Director Mike Newell takes the helm for this, the 4th entry in the Harry Potter series. I would have preferred that Alfonso Cuaron remain, but whatever.
For his 4th year at Hogwarts, Harry finds himself unwillingly entered into the Tri-Wizards Tournament: a lauded, but quite dangerous competition between Hogwarts and two other European wizarding schools. Not only that, but he's also got to deal with his increasing hormones, as well as the fact that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (aka Lord Voldemort) is potentially making a comeback.
Having read the book, and enjoying it very much, I need to say that this film really isn't that stellar of an adaptation. Granted, the book is like 734 pages, and this film runs 157 minutes (with credits, so of course much trimming is needed. But I suppose that where the film fails to include all the little details (including many subplots and a few characters), it does decently where getting the broad strokes of the story are concerned, even though it did seem a tad bewildering and choppy at times. All in all though, it gets the point across, even if they could have done a slightly better job translation the page to the screen.
The principle cast have returned, and they have gotten quite a firm grasp on the characters. The teenage performers are admittedly somewhat awkward, but it works in their favor as they and their characters are going through puberty, making the awkwardness a little more understandable. Welcome additions to the cast include Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, Robert Pattinson as Cedric Diggory- one of the competitors in the tournament, and a wonderfully scene stealing turn from Brendan Gleeson as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, complete with false leg and a neat trick eye. Pattinson is actually pretty decent, and far more interesting here than in his later role in the Twilight series. Gleeson is a ham, and, while it is a deliciously fun performance, I think even more so in that regard would be the brief appearances by Miranda Richardson and David Tennant. Unfortunately, Oldman gets reduced to a far too brief cameo, and that's one of the few changes that actually really bugged me legitimately.
The seeds of darkness were sowed with the previous entry, but they really start to bloom here, giving a foreshadowing of what is to come. As a result of the increasing dark subject matter, this became the first, though certainly not last, entry to get a PG-13 rating. There's still some whimsy and light hearted moments in places, but not as many as in the book.
There's some great set pieces, strong effects, and some great cinematography here. This is some really stunning stuff, and I just love all that is done to really make this world come alive. John Williams is absent as composer, but what we get is still good, and it does provide a nice variation on Williams's theme.
Overall, a flawed, but still really good film.