After three tries by two directors, Donnie Brasco's Mike Newell not only does Harry Potter right but eclipses the scope, scares and drama of his J.K. Rowling source novel. The most poetically disturbing film to creep forth from a major studio in years, Goblet details Harry's rite of passage into manhood, where he has to negotiate a growing interest in girls by enduring three increasingly bizarre tests in the TriWizard Tournament. Harry's mortality becomes a living part of his vocabulary and something wicked (Ralph Fiennes, in incredibly horrific makeup) this way returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. With its eerie, misty moors, its melancholic tone and its view of derring-do as clumsy, bloody work, this sequel comes as close as we'll get to John Boorman circa Excalibur doing a Potter film. And while many of the richly textured CG landscapes and creatures are easily the best computer work yet seen, Newell smartly takes them for what they are scrumptious background elements for an even more smartly up-close rendering of Harry's harrowing graduation into the moral gray zone of adulthood.
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