Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Virtually no problems marred this excellent transfer.
Sharpness appeared terrific. The movie consistently looked detailed and accurate. I noticed virtually no signs of softness during this distinct and well-defined movie. Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no concerns, and edge enhancement seemed absent. While the first two flicks were rather grainy, that wasn’t a problem here. From start to finish, Goblet looked clean and fresh.
None of the Potter films employed dizzying palettes, and that continued for Goblet. Hues remained subdued but accurate. The various colors came across as vivid and bold when necessary. The hues never showed any problems like noise or bleeding, as they stayed tight and clearly reproduced. Black levels looked particularly solid, as they portrayed deep tones, while shadow detail appeared quite smooth and appropriately visible. Low-light situations seemed neatly defined and suffered from no excessive opacity. Across the board, this was a pleasing image.
Goblet featured a very fine Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that really helped bring the action to life. Much of the track maintained a focus on the front, but within that spectrum, the audio seemed smooth and lively. Music presented good stereo imaging, while effects popped up in their appropriate locations and blended together cleanly. Elements moved from one channel to another in a natural manner.
At times, I thought the surround usage seemed little too reserved, but when the rear speakers really kicked into action, I better appreciated the mix. Quite a few sequences used the surrounds to great advantage. Most of these related to the various Triwizard Challenges as well as the Quidditch match at the start. During the action climax, the track also came to life intensely.
Audio quality appeared solid. Speech seemed natural and warm, and I detected no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. The score was clean and bright, with very solid delineation and definition. Effects presented excellent dynamics and clarity. Distortion created no problems even during the loudest parts, and highs appeared crisp and vibrant. Low-end response was nicely deep and tight, as bass elements really added to some of the more aggressive sequences. This mix held up well when compared to the other films and it brought out a lot of good material.
Unfortunately, Goblet continues the tradition of lackluster supplements for these flicks. All of this set’s extras show up on DVD Two. The components split into four areas. Under “Dragon Arena” we find three elements. Triwizard Tournament: Dragon Challenge offers a game that requires you to accomplish a few tasks. A surprisingly unforgiving contest, I must admit I didn’t have the patience to sift through all of these; the first one was such a pain that it turned me off on the others.
For some behind the scenes pieces, we go to Harry Vs. the Horntail: The First Task. This six-minute and three-second featurette looks at the creation of the scene in question. Like the other programs on this disc, we get movie clips, bits from the shoot, and interviews. Here we find notes from ILM visual effects supervisor Tim Alexander, visual effects producer Theresa R. Corrao, ILM CG modeling supervisor Ken Bryan, visual effects supervisor Jim Mitchell, ILM animation supervisor Steve Rawlins, producer David Heyman, director Mike Newell and actor Daniel Radcliffe. Basically “Task” looks at the design and creation of the horntail dragon as well as subjects connected to shooting these pieces. It offers a concise little view of the decisions and challenges related to the dragon scenes and it encapsulates the issues well.
Meet the Champions concludes the “Dragon Arena” components. A 12-minute and 58-second featurette, it follows a day in the life of these performers. We find notes from actors Stanislav Ianevski, Robert Pattinson and Clemence Poesy as we watch what they went through during the shoot. It provides a somewhat fluffy look at things, but it’s reasonably informative nonetheless.
Under the domain called “The Lake”, we discover two elements. We get another game: Triwizard Tournament: Lake Challenge. This one’s just as annoying as the one in the “Dragon” realm, so I skipped it. I really hate to pass by any components on DVDs, but these games just aren’t any fun for me and they’re too irritating for me to suffer through them.
Another featurette appears here as well. In Too Deep: The Second Task runs nine minutes, 45 seconds. We get notes from Heyman, Corrao, Mitchell, Radcliffe, Newell, Pattinson, second unit director/co-producer Peter MacDonald, executive producer David Barron, special effects supervisor John Richardson, diving coordinator Dave Shaw, director of photography Roger Pratt, and Framestore-CFC visual effects supervisor Tim Webber. “Deep” looks at the practical and visual effects challenges. We see the actual underwater dives along with added CG elements. As with the earlier piece, this one sums up its topics nicely and provides a tight examination of the various issues.
