Goblet of Fire was released on December 1st in Australia, several weeks after various other countries had gotten it. However, I hadn't actually heard too much about the film, nor seen too many previews (since I don't watch tv much ^^), so it was quite interesting to watch. Still, given that it's been about 2 weeks since I saw it...I'll try and remember a few thoughts...
The visuals were excellent...the lake, the Durmstrung ship, the Beauxbaton's carriage and especially that enormous maze were much more than I'd expected. The Quidditch World Cup only kept what was important, i.e. the introduction of Krum and the Death Eaters. However, they had to cut out the 'who is responsible?' plot quite a bit. I don't know what plot-virgins would have thought, but most book readers probably didn't suspect Moody (I know I didn't...maybe that's just me. After all, I never really picked Snape as the HBP, not for certain anyway), and they only briefly suggest Crouch snr and Karkaroff shouldn't be trusted. IIRC, they did keep the 'Bartemius Crouch was in Snape's storeroom' incident though, so astute viewers might have identified him as the possible main culprit. But it still didn't work all that well...let's just say a lot of that suspense was lost.
The French and Belgian students' entrances into the dining hall (aka the dining hall of Christchurch college in Oxford) was pretty fun to watch...I find it weird that there are only three schools for magic in the entire world (not to mention that they're all obviously very very old), and that they're all in Europe. Surely the Americans would have very quickly gotten in on the 'market'. (Yes, this is something that applies to the book as well...to the Harry Potter Universe really.) And making the only schools in certain countries single-sex schools would have been a bit narrow-minded don't you think? After all, virtually every student we're been aquainted with at Hogwarts is from the British Isles, although their appearances suggest a variety of family origins. edit (2006-03-07): Interesting, it seems it was just the film that made Durmstrang and Beauxbatons single-sex. I haven't read those books for ages...</edit>
The Yule Ball was...just that. I guess they kept the important things (trying to make us suspect Krum through Ron, and showing that Hermione was upset that Ron hadn't asked her before Krum did). However, it seems like the filmmakers don't really know what they want to do wrt couples...(they'd apparently been promoting HarryxHermione before HBP put a stop to that completely) - to me, Hermione came across as a bit too pleased that Victor was paying her that much attention. Yes, she deserves to be pleased that a guy has finally seen her as a woman, not just as a (not-that-attractive) friend, but let's face it, she has liked Ron since at least Chamber of Secrets! (I'd find a reference if I had the book on me...) Ginny also wasn't shown to be upset that it was Neville who asked her to the ball, although that's not so important yet. But well, I enjoyed seeing the two dolts make absolute fools of themselves. Cho strikes me as a relatively undecided person though...was she interested in Harry until Cedric asked her to the ball?
Leaving the pooly written romance aside (it actually irritates me sometimes), the main reason I'm impressed with GoF is that the filmmakers managed to make the Triwizard Tournament much more dangerous than I'd actually imagined it (and to be frank, more than Rowling's depiction of the three tasks in the book suggested). The amount of trouble Harry went through with the dragon, although it hit a nerve by embellishing the book's description perhaps a bit too much, demonstrates the truth of Sirius's words ('people have died in that tournament') and the maze in particular, really confirmed that. I'm still surprised that the school heads condone a tournament that has resulted in deaths before, all for the sake of maintaining international relations. It seriously is something out of the Middle Ages. Still, I liked the visuals that gave us.
The graveyard scene at the end was mostly good. Ralph Fiennes as Voldermort...hm, that fits rather well, IMO. And his appearance, with that...er...nose, he does look quite inhuman. I was a bit surprised at the relatively small number of Death Eaters there - I'd always thought there were more there (although, come to think of it, the Lestranges should still be in Azkaban, and others too I'd guess). And did the silver hand come out of the wand??? *doesn't remember* Meh...might watch it again someday, after I've read the book again...
And with the recent 'feminism' in HP debate continuing through this excellent but still somewhat biased essay and...hm, it seem like onlyinfatuated has locked her post on it, which I went to via the DS's report, I'm surprised that a lot of Ginny-haters are still criticising her for being a 'slut' and going through so many boyfriends. JKR has said that Ginny is popular, hasn't she? My impression is that it's the boys who are asking Ginny out, and she hasn't had a reason to say no given that, until HBP, she probably didn't think Harry might turn around so soon. They've also criticised her 'changing her personality' to attract the guy she likes. Did they miss the point that OotP and HBP Ginny is what the 'real' Ginny is like? It's not just that Ginny has spelled it out several times to Harry (in OotP, (paraphrasing) 'growing up around Fred and George means you end up thinking anything is possible'; in HBP, (paraphrasing again) 'Hermione suggested I try to be more like myself...') but also from her family. Fred and George know that she has a spine, having been on the receiving end of one of her hexes, and even Ron (I think it was) mentioned that her flying skills were probably largely aided by her always stealing her brothers' broomsticks for a bit of flying. Growing up with six brothers, especially those twins, I can't imagine Ginny being the timid girl we see through Harry's eyes in CoS and PoA. Her appearance in PS/SS ('Harry Potter?! Can I go see him, Mum? Please?' etc) is probably her real self as well, before she finally got a bit embarassed about the crush. This has gotten longer than it was meant to be...I'm not going to look at the valid reasons people have for disliking Ginny...see the fandom for a few good posts on that.