Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (DVD, 2007, 2-Disc Set, Special Edition) Reviews
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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (DVD, 2007, 2-Disc Set, Special Edition)

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Evil must be Confronted; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Jun 1, 2008 (Updated Jul 15, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:A delightful visual feast with all our well loved freinds.

Cons:Strays further from the book than any movie thus far.

The Bottom Line: This movie is my least favorite thus far, which is sad, because Order of the Phoenix is I think, my favorite book.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) Directed by David Yates

As Harry Potter waits for the summer to end and his fifth year to begin, he is bored beyond tears. The only entertainment is worting his cousin Dudley, but of late, Big D has started worting back. During an altercation, a sudden storm blows up, as if by magic, dispersing Dudley’s pack of friends, and sending the cousins running for shelter. In a storm drain/underpass. There, they are set upon by two Dementors, the wraithlike keepers of Azkaban!

But Harry knows well how to deal with this threat, and banishes them both with a Patronus charm, saving Dudley. And oddly enough, batty old Miss Figg takes Harry in hand, seeing him home safely! It seems she is part of Harry’s defense network. (Arabella Figg is a squib, a magical person with almost no magic. So is Filch.)

But safe and sound at home, Harry’s problems are multiplying. Not only does he have to contend with Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, but a letter arrives from the Ministry of Magic, informing him that he has been expelled for underage use of Magic. But as his unloved relatives take Dudley to the infirmary, Harry is collected by a full squadron of Witches and Wizards! He is flown to the secret headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, 12 Grimauld Place, London, the ancestral home of his godfather, Sirius Black.

But answers are slow in coming there as well…he does learn that his friends were ordered not to communicate with him. He learns that the Ministry of Magic has been launching a smear campaign against both himself and Dumbledore; because Cornelius Fudge fears Dumbledore is plotting to take his job. He learns that the Order of the Phoenix was an organization founded by Dumbledore to oppose Lord Voldemort back when he rose to power. Harry’s parents were members. Now, the new membership includes the Weasleys, Sirius Black, Professor Lupin, Black’s cousin, Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shackelbolt, Alistor Moody (the real one) and Severus Snapes.

At least in 12 Grimauld Place, Harry is among friends, not counting Kreacher, the Black family House Elf.

When he gets to Hogwarts, he finds that a summer of disinformation and questions about Cedric’s death have shaken several of his friendships. Further, he meets his new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Under Secretary to the Minister, Delores Jane Umbridge. Professor Umbridge is a fat little saccerine sweet little toad of a woman who does not feel that students will need to practice defensive spells. Who would attack children? Harry of course has an answer to that. Here is Umbridge’s reply.
Umbridge: Let me make this quite plain. You have been told that a certain Dark Wizard is at large once again. This is a lie.
Harry: It's not a lie! I saw him. I fought him.
Umbridge: Detention, Mr. Potter!
Harry: So according to you, Cedric Diggory dropped dead OF HIS OWN ACCORD.
Umbridge: Cedric Diggory's death was a tragic accident.
Harry: It was murder! Voldemort killed him! You must know!
Umbridge: Enough!

Umbridge gives Harry detention, writing lines in her cotton candy pink office with its collection of kitten plates and doilies on all the overstuffed pink chairs. As if being there was not punishment enough, she makes him write “I must not tell lies” with an enchanted quill that scratches the words into the back of his hand, and then slowly heals it back up.

This tells you all you need to know about Delores Umbridge; she is a micromanaging control freak.

She gains more power my ministerial proclamations, one after another. She is named High Inquisitor, and given the power to evaluate her fellow teachers. She does this in the middle of class interrupting with an annoying little “Hem, hem.” Some teachers take it in stride (McGonagall was brilliant in the book) but others, like Professor Trelawney she reduces to a jittering bundle of jangled nerves. Finally, she fires Trelawney.
Trelawney: 16 years I've lived and taught here! Hogwarts is my home! You can't do this!
Umbridge: Actually, I can.
(McGonagall arrives and tries to comfort Trelawney)
Umbridge: Something you'd like to say, dear?
McGonagall: Oh, there are several things I would like to say!
(Dumbledore arrives)
Dumbledore: Professor McGonagall, might I ask you to escort Sybil back inside?
McGonagall Sybil, dear, this way.
Trelawney: Oh, thank you! Thank you!
Umbridge: Dumbledore, may I remind you that under the terms of Educational Decree #23, as enacted by the Minister...
Dumbledore: You have the right to dismiss my teachers. You do not, however, have the authority to banish them from the grounds. That power remains with the headmaster.
Umbridge: For now.

