Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has two deaths (including a really sad one), scary creatures, some romantic yearnings, and edge-of-the-seat scenes. With each film the scariness quotient increases. This movie features fighting dragons, tortured bugs, a scary huge maze, and an underwater horror show. Young kids who don't understand the difference between fantasy and reality should stay clear. So should kids going through an anxious time about unnamed terrors or unwanted separations, as one of the death scenes is upsetting. The action is sometimes rowdy, and camera movements/edits are aggressive, all of which increase the scary effects. One of the deleted scenes featured on the DVD shows teen couples after the Yule Ball getting caught kissing, etc., in carriages -- it's a little more sexual content than you get in the feature film.
What's the story?
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE is the first PG-13 movie in the Harry Potter series, and not for nothing. Harry and friends are 14 now and growing up fast, noticing the opposite sex, and realizing what huge expectations the wizarding world has for them during dangerous times. This year, Hogwarts hosts stars from two other schools -- Beauxbatons Academy and Durmstrang Institute -- for the Triwizard Tournament. The Tournament contestants are selected by the magical Goblet of Fire; they must fight dragons, spend an hour underwater with merpeople, and find their way out of a maze. In the end Harry faces fear and pain not sanctioned by the Triwizard committee. He's on his own against his true enemy, and his uneasy transition to adult hero figure is palpable.
Is it any good?
The film tends to move steadily from plot point to plot point, ensuring that each beloved character from the novel gets at least a brief moment on screen. When Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) attend the Quidditch World Cup, they witness the full-on effects of sports celebrity: fans cheer and stomp their feet, magical images of the star shimmer over the crowd. The fact that the tournament site is destroyed by Lord Voldemort's Death Eaters hardly brings pause.
The Tournament extends the movie's thematic interest in celebrity. In due course, Harry is exposed to cheating (by adult coaches who mean for their charges to win) and not a little bit of emotional and physical abuse (he's a wizard and quite ingenious, so perhaps the awful stuff is not so awful to him). That such disturbance makes sense is almost as vexing as the violence per se: whether 14 or 17, the kids are expected to be warriors and survivors, able to undergo pain and work through fear, and especially, to fight back, to inflict pain. A difficult transition on screen or off, it makes the whole growing up thing look pretty unpleasant.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the film's more mature content and who this movie is targeted to. Young kids are going to want to see this -- should the movie have been toned down or is the violent content appropriate given the age of the characters?
For kids who read the book, which plot points got left out that you missed? Why do you think they left out the house elves? What role did they serve in the books?
Cheating is rampant among the teachers and judges involved in the Triwizard competition, but not among the competitors. Why do you think this is?
|Theatrical release date:||November 18, 2005|
|DVD release date:||March 7, 2006|
|Cast:||Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint|
|Topics:||Magic and fantasy|
|Character strengths:||Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork|
|Run time:||156 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images.|