User Rating: Excellent
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Returning characters continue to charm, Delores Umbridge couldn't be better cast
Cons:Very little about the actual Order of the Phoenix
The Bottom Line: A great addition to the Harry Potter movie franchise- exciting, action packed, great effects- an overall great movie experience
After watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire two years ago, I could hardly wait for the next installment of this mega-movie franchise to see what happened next. Not having read any of the books before, I couldnt help myself and bought Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Needless to say, ever since then, I have been dying to see the movie version. I can now assuredly say that it was worth the wait and am now eagerly and anxiously awaiting the next movie in the series.
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Retaining all of the original characters, plus a few new faces, it was refreshing to see an older, more mature version of the children that have practically grown up in front of our eyes. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) have all returned, looking comfortingly familiar. But all is not happy at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Our hero, Harry Potter, is under intense scrutiny from the Ministry of Magic and even the headmaster, Dumbledore, doesnt seem to be in much of a position to help him. As the evil Lord Voldemort has apparently returned from the dead, Harry and his fellow students form their own group to teach each other how to defend themselves against dark powers. While the students are preparing themselves for what lies ahead, the Order of the Phoenix is also forming, a group including Sirius Black, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, and Severus Snape, to fight against the Dark Lord.
The Order of the Phoenix is a much darker film than the earlier movies (they keep saying that about each proceeding movie, dont they?). Harry continues to struggle with a sense of being alone- without parents, without friends who understand what he is going through- but the continuing theme in this movie as well as all the other Harry Potter stories is that love and friendship do prevail and, in reality, actually give Harry his strength and power.
This is the first Harry Potter movie that I have seen where I have read the book before seeing the movie. I have mixed feelings about it because it would be nearly impossible to fit everything that happened in the book in a movie just over two hours long. At the same time, I think that the screenplay was well written and definitely had the major important details as the book. There was very little about the actual Order of the Phoenix, a group formed in order to combat the Dark Lord and other dark forces, making the title of the movie very vague and almost confusing to someone who hasnt read the book. For anyone new to the Harry Potter movies, The Order of the Phoenix may be slightly difficult to follow, as it is definitely an accumulation of much of the previous films, without a whole lot of explaining. There were many flashback scenes that really showed how the characters have evolved, both physically and emotionally.
As for the new characters brought to life in this movie, the one that will stand out in everyones mind is Delores Umbridge, played amazingly well by Imelda Staunton (best remembered by me from Nanny McPhee). As a sickenly sweetly evil woman, she plays the better part of Harrys new nemesis for The Order of the Phoenix. I found both Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint to be coming out of their awkward child to teenager phase and even their acting seemed to be stronger, with more screen presence. In the Goblet of Fire, I was almost irritated by Harry, and in this movie, I really felt a connection to the characters- seeing their struggles and emotions made all the characters much more believable to me.
I was a little disappointed not to see more of the loveable gamekeeper at Hogwarts, Hagrid. There were really only two scenes with the new characters that were members of the Order of the Phoenix, which I thought could have been developed a little more, but overall, the core group- Harry, Ron and Hermione- remained as strong as ever, showing that friendship prevails. With an amazing wizards battle near the end of the film, it becomes apparent that Harry has a great support network, even though he has felt alone throughout most of the movie.
While there were some scenes that may be slightly frightening to young children, The Order of the Phoenix has a mass appeal. The main characters are no longer young children, rather young adults, and may not reach as young of an audience as they once did, but overall, the imagination behind the stories is still incredible and the magic and creativity will keep all audiences captured for the duration of this movie.
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Movie Mood: Action Movie
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing