Closer then comes the formation of Harry Potter as the wizard, or sorcerer he’s bound to become one day, and closer do we watch the character progress if only slightly to not only accomplishing the art of magic, but also coming closer to his dark side. The question remains is, will he reach his dark side before he masters magic? That’s many of the questions posed during this fourth installment of the Potter series. I didn’t read the book, honestly, and personally I don’t aspire to. “Harry Potter” has always been an overblown facet in modern pop culture to me, especially after reading the bland first book, so I prefer to review the films to their own merit. Bias’ aside, I was interested in seeing the fourth installment especially since Alfonso Cuaron did such a good job with the previous film. Mike Newell’s installment never misses a beat in terms of darkness that Cuaron injected in to his own film. While they’re not different in mood and atmosphere, Newell stays true to the previous film’s success formula, and “Goblet of Fire” looks beautiful most times. Newell’s depiction of the Harry Potter world is both whimsical and menacing, and while the story is peculiarly short on fantastic monsters, it’s not without its share of amazing creatures in the end. There are many fantastic special effects, and the crew here really does put the CGI to good use with a large dragon that was just stunning, underwater sea creatures that are mixtures of squids and mermaids, and the air effects which look better than ever. Harry Potter is becoming a darker character, and the mood rightly matches that change. However, the newest additions that I most agreed with was the addition of the great Brendan Gleeson as Mad Eye Moody, who is a welcome change and a breath of fresh air. He’s yet another character enlisted to look after Potter and guide him in his journey of the moment, and Gleeson gives the best performance… except for Ralph Fiennes. I have to say the casting for the new characters of the film was rather eye-catching, because with the addition of Gleeson is Ralph Fiennes as the infamous specter of horror Lord Voldemort. Finally Voldemort makes an appearance, and thankfully his final emergence isn’t disappointing. With rather excellent make up that’s bound to frighten at least one child, and Fiennes delightfully wicked acting mixed with his hissing delivery of dialogue, he looks utterly gruesome as Lord Voldemort. Fiennes is memorable as the dark lord, and makes a mark on this film that really does make him the ultimate picture of Voldemort. His appearance in the climax, his showdown with Potter, and the hinting of future appearances makes the film worth watching. And the overblown franchise train kept a rollin’. I’ve tried giving the “Harry Potter” franchise a chance. I read the first book, I gave its fans whom are a mixture of odd, delusional, and dumb a chance, and I tried liking the movies. I like the movies more so than any of the former I listed. Sure, they’re not the frightening mysteries some of its fans have described them as, but they’re watchable kid films that I can sit through without yawning. As for all the films, this has to be one of the more overblown and overrated entries. Though the last one had its share of hype with Alfonso Cuaron directing, this new one now directed by Mike Newell is one of the more overrated entries. Harry Potter is more adult. No he isn’t. Hermoine blooms in to a woman. Yep, that’s true. There’s a much darker story. No, it’s the same darkness we saw in the former film. Gasp! It’s PG-13 now! It must be good. Nah. It’s no masterpiece, I can tell you that much. I’m still trying to figure out what warranted a PG-13 rating. Perhaps it was Harry getting nekkid in a pool, even though we don’t see anything. Who cares? Regardless, this is another ho hum entry, and perhaps the most yawn inducing. The installments are declining in quality and entertainment factor, and it’s showing. The elements of magic here, for instance, are so damn predictable. The small tent that’s humongous on the inside? The roots that come to life? Statues that come to life? Come on, now. Give me something new here. And the characters are also pretty much the one-dimensional drones we saw in the earlier entries. If the writers are waiting to give us the real emphases, they’re holding out for the ninth installment. We never really get to know as much about Harry, Ron, and Hermoine as we’d like. They’re just broad outlines of characters still. Hermoine is still the eager talented wizard who is an outcast, Ron is still the goofy misfit, and Harry is still the squeaky soft spoken boy learning about himself. Hand me some coffee, I’m falling asleep. And, gladly, I figured out why Harry Potter is such a hit. The stories are familiar. People enjoy familiarity because it promises no surprises to throw them off guard. These stories end are basic repeats of the first. Rowling relies on a sound structure of routines that basically make up every one of her books, and it’s tiresome. There’s someone doing something that may spell doom for Potter, whom may or may not be connected to Voldemort. Harry receives prophecies, there’s a mystery, someone may have betrayed him, perhaps one of the characters whom are not normally featured in the cast, there’s a small detail revealed, there’s a flashback to something, a big plot twist, the antagonistic presence is the savior, and the savior ends up as the antagonist. And of course the climax warns and hints at the next film, meaning the ending is just an ending to introduce the next film and keep us coming. It’s extremely boring! How can people be so dumb to buy this? “The Goblet of Fire” is a marvel in technical aspects, and that’s basically all it brings to the table. It’s beautiful, fun to look at, features some gruesome special effects, and has two stand out performances by newcomer Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes, yet it’s also very boring, recycled from the previous installments, and immensely underwhelming. In the end, I’ve seen much worse.