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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) July 14, 2007

Posted by ayasawada in Film.
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HP5 poster

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In short: Harry gets ANGRY. YOU WOULDN’T LIKE HARRY WHEN HE’S ANGRY!!!

Thoughts: There’s an entire generation out there measuring their lives by Harry Potter movies. Anyway, the fifth one rolls round and thankfully it’s better than the last. Actually, that’s an understatement, it’s really really good because as everyone knows dark is in and in this one Harry goes very very dark (and I don’t mean Spiderman 3 dark).

(Warning: Some spoilers ahead)

If I were to rank the Potter movie adaptations, I’d probably go for: Azkaban, Phoenix, Philosopher’s Stone, Goblet, Chamber. That’s surprising to me since Phoenix is probably my least favourite of the books. I felt that the book was far too long with a lot of unnecessary padding and LOTS OF SHOUTING IN CAPS. One of the best things about the film version is it made me forget all that and reminded me of the good parts.

Big noticeable factor: Nicholas Hooper’s wonderful score. No John Williams, thank goodness. Patrick Doyle did a decent job on Goblet, but I have to admit, I didn’t really notice. Phoenix was full of wonderful orchestrals, so much so I might have to illegally dl buy the soundtrack.

Big noticeable factor 2: David Yates is fabulous! Alfonso Cuaron really raised the bar with Azkaban, but after the status quo of Mike Newell, Yates really injects life into the series. He makes wonderful use of sweeping shots and some really top-notch set-pieces. And the focus of the film on Harry really brings out the isolated, angry, frustrated feelings that emanated from the book. And great handling of a, now monster, cast of British thespians too. Are there any British actors left to add?

There were changes to some of the finer points of the book’s plot, noticeable, but not too major. Good choices, I felt, contracting and lopping off reams of material. It was a bit weird that there was no quidditch though, and only one real use of broomsticks. But the entrance of the Order at the end was very very cool.

The children have certainly got better, but is Emma Watson in danger of being exposed as a one-note actress? That was the post-movie discussion point. Personally, I didn’t notice, but then I’m biased. On reflection, yes, she remains exactly the same as she was in Philosopher’s Stone, whilst Radcliffe and Grint have gotten noticeably better. There’s not much screentime for Hermione character development though, not in a film focused primarily on Harry. And I’ll never complain about the lovely Miss Watson.

My concern is with Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley. She’s going to have to really step-up in the next movie, but I just don’t see her as a love-interest. There’s more chemistry between Radcliffe and Evanna Lynch’s Luna Lovegood. Speaking of which, she’s great! Star performer of the movie, if it weren’t for the pitch-perfect Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge. A bit unfair since Staunton is an Oscar-nominated actress, but the Umbridge giggle puts her ahead.

It’s a shame about the really cheesy coda at the end. I know they have to have some kind of cap on the end (the Phoenix book, more than the others, struck me as the middle part of a story with no satisfactory conclusion, a bit like Empire Strikes Back), but when Harry makes his call-to-arms one-liner, I thought, ‘Harry’s quite annoying really, isn’t he?’.

Book 7 next week. Woo-hoo!

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