Inside “The Maze”, we get four pieces. Yes, there’s another Triwizard Tournament: Maze Challenge. Keep on going – I’m not trying to play through this chore either!
The To the Graveyard and Back Challenge follows in the footsteps of the other games. Actually, it starts out easy but then it gets into more annoying and frustrating arrow-pressing guessing elements. Not much fun to be found here.
For another featurette, we find The Maze: The Third Task. The piece lasts six minutes, 43 seconds and includes notes from Radcliffe, Pattinson, Newell, Ianevski, Richardson, Heyman, Corrao, Mitchell, Poesy, production designer Stuart Craig, MPC 2D supervisor Charley Henley, and MPC visual effects supervisor Ben Shepherd. It follows the expected subjects as it looks at sets, design and CG execution. Once again, the short offers a good feel for the appropriate topics and provides a fine examination of the material.
Lastly, He Who Must Not Be Named presents an 11-minute and four-second featurette. It features Heyman, Radcliffe, Newell, Corrao, Shepherd, costume designer Jany Temime, creature and makeup effects designer Nick Dudman, and actors Ralph Fiennes and Jason Isaacs. “Named” looks at the return of Lord Voldemort. We learn about Fiennes’ casting, character topics and his visual depiction, effects challenges, performances and the film’s darkness. Expect this piece to resemble the others as it provides a solid synopsis of the various subjects. It fleshes out things well and is quite useful.
Called “Hogwarts Castle”, the final area begins with eight Additional Scenes. These fill 10 minutes and three seconds. We find: a scene in which the Hogwarts kids welcome the representatives of the other schools, observations of these kids, Harry’s attempts to ask out Cho Chang, a rock band at the ball, Harry’s observation of some intrigue between Severus Snape and Igor Karkaroff, a warning from “Madeye” Moody to Harry, and some deliberations about the mystery among Harry, Hermione and Ron. The rock band sequence is easily the longest of the bunch, and the others tend to be pretty short. They add little but are moderately interesting to see.
Three featurettes follow. Preparing for the Yule Ball goes for eight minutes, 58 seconds. We find notes from Radcliffe, Poesy, Barron, Heyman, Newell, Temime, Pattinson, Craig, and actors Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Oliver and James Phelps, Alfie Enoch, Katie Leung, Matthew Lewis, and Tom Felton. They discuss dancing lessons and shooting those parts, formal costumes, and set design. This piece seems rather fluffy, but it still conveys enough good information to make it worthwhile.
Next comes the 30-minute and 25-second Conversations with the Cast. It features Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint as they chat with host Richard Curtis. They chat about their reactions to the final film, daily life making the flick, working with Newell, character growth and their interactions, thoughts on the other actors and info about experiences that came to them through their fame. Five contest winners also get to ask some questions. As with “Yule”, this one doesn’t dig into things with much depth, as it stays pretty superficial. Nonetheless, it lets the actors offer some interesting viewpoints on things.
Called Reflections on the Fourth Film, the final featurette runs 14 minutes, seven seconds. It includes notes from Radcliffe, Grint, Watson, Lewis, Felton, Enoch, Leung, Poesy, Pattinson, Oliver and James Phelps, Ianevski, and actors Devon Murray, Josh Herdman, Jamie Waylett and Bonnie Wright. They yak about changes in the films over the years, working with each other, the new actors, and Newell, and various anecdotes from the shoot. “Reflections” fits with its two predecessors as it remains pretty puffy. It’s moderately informative and not tremendously interesting, though the shots from the set help.
“Hogwarts Castle” ends with the film’s trailer. The disc opens with some Previews. We get ads for The Ant Bully and Happy Feet.
The best of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the first one to make me interested to see what happens next. It’s still too long and meanders a bit too much, but it offers better focus and greater drama. The DVD presents excellent picture and sound but lacks substantial supplements. Though the continued absence of quality extras remains a disappointment, there’s a lot to like about this interesting movie and good DVD.