Fine for people of developing minds, but the story so often stops its forward motion to take us on long detours into the land of CGI effects that it amounts to a $150 million magic show.
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Terrific effects and considerable charm, but, once again, you can't help wishing the filmmakers had been bolder with the adaptation.
The uncontestable triumph of Goblet of Fire, however, is Brendan Gleeson's Alastor (Mad-Eye) Moody, the grizzled new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor.
To this viewer and reader, the decade-old juggernaut is as deeply felt as it is flawed, dense and illogical and laudably "weird."
Imperfect, but magical nonetheless.
The best one yet.
Kids may be appropriately terrified, but to this overgrown Potter fan, Voldemort, the Darth Vader of the black arts, was a heck of a lot scarier when you couldn't see him.
With the cast getting looser and the mind games kinkier, it's hard to resist.
Whenever it hits its stride, it's a well-acted, vividly executed, full-speed-ahead special-effects extravaganza that puts as much bang as possible into every remaining scene.
Last year's "The Prisoner of Azkaban" seemed dark, but this excellent fourth film derived from J.K. Rowling's books is the darkest "Potter" yet, intense enough to warrant a PG-13 rating.