Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ★★★½

There's so much going for this one, so why does it seem like a let down?

I have so much reverence for this series, but a lot of that comes from the technical aspect, as they were able to make an eight-film series with pretty much losing only one actor, and the scope that becomes grander and grander as it goes along. To paraphrase John Hammond, "they spared no expense!"

While these film mostly get the character work done right, the fault I find with this film and what carries throughout the series is the nebulous ways everything ever gets resolved.

As I asked in my review of Sorcerer's Stone, why does a sport that has two teams of five players fighting to score points have an option for one player to negate all that skill and process with a simple grab of a flying ball? Carry that over to the Goblet of Fire, where you have to grab an egg from a dragon that's able to get free, you have to save the life of your drowned friend, and run through a maze that constantly changes AND all of these tasks can also kill you? Get outta here with that.

All of those competitions are fun and exciting, but without ever knowing exactly how someone can win, we don't really know how to enjoy the events. All we enjoy is the parts of them that are exciting, like Harry chasing down a Snitch. On top of all that, you've got points given out haphazardly at the end that can change everything, and usually positively for our heroes. "Oh great, our heroes win again with a surprise extra 100 points. Meh."

Since all the big sporting events in this film can be resolved through a technicality, isn't that why we are constantly unaware of how exactly Voldemort exists and is continuing to gain power? I know I'm nitpicking, but everything that occurs with Voldemort is a combination of two things: Voldemort is disturbingly frightening and every aspect of his existence can only be defined by the magic spell that the story drops at that moment.

I really enjoy these films, but it's the magic that's the double-edged sword of this series. It provides all the excitement, but also is the cheat that moves the story along.