Despite less plot and less-than-impressive performances, newest Harry Potter will please

The attraction of a Harry Potter film has become immeasurable in the past few years. Ever since the release of the beloved series’ first adaptation, audiences have become almost uncontrollably giddy with anticipation for the next one to arrive. Not surprisingly, the fourth installment of the Harry Potter series and the first to be directed by a British filmmaker has become the most successful of its predecessors. None of this should come as any surprise except that the film’s quality doesn’t really match its success in the box office.

A plot summary seems unnecessary at this point in the release of the films. Everyone who cares knows the story and has the basics, if not the most intricate details, down patalready. The principle actors have all returned and look considerably older. Age has started to wear on their acting chops to the point of it being noticeable.

Lackluster performances aside, the major complaint here is the lack of spectacles to behold. Sure, there is a dragon, angry underwater creatures and the eventual return of you-know-who, but none of it feels all that exciting or looks all that great. The couple pieces of action the film has feel short and not so sweet. This leaves the audience time to muse about the quandaries of love Potter and his friends experience. Not very ideal for a film that’s supposed to be about wizards and magic-who cares about a ball when you have a magic wand?

Weaknesses aside, this is a well done film, even if that means it’s one of the more feeble efforts in the already pretty terrific series. Though nothing compared to what Cuaron achieved with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has its qualities. The humor, for one, is more rich and on point. The story doesn’t linger in fear that it will lose some audience members to its rather convoluted plot. And it marks the first Potter film to be stamped with a PG-13 for some of its darker moments.

Potter fans, although happy with the film, seem to be criticizing the film for what it left out. Overall, this movie is entirely too long for its subject matter, which let’s face it, is about as thick as water. For some reason, the film can’t seem to carry itself through the entirety of its two hour and 27-minute running time. Once the last few minutes start to wind down, watchers are exhausted and the film looks exhausted. Watching a movie should never be a tiring experience.

Danny Gordon can be contacted at