It's rare that we hear venomous arguments over the soundtrack and composer of a film, but when that film is the latest in the Harry Potter franchise, I suppose it's believable. Beloved composer John Williams (the man behind such classic music as the themes from Star Wars, E.T., and of course, the first three Harry Potter films) bowed out for this film and Patrick Doyle, an Academy Award-nominated composer, stepped in to take the musical helm.
Doyle had the chops to handle Potter — no one could have argued that. He's worked on such disparate films as Sense and Sensibility and Bridget Jones's Diary, and if there was a movie based on a Shakespearean play, odds are that Doyle's name is on the music. He's also worked on a number on fantasy titles, such as A Little Princess (one of my favorites, and also directed by Prisoner of Azkaban's Alfonso Cuarón) and Quest for Camelot. Perhaps these two weren't record-setters at the box office, but they were both solid family films, and at least in the case of the first, truly stunning examples of film — both visually and musically.
Still, it's hard to follow a legend, and there are plenty of rabid Potter fans who are cursing the day Patrick Doyle was born — and that's a shame. He's done a tremendous job here of taking the music to a darker place for Goblet of Fire. The opening track, "The Story Continues," interweaves Williams's signature Potter theme with an ominous sound that sends shivers through the audience and establishes that this will be a Potter film like no other. Rita Skeeter's theme suits that character, brought vividly to life by Miranda Richardson, though her scenes were woefully short. The theme is playfully sinister, evoking the the journalist with the acid quill. "Potter's Waltz" brings the film back up, shining the light on a more innocent moment — the Yule Ball and the distractions of youth even amidst a life-threatening tournament.