Release Date(s)2005 (November 7, 2017)
Studio(s)Heyday Films/Patalex IV Productions/Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros.)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B+
When Harry Potter and his friends attend the Quidditch World Cup, only to see it disrupted by violence from Voldemort’s “Death Eaters,” they know that their next year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is likely to be an interesting one. It gets more so, however, when two other Wizarding schools, Drumstrang and Beauxbaton, join them at Hogwarts for the legendary Triwizard Tournament. Hopeful students from each place their names into the Goblet of Fire, which chooses the final candidates who must overcome a trio challenges to win the prestigious Triwizard Cup. Underage students are not allowed to compete, but Harry’s name is somehow selected by the Goblet as an unexpected fourth candidate. Forced to participate due to the magical contract the Goblet represents, Harry must face these challenges as best he can, each more deadly than the next. Little do any of the competitors know that, whoever who wins the Tournament, the outcome will have dire consequences for the entire Wizarding World.
Directed by Mike Newell (of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a better film than it probably should be, but one that carries forward the momentum achieved by Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban before it quite nicely. Its challenge is a difficult one, however, because the J.K. Rowling novel upon which it’s based was the longest in the series to that point. In order to keep a 157-minute running time, many good subplots and scenes from the book had to be cut. The result occasionally feels a little bit rushed or disjointed, but the film’s darker tone, turning point story, and more varied plot and pacing still hold a good deal of freshness. So too do the new characters in this installment, which include Brandon Gleeson (as Mad-Eye Mooney), Miranda Richardson (as Rita Skeeter), David Tennant (ex-Doctor Who, as Barty Crouch, Jr), Robert Pattinson (pre-Twilight, as Cedric Diggory) and, of course, Ralph Fiennes (as I Won’t Spoil It for You Here).
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was shot on Super 35, like the films before and after it, and was finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate (with VFX rendered in 2K). For this Ultra HD release, that DI has been upsampled and given a new HDR10 color grade. It’s presented here in its proper 2.29:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Of all the Harry Potter UHD film upgrades, this one is arguably the most problematic. Image detail is good in some shots but lacking in others, especially in effects sequences (you’ll see this right off the bat, as the opening Warner Bros. logo gives way to digital snake slinking through a cemetery, the film’s title, and finally a murky nighttime landscape, all of it surprisingly soft looking). The image gets better as the film goes on, with nice texturing, light to moderate grain, and decent fine detail in live action shots, but it’s never quite as crisp and natural as the other films in 4K. Colors are at least good, more rich and nuanced with the High Dynamic Range. Black levels are deep and exhibit nice detail, and the highlights are bright and appealing most of the time. There is one problem with the HDR here, though, and it’s a big one: The film’s color timing is already so bright and washed out in a couple of scenes that, when the highlights are boosted on top of it, critical image detail is lost. You notice this at least twice in the film, first when the Minister of Magic is introducing the Quidditch World Cup (his facial detail is partially lost) and second when Harry sees familiar spirits in the cemetery near the film’s conclusion (again, you can barely make out their faces with HDR). It’s a shame. This is partly due to the lack of detail in the original DI, but it’s unfortunate nonetheless.
Primary audio on the 4K disc is a terrific new English DTS:X object-based mix that offers fine clarity, dynamic range, smooth and lively panning, excellent overall immersion, and firm LFE support. It impresses in particular during each of the three challenges of the Triwizard Tournament, as well as during the Quidditch sequence early in the film. The film’s score this time is by Patrick Doyle. It features the same John Williams themes, but is otherwise fairly generic. In any case, it sounds great here and is well blended into the mix. Additional audio options on the 4K disc include English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, German 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and 5.1 Dolby Digital in French, German, Italian, Castilian Spanish, Latin Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan, with subtitles available in English SDH, French, German for the Hearing Impaired, Italian for the Hearing Impaired, Castilian Spanish, Latin Spanish, and Portuguese.
Once again, Warner’s 4K Ultra HD release is a 3-disc set. It contains the film by itself in 4K on the UHD, plus a movie Blu-ray with the film in 1080p HD. This is the same disc that was released previously in the Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray set for this film and it includes one extra:
- In-Movie Experience (featuring the Weasley Twins)
There’s also a second Blu-ray, all of extras and again the same bonus disc that was included in the UCE Blu-ray set, called Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 4 – Sound and Music. It includes the following features (some in HD and some in the original SD):
- Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 4 – Sound and Music (54:12)
- Conversations with the Cast (30:36)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Behind the Magic (48:51)
- Inside Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (43:48)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Adventure Continues (24:12)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Some Animal Magic (23:25)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Dark Matters, New Masters (13:02)
- Deleted Scenes (8 scenes – 9:58 in all)
- Teaser Trailer (1:17)
- Theatrical Trailer (2:16)
- Harry Potter: Spells (:45)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-up Book (1:49)
- Harry Potter: Film Wizardry (2:31)
That’s everything created for the UCE edition box set, though obviously you don’t get the hardcover book or swag. Not here from the original Blu-ray release are Harry vs. the Horntail: The First Task, In Too Deep: The Second Task, The Maze: The Third Task, Meet the Champions, He Who Must Not Be Named, Preparing for the Yule Ball, and Reflections on the Fourth Film. And again, the original DVD release featured some interactive games, hidden features, and ROM content that’s not here. You do, however, get the Digital HD code on a paper insert in the packaging.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is another solid entry in this film series, but the 4K presentation offers only very modest detail improvements from the standard Blu-ray and actually suffers by comparison in a couple of instances with its HDR grade. The object-based audio mix is, however, terrific. If you’re a fan and a completist, you’ll probably want this disc regardless, but do get the best sale price you can find. Note that this title is also included in the Harry Potter 8-Film Collection 4K Ultra HD box set (available here on Amazon), but be aware that the Collection does NOT include the Creating the World of Harry Potter bonus Blu-rays – only the films on BD and 4K.
- Bill Hunt