Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Although the first few films in the Harry Potter series put young kids in peril, it always felt as if that danger was at an arm’s distance. Yes, the big bad Voldemort was evil and tried to kill a baby, but it never felt like our heroic trio was facing death. But HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE acts as a sort of transition film to the more serious, much darker films of David Yates. It might be the weakest link in the 8-film series, but it has a huge implication on the rest of the series since for the first time, a student actually dies and that death serves as a warning shot to the characters and the audience. Because from this point forward, evil is here and anyone can perish at any time.
The first three films followed a basic outline, but the fourth film shakes things up a bit. Instead of picking up with Harry with the Dursleys, we find him and the Weasleys at the Quidditch World Cup. While there, we get a dragged out opening scene of Quidditch that ultimately sees Harry and his friends running for their lives. At Hogwarts, we’re introduced to something called the Tri-wizard Cup, which is a contest where a student from three different schools competes in a series of mortally dangerous contests. This is where we meet the Hogwarts chosen student, Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson). But after the three students are called, Harry Potter’s name is thrown out, causing much controversy. And so the film follows Harry as he faces the dangerous challenges, all the while dealing with yet another Dark Arts teacher, Madeye Moody (Brendan Gleeson).
I appreciated the change-up in basic plot, but the biggest issue facing HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE is that it runs about 30 minutes too long. I know this is a constant struggle between movie fans and book fans, but there’s too much wasted time in this film. The opening scene lasts too long and we go almost an hour between the first and second Tri-wizard Cup challenge. This is one of the reasons the fourth Potter film feels like the most boring, even though it might have the most exciting and tragic ending. But even the ending feels a little anti-climactic, at least when you compare it to what happened. The first one on one showdown between Potter and Voldemort, along with the demise of Cedric, should have been devastating to audiences. But in the hands of director Mike Newell, it fell a little flat. Newell directed one of my favorite rom-com in FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, but nothing in his resume prior to HP4 showed he was ready for such a big blockbuster.
From a story development viewpoint, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE takes us into the next stage of the Harry Potter series with expert precision. Ron and Hermione are spared for most of the film, but the dangers facing Harry get more and more real, even if he’s always protected by Dumbledore or even Madeye Moody. But when he gets transported to the graveyard with Voldemort, the audience is told instantly that Harry can no longer rely on his adult allies. Yes, some familiar spirits show up to help him, but this is the first time where Harry is face to face with death. It’s a powerful and foreboding foretelling of the future that awaits Harry.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Working backwards from HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2, there’s been a gradual decrease in film quality in WB’s 4K transfers. I was afraid the quality was going to continue the trend, but it seems we may have leveled off with GOBLET OF FIRE. Goblet was Newell’s one and done foray in the world of Potter and his style is brighter and more colorful than the darkness of Cuaron’s PRISONER OF AKABAN. The colors are a welcomed addition and stand out on the 4K slightly more impressively than on the Blu-ray. But this is a standard 4K release, presumably upconverted from the 2K master. The HDR improves backgrounds and clothing textures, but those looking for a massive upgrade might be disappointed. That said, this is the best GOBLET OF FIRE will ever look.
Audio: The DTS-X track is on par with the previous Potter DTS-X tracks. It’s very nice and definitely an upgrade over the prior Blu-ray releases.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but each of the 4K UHD Harry Potter films contain two Blu-ray discs, the first containing the movie and the second disc of special features “Creating the World of Harry Potter”. Both discs were found in the previously released Special Edition Blu-rays.