Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

The Harry Potter discs keep getting better. Each one has successively increased the quota of Muggle-baiting behind the scenes content, with this double-disc DVD set boasting nearly an hour and a half of video footage. The kids games are also still there, although I won't discuss them.

The video is by and large, rather good. Aside from occasional overly compressed MPEG-2 video - mosquito noise is infrequently present in dark scenes - the image is rock-solid. I could discern no film to tape transfer artifacts. Fine detail is resolved well. Adjusting the contrast and brightness reveals no further picture information - it seems the fine shadow detail has been crushed right out of the image by an overzealous telecine colourist. Or perhaps it is part and parcel of the Digital Intermediate process used to colour-time the film for 35mm. It's still good enough for mid-screen presentation, but far from videophile material. The visual effects were horribly overlooked at Oscar time, they're both invisible and sensational.

Copy picture

The sound is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is a near-reference track. Scenes like the Quidditch World Cup and the post-match chaos put the viewer in the middle of the action, using directional pans and ambient surround mixing well. Patrick Doyle's sorely underrated score is not drowned out by this mixture of well-recorded dialogue and often crushing sound-effects editing.

The Priori Incantatem scene in the graveyard is a particular standout, where the Dark Lord and Harry's wands lock, the sound editing comes through clear as a bell. Dry ice squeals, electrical arcing for the wand beams, and extraordinary bass pressurising the room, with the climactic music reaching a zenith. Nothing is lost. An excellent home cinema surround mix.

First up on disc 2 is the rather swish menus, dividing up the extras into four locations: Hogwarts Castle and the locations for the Triwizard Tournament - The Dragon Arena, The Lake and The Maze/Graveyard.

Jumping into the meat of the extras in Hogwarts, first up are six deleted scenes - the best of which is a welcome piece of exposition about the twisty-turny plot following Crouch Sr.'s untimely death at Hogwarts. It would have given the audience a quick chance to catch up with events and to grasp the plot more firmly. There's several slight snips of Harry's infantile meetings with girls, which are amusing and, finally, a lengthy rock number at the Yule Ball, wisely cut. All of these scenes are finished with visual effects and 2.0 stereo sound of excellent quality and are comparable to the main transfer of the film.

Next up is a short look at my favourite scene of the movie, The Yule Ball. Almost everything is covered, from the costumes to the set-design and the dancing lessons. Almost all the principal cast are involved in interview footage, and behind the scenes B-Roll. Professionally done and fairly in-depth, but short.

Thirty minutes of interviews with the trio of Radcliffe, Grint and Watson follow on. It's essentially an informal chat with them and host Richard Curtis - an unusual choice, I thought, but welcome. They discuss scenes, share anecdotes and five competition winners are also seen asking questions. It's not a waste of time, but very insubstantial.

There is a 15 minute reflection on the films thus far - The first five minutes is a large love-in from the cast, how much fun they have together, and the change in directors. We see on-set footage of Mike Newell's methods of getting physical performances and drama workshops for rehearsal. Once you get past the initial fluff, this featurette is rather good!

The Theatrical trailer is also included. As is DVD-Rom material for your computer.

Each of the Triwizard Tournament locations has the obligatory and very naff DVD-Video games. But there's some semi-decent short featurette material explaining many of the cleverly realised visual effects and production design challenges.

All that's missing really is a commentary track. A fairly respectable special edition.

Reviewed on: 21 Mar 2006
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Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire packshot
It's darker now and Voldemort is close. Can Harry triumph at the Tri-wizard Tournament and save the world?
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Product Code: D058609

Region: 2

Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Additional scenes, conversations with the cast, interactive challenges, 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, DVD Rom features

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