Enhanced, with Dolby Digital Stereo Surround audio
There are a few extras for the kiddies if you insert the DVD into a PC. One can also connect to www.harrypotter.com.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has been released on DVD in Region 1, and the R1 version is very similar to ours. However, the R1 has an (inferior) NTSC transfer, and some slight changes to the extras included.
The Region 4 DVD misses out on:
The Region 1 DVD misses out on:
It's pretty even, but I would favour the local release for its superior PAL image.
Goblet of Fire is a very enjoyable Harry Potter film that reminds us that facing a fire-breathing dragon is nothing compared to the terrors of asking a girl out.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is also excellent.
The extras are plentiful, but sadly there's nothing too meaty.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|