Life under Umbridge becomes worse and worse. And since she is not teaching them anything, they are falling behind. Finally, Hermione decides to do something about it. She starts feeling people out, and finally persuades Harry to teach a secret course in Defense Against the Dark Arts. They meet the first time in the Hogs Head.
Hermione: Um... Hi! You all know why we're here. We need a teacher. A proper teacher. One who's had real experience defending themselves against the Dark Arts.
Zachary Smith: Why?
Ron: Why. Because You-Know-Who's back, you tosspot.
Zachary Smith: So he says.
Hermione: So Dumbledore says.
Zachary Smith: So Dumbledore says because he says! The point is, where's the proof?
Random Kid: If Potter could tell us more about how Diggory got killed...
Harry: I'm not going to talk about Cedric, so if that's why you're here you might as well clear out now.
Harry: C'mon, Hermione, let's go. They're just here because they think I'm some sort of freak.
Hermione: Harry, wait!
Luna Lovegood: Is it true you can produce a patronus charm?
Hermione: Yes. I've seen it.
Dean Thomas: Blimey, Harry! I didn't know you could do that!
Neville: And he killed a basilisk, with the sword in Dumbledore's office.
Ginny: It's true.
Ron: Third year he fought off about a hundred dementors at once.
Hermione: And last year he really did fight off You-Know-Who in the flesh.
Harry: Wait... look, it all sounds great when you say it like that. But the truth is most of that was just luck. I didn't know what I was doing half the time, I nearly always had help...
Hermione: He's just being modest.
Harry: No, Hermione, I'm not. Facing this stuff in real life is not like school. In school, if you make a mistake you can just try again tomorrow, but out there, when you're a second away from being murdered or watching a friend die right before your eyes... you don't know what that's like.
Hermione: You're right, Harry, we don't. That's why we need your help. Because if we're having any chance against beating... Voldemort.
Nigel: He's really back?
(Harry nods solemnly.)

And so, Dumbledore’s army is born; meeting in the Room of Requirement, which hides itself from all non members; they practice their spells, one on one, real application.

During this time, a dream of Harry’s shows Arthur Weasley being attacked. He tells Dumbledore, and he moves to insure Arthur is not only found, but found by the right people. Arthur survives his snake attack, and Harry has to start learning to shield his mind.

But all good things come to an end, and finally, Umbridge catches them. Dumbledore takes the rap, and takes it on the lam, leaving Umbridge as Headmistress. Now we enter the period I like to call “it may be passive, but it sure is aggressive!” In the movie, it is boiled down to the Weasley Twins Fred and George’s last hurrah with fireworks. In the book, it was weeks of carefully contrived resistance to oppression by any and every underhanded means at everyone’s disposal. (Here is where the decision to cut Peeves the Poltergeist out as a character proves to be a mistake.)

But then Harry is stricken with another vision…this one of Sirius, being held in the Department of Mysteries by Voldemort himself. So he must mount a rescue….with a little help from his friends.

This is my favorite book…and my least favorite movie. This movie suffers under the razor blade of time management much more than the significantly longer Goblet of Fire. While the action in Goblet of Fire merely focused on Harry, cutting out side plotlines, in Order of the Phoenix, they changed things to make them fit. Neville Longbottom once more got to do the honors for Dobbie the House Elf’s work; in the book, it was Dobbie who told Harry about the come and go room. Cho Chang was made a traitor by veritas potion while in the book it was another students own decision; she was thwarted by the powerful spell that wrote the word “Snitch” across her face in acne that Hermionie had used to enchant the Dumbledore’s Army Roster. Hermione also created a clever magical coin system that alerted everyone to meetings.

The Weasley Twins were demoted to political statement, when in fact they were terrorists par excellence. Their joke items, while shown, were a central theme of the book, their creative genius supplying the disgruntled student body with ammunition of surprising variety and versatility. All we saw were the extendable ears, the fire works, and the skeeving snackboxes.

Luna Lovegood, who was left out of the last movie, and the third, really came into her own, but much of her storyline, as the daughter of the Wizard Worlds National Enquirer publisher.

I understand that things have to be modified to fit the parameters, but this time, it was not minor alterations, it amounted to turning a full wedding dress into a cocktail party dress.

The feel, though, comes across. Harry is faced with the threat of a government that has begun to serve itself rather than the people it was meant to serve. The enemy here is the politician who knows what is best for everybody; i.e., what best serves their personal political agenda.

And if you think that Delores Jane Umbridge was a bit over the top, a bit too out there, I have two words for you: “Guantanamo Prison.” It is very easy for those with power to become drunk on it, and to rationalize everything they do as “for the public good.”

One thing I was delighted to see was Kreacher. Rowling insisted he be put in. It isn’t a very big part, but he has a greater part to play in later books. It cost very little for the foreshadowing.

Denial is horrible thing, and can cause great hardship. Control is a poison that makes both parties sick. Rumor is a dagger in the ear. Those are the enemies this time…right up to the end.

Like Harry, these movies just keep growing up, exposing us to ever more complex and insightful issues and dilemmas. I just wish that this movie had shown its book in a better light.

Check out the other Harry Potter classics:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows Part I
Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows Part II

Read the Book!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows

Recommend this product? Yes

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