Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Mike Newell

At this point in the Harry Potter filmic adaptations, you either are an avid follower or you’re totally lost. Like mid-season serialised television, with movie number four in the Potter-verse, there are no attempts to provide exposition or character background on Harry Potter, his friends or adversaries. But it’s one of the most read and watched series in existence — where have you been, under a rock? No, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire drops you back in Harry’s fourth year at Hogwart’s and introduces a host of new characters atop the not-insubstantial cast. In year four, Harry has to contend with the (un)usual trials and tribulations of being the most famous/infamous boy in the wizarding world, which include this time being inexplicably chosen to compete in the legendary Tri-Wizard tournament, even though he’s too young and inexperienced, discovering girls (yup, Harry’s growing up and growing fur in places he never had fur before), feuding with best friend Ron and even coming face to face with the finally revealed dark Lord Voldemort (played by, who else, Ralph Fiennes in a perfect piece of casting). Mike Newell takes over directing duties (becoming the third director in the series) and delivers a more dramatic and equally as dark (if not darker) film as The Prisoner of Azkaban, while the introduction of "Madeye” Moody (Brendan Gleeson, in another piece of spot-on casting) as the new Defence Against Dark Arts teacher nearly steals the film. Of course, with so many characters, some old favourites receive less screen time (Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape) and the former child actors are starting to show their tween-ness, but Goblet of Fire remains faithful to the book/series while equalling, if not topping the films that came before. In terms of extras, Goblet of Fire follows the lead of the other Potter DVDs, providing a host of interactive games that mirror events in the film and the usual special feature suspects: deleted scenes, "Reflections” interview with the three main formerly child actors and actress, various featurettes, etc. And while there is no director commentary, one is not needed, as the magic of the Potter-verse continues to thrill. (Warner)