With death coming to Hogwarts, the fourth Potter instalment was darker than its predecessors. Heavily condensing JK Rowling’s massive novel, its centrepiece is the Triwizard tournament and the Goblet’s selection of four competitors: Victor Krum, Fleur Delacour, Cedric Diggory and, inexplicably, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe, working hard to keep up with dramatic requirements).
Readers will know this book is where puberty’s hormones start bubbling as Ron (Rupert Grint) and Harry fall out, Harry starts fancying Cho Chang (Katie Leung), and Ron has jealous sulks when Hermione (Emma Watson, increasingly the saga’s true star) is romanced by Krum. Drastic pruning creates inevitable shortcomings. While the Weasley twins get more screen time, several regulars are absent while others, like Hagrid, Snape, and Sirius (Gary Oldman quite literally just showing his face) are severely scaled back. Things sag slightly in the Tournament run-up, but once it’s underway you’ll be struggling for breath, Harry’s battle with a fire-breathing Horntail being the series’ most thrilling moment yet. And when Voldermort finally regains human form, a reptilian Ralph Fiennes‘s truly chilling incarnation of evil should spark nightmares in young and old for weeks.