Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Ultimate Edition) (Warner Bros., 2010)
As the Harry Potter franchise begins drawing to a close at the box office, Warner Bros. continues its Ultimate Edition series of reissues with the third and fourth installments in the series — and that includes 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, otherwise known as the chapter when Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) has a face-to-face showdown with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), who concludes three movies’ worth of foreshadowing by reassuming (totally freaky) human form. Bulked up with tons of extras, Goblet is ready to take up some extra space on your shelf. Does it deserve the special treatment?
Synopsis: Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts for his fourth year, where the Trizwizard tournament is becoming ready to begin. Students must be over 17 to enter, with the winner receiving eternal glory. Harry can’t enter it this year…or can he. When his name is read out from the Goblet of Fire, everyone assumes that Harry Potter has cheated. Harry insists that he never placed his name in there, with someone else behind it. But Who? Harry must now survive through dragons, sea creatures and a terrifying maze, all before coming face-to-face with a particular dark wizard.Video: Hey, the movie’s only five years old — what do you expect? Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire looks phenomenal on Blu-ray, as you’re no doubt aware if you’re a fan of the series who already purchased this title in its standard configuration. Goblet boasts perfect detail, clear contrast, and vibrant color, and its overall presentation fits in exactly where you’d expect in the series. Again, if you have the original Blu-ray, you’ve already seen what Goblet has to offer in terms of picture, and you probably don’t have many (or any) complaints.
Audio: This disc’s video master might be identical to the previous release, but its soundtrack is new and improved: the Ultimate Edition Goblet of Fire comes with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio audio, which outclasses the original in every important respect. The dialogue is crystal clear in the front channel, the sound effects are smartly mixed, and it’s all bright and powerful without being overpowering. No complaints here.
Special Features: The main draw here is “Creating the World of Harry Potter: Sound and Music,” an hourlong documentary that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at exactly what the title promises, but there’s plenty of other stuff on offer. Two discs’ worth, in fact, including:
- The “In-Movie Experience”: An entertaining picture-in-picture track hosted by the actors who play the Weasley twins, containing the usual behind-the-scenes stuff; it was originally included in the HD DVD version of the movie, which you probably didn’t buy, so it might as well be new to you.
- Behind the Magic: A look at the studios and the set where the movies are created, including a peek at the development of Goblet‘s special effects.
- The Adventure Continues: A 25-minute puff piece that mostly exists to convince you that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the most awesome movie ever made, and that the cast and crew had the times of their lives making it.
- Deleted Scenes
- Featurettes: Eight in all, none more than half an hour in length, looking at various aspects of the making of the film.
- Games: Four interactive challenges for Potter fanatics who don’t mind navigating games with their Blu-ray remotes.
- Swag: Including a hardcover book, a code for a digital copy of the movie, and cardboard trading cards for two Potter characters.
Bottom Line: Director Mike Newell caught something of a bad rap after taking over for Alfonso Cuaron, who directed the previous installment, but Goblet of Fire still earned some of the best reviews in the series, and rightfully so — this is where things start to get seriously dark in the Potter universe, and this movie does a fine job of ratcheting up the tension while still allowing for playful moments and plenty of action. (Special kudos go to screenwriter Steve Kloves for chopping the book down to film length without completely bowdlerizing the story.) Like the other Ultimate Edition sets, Goblet lacks an extended cut of the main feature, which probably means Warners has its fingers crossed with this whole “ultimate” thing, and if you’ve already purchased the regular Blu-ray, you may want to think twice before ponying up for this box. But if you’re just building your Potter collection now, Goblet‘s Ultimate Edition boasts plenty of content for a reasonable price (as of this writing, it’s going for $34 at Amazon). You can pretty much count on endless reissues of any given title at this point; about all we can expect is that they’re well-curated and they don’t cost an arm and a leg, and this delivers on both counts.
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