The best thing to happen to the Harry Potter movie franchise was for journeyman director Chris Columbus to step down. After turning out adequate adaptations of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Columbus was replaced by Alfonso Cuarón for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. With the third movie, the Harry Potter saga began to take on a legitimate cinematic life of its own. No longer was it content to regurgitate to content of the source novels. Now, with Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) at the helm, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire proves to be the darkest and most ambitious Harry Potter outing to-date. To trim the book's massive content down to a reasonable size (the movie is about 2 1/2 hours long, sans credits), screenwriter Steve Kloves (who has adapted all four novels) had to do a lot of compression. The resulting production is faithful to its source novel in broad strokes, but varies greatly when it comes to the details.
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