Here's what I especially liked:
- The kids. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson are all quite good and have improved so much over the course of the series. James and Oliver Phelps as Fred and George Weasley are as funny as can be and look like red-headed, elongated Sean Cassidys.
- The look of the movie is just great, if dark. All the colors are muted, even the colors of the food and clothing. Each frame has so much to look at that it really took both viewings to see everything.
- Brendan Gleeson as "Mad-Eye" Moody is truly brilliant. A great and funny performance.
- The adolescent angst culminating in the Yule Ball is inspired. Ron and Harry are as lame as any pair of fourteen-year-old boys. The shot of Harry and Ron sitting with Padma and Pavarti Patil on either side of them alone at the edge of ball is heartbreaking and true.
- Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis)'s pure and innocent enjoyment of the ball is a treat to behold.
- The three tasks are as thrilling and scary as they are in the book. In fact, the maze is even more frightening than its literary counterpart.
- Michael Gambon as Dumbledore is growing on me. I thought he really got Dumbledore's combination of quirky and brilliant down this time.
- The scene in Potions class, during which Harry and Ron discuss trying to find a girl for the ball, is priceless. Alan Rickman's brilliant Snape brings joy to this teacher's heart.