Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. 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. Source flaws weren’t an issue; from start to finish, Goblet looked clean and fresh.
None of the prior 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 DTS-HD MA 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.
How did the picture and audio of this “Ultimate Edition” compare to those of the 2007 Blu-ray? Though the UE replaced the old Blu-ray’s PCM 5.1 mix with a DTS-HD track, I thought they sounded virtually identical. As for the visuals, improvements in Blu-ray encoding might’ve made the UE a smidgen smoother, but the old disc looked terrific as well, so I wouldn’t say that the new one bettered it.
The Ultimate Edition mixes old and new materials. Exclusive to the Blu-ray, only one component shows up on Disc One: the In-Movie Experience. Hosted by actors Oliver and James Phelps, this provides a picture-in-picture commentary. In addition to the Phelps boys, we hear from producer David Heyman, director Mike Newell, composer Patrick Doyle, visual effects supervisor Jim Mitchell, visual effects producer Theresa A. Corrao, ILM CG supervisor Doug Smythe, ILM CG moderling supervisor Ken Bryan, ILM compositing supervisor Patrick Tubach, special effects supervisor John Richardson, production designer Stuart Craig, animal supervisor Gary Gero, head animal trainer Dave Sousa, creature and makeup effects designer Nick Dudman, assistant art director Tom Still, ILM visual effects supervisor Tim Alexander, costume designer Jany Temime, key prosthetic makeup artist Mark Coulier, director of photography Roger Platt, MPC 2D supervisor Charlie Henley, MPC visual effects supervisor Ben Shepherd, MPC CG supervisor Nicolas Aithadi, and actors Daniel Radcliffe, Robert Pattinson, Clemence Poesy, Stanislav Ianeski, Brendan Gleeson, Miranda Richardson, Tom Felton, Josh Herdman, Jamie Waylett, Emma Watson, Frances de la Tour, Robbie Coltrane, Katie Leung, Roger Lloyd Pack, and Pedja Bjelac.
They discuss story/character issues, the film’s opening, music, cast, characters and performances, visual design and various effects, sets, working with animals during the shoot, costumes and stunts, and a few other topics.
The quality of the content found here is reasonably good, but the “In-Movie Experience” suffers from a few problems. Its biggest drawback comes from the infrequency with which material appears. Large chunks of the movie pass with no footage, so the presentation frustrates.
In addition, I don’t think we find much here that doesn’t also appear elsewhere. The UE presents a lot of additional programs, so “In-Movie” lacks much that would appear to be unique. Though I often like these picture-in-picture commentaries, this one ends up as a bit of a dud.
Disc Two replicates the supplements platter from the 2006 DVD – literally. It’s a standard DVD that’s the same one from the earlier release.
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.
With that we head to Disc Three and its Ultimate Edition exclusives. A continuation of a series started back with the Sorcerer’s Stone UE, Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 4: Sound and Music goes for 54 minutes, 12 seconds, and includes notes from composers John Williams, Patrick Doyle, and Nicholas Hooper, producers David Barron and David Heyman. orchestrator James Shearman, musician Randy Kerber, orchestra leader Marcia Crayford, re-recording mixers Mike Prestwood Smith and Stuart Hilliker, supervising sound editor James Mather, sound effects editors Andy Kennedy, Jed Loughran, Martin Cantwell and Jon Olive, sound designer Richard Beggs, orchestrator Jeff Atmajian, directors Chris Columbus, Mike Newell and Alfonso Cuaron, conductor/adaptor William Ross, foley artist Peter Burgis, production sound mixer Stuart Wilson, ADR supervisor Dan Laurie, chorus master Terry Edwards, and actors Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Jason Isaacs and Bonnie Wright.
“Sound and Music” discusses… sound and music. (Duh!) It spreads across multiple films and investigates its subjects in much greater detail than usual. Normally these topics get about three minutes total toward the end of a “making of” program, but here, we learn quite a lot about them. The documentary really digs into them, and it gives us a good exploration of their use on the films.
After this we get a slew of featurettes. Conversations with the Cast repeats the program from the DVD. I’m not sure why it shows up on both discs, but here it is!
