Thursday, July 12, 2007

REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Directed by: David Yates

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson

PLOT: Movie 5 of 7. Harry is getting older and his world is growing darker. With precious few on his side, Harry must convince the general populous of his innocence, protect the identity of the members of the Order of the Phoenix, thwart the efforts of the horrid new teacher/ministry spy and experience his first kiss. All in one two hour movie.

I belong to the JK Rowling fan club. I joined in my 20's and I'm not, as with most things, embarrassed about it at all. Rowling spins a magical tale that sets my inner tween on fire. I love her books and am excited and scared about the final one coming out in about a week. (Ok so it comes out July 21 and I have pre-ordered a copy). However, as much as I want to talk about the book and dream about movies 6 and 7, I'm here to discuss number 5.

What do you mean we're only getting $20 million?

Stunning special effects, creepy bad guys, loyalty and death, all seem to play a part in thrusting young Harry Potter into adulthood. If HP were in Compton he'd probably say, "Things just got real".

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix sees the return of the young cast we have all grown to love. Daniel Radcliffe, fresh from his very adult stage play Equus, somehow manages to regain his innocence to play the boy wizard once again, easing comfortably back into the role that made him a star. Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have definitely grown, shown as Ron Weasley was toned down (thank god) and Hermione was slightly turned up, but in a far less annoying way.

Sadly, a lot had to be cut from the book to make the script for this film but everyone knew that would be the case, so fans going in aren’t going to be completely shocked. The parts that were cut will only really matter to true fans of the novels. The great thing about OOTP is that it's made for fans of the book, but people who haven't read the books can still get a lot out of it.

I loved OOTP (gush gush) because it was the only movie out of the franchise so far that played out exactly as I had imagined it in my head when reading the book, which made this movie special to me in particular. The film also didn't seem to patronise the viewer like the last four. Director David Yates realised that fans have grown with Harry, and adjusted the layout of the film to suit.

The only disappointment to me was some extreme overacting from Helena Bonham Carter, someone who I had decided was going to be great in the role of Bellatrix Lestrange. Instead, she was just strange. Almost laughably so.

Last night, after HP: OOTP had finished, I asked kids what they though of the movie and no one seemed disappointed. Most of them were amazed at the special effects. A really young kid, probably about 5, said it was scary but at the same time had a big grin on his face. I was also grinning at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I'm still grinning in fact, and it's not gas! (Or Skiving Snackboxes)

4/5 Magical Stars

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