Who are the Harry Potter movies for, anyway? It could be argued that the films exist mostly as Warner Bros. cash cows, continued employment for Daniel Radcliffe and the great thespians of England, and an inducement to read for kids who don’t go to the library enough. (After all, J.K. Rowling devotees seem to accept them as big-budget simulacra while carping about this house elf that’s been cut out and that Dursley left untormented.) That these movies are good — especially now that the directors’ reins have been wrested from proficient hack Chris Columbus and given to real filmmakers — seems almost secondary.
The two-disc DVD of installment 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a high-end bookmark, then. The film’s CGI showpieces translate to the small screen, but it’s the all-encompassing teen angst that moves to center stage. By the end of Goblet, with the appearance of a fearsome, noseless Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort and a father’s howl of anguish over his dead son, it’s clear the Potter franchise has grown up.
That’s okay, since the bonus disc is the equivalent of a security blanket right out of the dryer. Eight extra scenes and various making-of featurettes are engaging filler, and the videogames are, as ever, profoundly useless to anyone negotiating them with a TV remote. The segment titled ”Reflections on the Fourth Film” gives a surprisingly touching sense of the camaraderie among the young cast members; and a prolonged postproduction chat with Radcliffe (without glasses!), Emma Watson (wearing braces!), and Rupert Grint (shorter hair!) shows them to be both refreshing dorks and seasoned pros. ”He didn’t treat us like kids,” Watson says of Goblet director Mike Newell. ”We’re not playing kids,” retorts Radcliffe. Amen, brother.