Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: My Review

Originally published at http://www.blackgeekdom.com on 7/20/2007.

Before I begin, let me apologize if this gets a little long. I am a fan, before I am a writer, and if many of you don’t know me, I am very enthusiastic when it comes to all things Harry Potter.

I will admit, as a DIE-HARD HP fan, I was worried at how this movie would be presented. At 870 pages, it is the longest book in the Potter series; yet the movie, at 2 hours and 14 minutes, is the shortest. If you are not a fan of the books, there are some instances where you will be totally lost, but otherwise I think the movie held up well, considering all that had to be cut.

David Yates did an excellent job at capturing the mood of OOTP. You can actually feel the hopelessness and despair that Harry is feeling, the isolation from his friends and his confusion at being left on his own after the tragedy at the end of Goblet of Fire. (I will also attribute this to the acting talents of Daniel Radcliffe, who I think stepped up his game in this movie). But let’s get into some of my likes and dislikes (I’m only going to choose a few, so as to not make a two page blog here :) )

LIKES:

* First and foremost, the new additions to the cast were, in a word, phenominal. No one else could have captured the horrible essence that was Dolores Umbridge better than Imelda Staunton. Evanna Lynch is Luna Lovegood, without question. She pulled off Luna’s uniqueness without making her seem overly comical, which in my opinion is a great feat. I would have loved to see more of Tonks in this movie, and Natalia Tena played her well for the little time that she was onscreen. As much as I hate her character, Helena Bonham Carter brought Bellatrix LeStrange to life in such a way that I wished she had more time onscreen (note to Warner Bros.: if you’re going to bring someone as talented as HBC to your movie, you bloody hell better give her more than three lines to say!!).

* Grawp was too damn cute.

* The special effects in this movie were amazing; and even more so in IMAX. (FYI, I’ve seen the movie three times, so far). The thestrals were both eerie and majestic, the Floo Network and head-in-the-fireplace scenes were great, and the way the Death Eaters and Order members Apparated and Disapparated, wow! One of my favorite scenes is when Remus Lupin arrives in the flames of white light, very cool. But nothing compares to the fight scene between Dumbledore and Voldemort in the Ministry. The energy and effects that went into that scene was enormous, and as much as I don’t like the actor that portrays Dumbledore, he became Dumbledore for me in that scene.

* Any scene with Daniel Radcliffe and Gary Oldman together as Harry and Sirius made the movie worthwhile. The close friend/mentor relationship that these two have offscreen translates very well into their child/godfather relationship onscreen, so much so that I preferred to see this relationship as it was presented in the movie better than the way it appears in the book. It makes the scene in the Veil room much more poignant and heartwrenching to watch.

* The still under-the-radar but blossoming relationship between Ron and Hermione, and the subtle hints we were given regarding Ginny’s still unrequited love for Harry makes me very anxious to see how they will translate into Half-Blood Prince, the movie.

* Rebel Hermione and Kick-Ass Ginny were great!! I also loved how they showcased a little more about Ginny; I have a feeling that her character will prove extremely important in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, and to see the director give her character a little more screen time in this movie felt appropriate.

* The possession scene – again, fantastic acting by Daniel Radcliffe. I felt the hopelessness during the possession, and then the hope when Harry’s friends enter the room. You could feel the attitude change in Harry, and it was great to see.

DISLIKES: (UH OH!)

* Dame Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman are way too talented and their characters way too important for them both to have the lack of screen time that they have. I also did not like the way Minerva’s character was written in this movie as having only half a backbone, when in the book she gave Umbridge a run for her money and then some!

* Bellatrix’s use of the Avada Kedavra curse in the movie when it does not appear in the book for that particular scene.

* While I enjoyed seeing the return of the pompous Percy Weasley, I think that the screenwriter did a poor job by putting Percy in the movie as the Assistant to the Minister, but not explain his estrangement from his family. And for him to have no lines?

* NO QUIDDITCH (and therefore, no “Weasley is Our King” when Ronald wins the House Cup)

* The Occlumency scene should’ve been more than one, since that particular storyline is so important to the plot of the story. And Snape’s Worst Memory was the worst scene in the movie; they should’ve expanded on it a bit more.

* And lastly, I absolutely hate the way they’ve made the character of Ronald Weasley into a behind the scenes sidekick. Yes, Ron appeared a bit tougher in this movie and his scenes were great, but I still think that the movies focus more on Hermione and Harry and not enough on Ron, which is sad because I think that Rupert Grint’s portrayal of his character is brilliant.

All of that being said and gotten out of my system, I think that for the amount of story (and backstory) contained in OOTP and the time frame with which they had to keep it, David Yates and crew actually did a fantastic job. They focused on the important aspects of the story, mainly friendship, loyalty, and standing up for what’s right.

For HP fans, this is a movie to check out (expecially in IMAX)!!

Anyone interested in talking more HP can hit me up at hmrpotter@yahoo.com or at my Myspace page.

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