GREAT STOCKING STUFFER
In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," Harry returns for his fifth year of study at Hogwarts and discovers that much of the wizarding community is in denial about the teenager's recent encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort, preferring to turn a blind eye to the news that Voldemort has returned. Fearing that Hogwarts' venerable Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, is lying about Voldemort's return in order to undermine his power and take his job, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, appoints a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to keep watch over Dumbledore and the Hogwarts students. But Professor Dolores Umbridge's Ministry-approved course of defensive magic leaves the young wizards woefully unprepared to defend themselves against the dark forces threatening them and the entire wizarding community, so at the prompting of his friends Hermione and Ron, Harry takes matters into his own hands. Meeting secretly with a small group of students who name themselves "Dumbledore's Army," Harry teaches them how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts, preparing the courageous young wizards for the extraordinary battle that lies ahead.
Those magical kids return with their obligatory authority figure adults in tow. Only they're not so little anymore and as the last movie proved, they're all well on their way to no longer being kids. Whatever plot lines director David Yates chooses to chase, it's essential that he makes following their slow bloom into adulthood a priority while at the same time avoiding the discussion of things like oh, say, condoms.
I'm not a huge fan of the last movie, but that's one thing that Goblet of Fire's director Mike Newell got right. The awkwardness of puberty, their newfound interest in the opposite sex. Watching these kids grow up on screen is what's most interesting about the Harry Potter series to anyone over the age of twelve, not their bag of magical tricks.
The seriesï new director, as mentioned above, is David Yates. With each new director comes a new, distinctive style. Thatï's a plus really, it gives every movie its own unique energy. But this is the first truly high profile film Yates has ever touched, and itï's certainly his first big-budget blockbuster. Since Columbus, that seems to be the route Warner Brothers is going with their Harry Potter directors. Both of the last two helmers had similar, low-budget resumes and itï¿½s worked well so far. The real difference in Yates is that he's the Potter franchise's first British director. Odd when you consider there's not an American in sight when you check out the cast.
Expect more of the same from the fifth Harry Potter. Only Cuaron's movie, the third one, has distinguished itself from the pack as anything special. The rest have been entertaining but ultimately mediocre, and the sad thing is that Harry's hardcore fans seem to prefer that. Mediocre I suppose, is better than bad. The films have maintained a consistent level of quality, and thats more than most other long-running movie franchises can claim.
A MUST BUY
7 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Better than the Book
This is one of the very few times that I felt that the movie was better than the book. Order of the Phoenix was the only book I did not rate Excellent, but I feel this movie rates it.
Unlike the book, which I feel was Rowling's one and only drop into "middle book funk", this movie can stand on its own.
The Ministry of Magic, in an attempt to keep Harry Potter quiet, assign Delores Umbridge to the school. Although Umbridge is never specifically mentioned as being a Death Eater, loves to leave people in perpetual misery. Later in the series, she is an inquisitor working for the Ministry under Voldermort's command.
Much of the pain and anguish she passes out like candy in the book is thankfully left out of the movies. She still her magic quill that, when used, uses the writer's blood for ink. This has the side affect of etching the words in the skin of the writer as well. She also posts an almost infinite number of decrees to dominate the school. Whereas the book went into endless detail of these and other tortures, the movie was able to successfully convey the full depth of her psychosis without boring the reader to death in the process.
This also kept the movie from being quite as dark as the book. The characters in the movie are clearly on the defensive, but they never give up. The climatic battle at the end feels more like a costly draw than a pointless loss of one of Harry's closest friends.
The actors and actresses continue to perform magnificently. I simply can not imagine anyone else playing the parts of Harry, Hermione, the Weasleys, Snape or McGonagall. Imelda Stauton was perfect as Delores Umbridge, as was Evanna Lynch as the quirky Luna Lovegood. Gary Oldman, who I thought was over the top in Prisoner of Azkaban, did wonderfully here as Sirius Black. I feel Michael Gambon does well as Albus Dumbledore. And there is over a score of secondary characters of which this movie would not work if they were not top notch themselves.
The script writers did well in condensing the much too long book into a few simple effects. A single shot of hundreds of framed decrees hanging on the wall outside the Great Hall, limiting the Umbridge torture scenes, combining the Weasly rebellion with the O.W.L. tests expertly wrapped up entire chapters into single scenes. I also appreciates using Daniel Radcliff's talents as a actor to demonstrate his angst as opposed to the self-destructive patterns Harry has in the book.
A few things could have been better. Harry's hair is neatly combed, something that never happens in the books. Also, the waith-like forms the Death Eaters take in the big fight at the end I felt was over the top. The special effects otherwise great, but they should have left well enough alone.
John Holland-author of The Necklace of Terrersylvanous
Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix/Weaker of 5
I went to see a sneak preview of Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix while in theaters and recently rewatched it on DVD.
I must be honest and say I may be bias against this series of movies (explanation follows)
I have enjoyed each of the Harry Potter movies with the first one still being the best. Two of my friends are very big Harry Potter fans. One went as far as dressing up for #3 when attending. So ... I was able to get their assessment as well of this fifth installment.
I've never read the books and all I know of the next installment is the major plot elements. When The Order Of The Phoenix came out in bookstores, I don't remember anyone talking about any new plot elements ... this seems to carry over to the movie translation - it doesn't seem like this installment really advances the plot.
While the connection between Valdemort and Harry is revealed and intensified - it is apparent that THIS WAS inevitable.
What has baffled me most about this series of stories (both in book form and in theaters) is why Slitheren isn't just banished from Hogwarts altogether. They are a lynch mob for Harry Potter apparently. And ... why is Lucious Malfoy even allowed on the campus by any of the adults if he is a known conspirator, traitor, and murder accomplice? I'm sure the argument could be made that part of the "learning" at Hogwart's is to coexist with evil and the lesson in life is "choice" - a point made in this movie. Do you choose to be good or do you choose to be evil? I'd rather go with the premise, the less you expose yourself to evil, the less likely you are to do something evil.
My Harry Potter fan friends that were in attendance enjoyed the 5th movie. However we came to a rating of 7.5 out of 10.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
From notoriety to obscurity
Being a die-hard Harry Potter fan, it was a bit of a disappointment when Harry began to act like a grouchy little girl having her first period. That was not how the book struck me, and the movie should have been a "coming to life" of the book. Magic is what Harry Potter is about. Not childhood problems, but the battle of good against evil.
Harry Potter, as it you didn't already know, number 5
Who needs a review of Harry Potter...if you don't know by now, it doesn't even matter to you...if you do know, well, this is number five of the seven books in the series. The movies all follow the books quite closely...the stories are superb, as one would expect from the first author to make one billion dollars from royalties and rights, and the sets are quite remarkable. If you are unfamiliar with the Harry Potter series you probably live on Altair 5, but if you live on earth let me just say that they are not just for children, you can be a retired professor and still enjoy a good read!