Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000 to 2009.
2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire remains the best film of the cinematic adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s novels — a responsible, straightforward and exciting look at teenage reality through a fantasy lens.
Look past cute words like Muggle, clever names like Severus Snape or nasty-sounding curses called Cruciatus or Imperious. Truly vibrant, compelling plots about personal responsibility, sexual awakening, teen angst, questions of loyalty and wrenching complications of unexpected death played out here. This proved to be the first, and only, Harry Potter film inspired by its source rather than compelled to parrot it in whole.
With stacked skulls, knife wounds and murder, this isn’t your 10-year-old’s Harry Potter. There’s so much atmospheric dread that even Jarvis Cocker’s end-credits ballad mentions “last dances” and “final chances.”
Screenwriter Steve Kloves pares down a 734-page novel into a 157-minute movie that moves. Two minutes of Quidditch distracts enough from evil Lord Voldemort’s rise amid the TriWizard Tournament, a three-person competition in which our wizard hero finds himself an unexpected fourth competitor.
Goblet of Fire concluded with the films’ greatest feat yet — not pretending that growing up doesn’t change everything. There might never be a flawless Potter movie, as this still crammed in too many characters as afterthoughts. But this was as close as we’re likely to get.