Right away something was different. The light, mystical motif on celeste was replaced by ominous low strings. This dark mood was pervasive throughout the entire film, in keeping with the grimmer nature of the movie.
The previous three movies were not kids stuff. Giant three-headed dogs, huge attacking spiders and snakes, and werewolves and madmen can cause enough bad dreams for young kids. I think the reason this movie earned its PG-13 rating was because there was more of the fear and less of the magic throughout. As one reviewer on NPR put it, this is just scary PG-13, not an R film trying to get a lower rating a larger audience. Most children about 10 should be able to handle it.
Speaking of children, all of the actors that started this series as kids have really grown into adolescents. Yet, they manage to keep their expressions of childlike awe, even in the midst of teen angst, terror, fear and death. I do hope that this ensemble can complete the series.
John Williams is sorely missed. His score for Azkahban was his best, especially with the addition of the jazz and choral motifs. Patrick Doyle does a passable job, but the music just isn’t as inspiring as the last movie.
The Goblet of Fire has been my favorite of the Potter series. Director Mike Newell has done a fantastic job of condensing a 700+ page book into a 2.5 hour movie, thereby getting to the essence of the story. However, as with the previous film, certain details were omitted that would have made the plot a bit clearer for those that haven’t read the novels. The previous DVD releases included deleted scenes which actually further the plot and make things clearer. I hope this is the case with this movie. My hope would be that they would release a director’s version with the deleted scenes for each of these movies.
Overall, the movie was quite enjoyable. I won’t say it’s my favorite of the series, but certainly was entertaining.