During the 48-minute, 51-second Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Behind the Magic, we locate info from Watson, Radcliffe, Heyman, Newell, Coltrane, Grint, Dudman, Mitchell, Miranda Richardson, Leung, Craig, Ianevski, MacDonald, John Richardson, Pattinson, and Webber. Hosted by Ben Shephard, we take a tour of the film sets and hear about a good mix of movie topics connected to the film. We find performance notes as well as comments about sets, effects, and other areas. We’ve heard a fair amount of this info elsewhere, and “Magic” goes down a promotional path, but it still gives us a reasonably informative overview.
Inside Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire fills 43 minutes, 48 seconds and provides details from Heyman, Radcliffe, Newell, Watson, Columbus, Grint, Coltrane, Cuaron, Miranda Richardson, Isaacs, Poesy, Pattinson, Ianevski, Gleeson, Barron, Smith, Fiennes, author JK Rowling, and actors Timothy Spall and Michael Gambon. Like “Magic”, this one takes a promotional bent, but unlike “Magic”, it doesn’t provide much memorable information. It spends much of its length in a discussion of characters and story elements. Essentially, it recaps the movie and occasionally throws out filmmaking tidbits. We don’t get many of the latter, so it becomes a pretty tedious experience.
Within the 24-minute, 12-second Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Adventure Continues, we discover statements from Watson, Radcliffe, Fiennes, Heyman, Newell, Gambon, Felton, Grint, Ianevski, Poesy, Pattinson, Gleeson, Miranda Richardson, Leung, Craig,, Smith and stunt coordinator Greg Powell. Like “Inside”, “Continues” acts as a promotional piece. It mostly just relates story/character thoughts, so you won’t learn much here. Even the behind the scenes tidbits fail to tell us anything much that we don’t already know. It’s a pleasant viewing but it doesn’t give us much meat.
Next comes Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Some Animal Magic. Hosted by Shephard, it goes for 23 minutes, 25 seconds and features Watson, Radcliffe, Lewis, Coltrane, Newell, Gero, Grint, Newell, American Humane’s Janice Caputo, and animal trainers Jules Trottman, Simon Neville and Dave Sousa. The program looks at the critters who work on the flick and shows how the filmmakers get the animals to do their thing. This one follows the same peppy tone as “Behind the Magic”, and it’s also pretty informative. Sure, it exists for promotion, but it still gives us an intriguing perspective on an unusual topic.
Finally, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Dark Matters, New Masters runs 13 minutes, two seconds and uses material from Newell, Radcliffe, Grint, Watson, Heyman, Gambon, Ianevski, Poesy, Pattinson, Gleeson, Miranda Richardson, Fiennes, Leung, and Powell. This is essentially a shorter version of “Contineus”. That makes it even less useful. I wouldn’t bother with it.
Eight Eight Deleted Scenes occupy a total of nine minutes, 58 seconds. These are the same pieces found under “Additional Footage” on Disc Two. Why run them again? Because they’re high-def on the Blu-ray disc. They’re not great scenes, but it’s nice to have them presented as well as possible.
Disc Three ends with Trailers. In addition to one teaser and two theatrical ads, we get promos for Harry Potter Spells (an iPhone/iPod app), Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book, and the Harry Potter: Film Wizardry book.
The package also provides a few materials not found on the various discs. A 44-page Photo Book presents a variety of images. Called “Creating the Sound and Music of Harry Potter”, it mixes production photos, movie stills, quick bios of composers John Williams, Nicolas Hooper and Patrick Doyle, and notes about the films’ scores and audio design. The book covers many of the movies and does so well; it adds some class to the package.
Two Character Cards finish the package. Azkaban includes cards for “Mad Eye” Moody and Ron Weasley. On the positive side, these are better constructed than I expected; they’re thick and sturdy. On the negative side, they don’t really tell us anything. One side shows a black and white photo of the character, while the other sticks with extremely basic facts. For instance, Ron is just described as “one of Harry Potter’s best friends, second youngest of seven children – all of whom are or have been Hogwarts students”. That’s not especially valuable, so these cards don’t offer much value.
The best of the series so far, 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 Blu-ray presents excellent picture and sound as well as a broad compilation of supplements.
If bonus materials matter to you, then the Ultimate Edition will be the way to go. I thought the single-disc Blu-ray lacked extras with much substance, but the UE fixes that with its many good components. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly expensive package, but I expect it’ll be a good investment for the big Potter fans.
To rate this film visit the original review of HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE