Sunday, July 22, 2007
Movie Reviews: HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
In his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is now 15 years old and preparing for the Ordinary Wizarding Levels examinations after a long summer away from school. He's also recruited by a secret organization to prepare for the eventual return of the epitome of evil, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Although the group busies itself behind the scenes, no other Wizard believes Harry and Dumbledore's (Michael Gambon) dire warnings, forcing a new Witch (Imelda Staunton) to assume control of the magical school.
Cast Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon (more)
Director(s) David Yates
Writer(s) Michael Goldenberg
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date July 11, 2007
Running Time 138 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix continues the shift into darker territory and more mature subject matter that started with the previous entry The Goblet of Fire. This shift has been great for the movie franchise as the first 3 entries were very light for my personal taste. In Order of the Phoenix David Yates creates a wonderful sense of dread as he leaves Hogwarts devoid of color and gives it an almost prison feel. Radcliff, Grint and Watson have grown over the course of this series and thankfully they've been given more substantial material to work with. Radcliff in particular does an excellent job of portraying Harry as a conflicted guilt ridden young adult who's coming to grips with his destiny. The supporting cast is full of excellent actors and even though they are given far too little to do, especially the wonderful Helena Bonham Carter, these actors know how steal a scene when allowed, specifically Alan Rickman. Imelda Staunton is a fantastic standout as Dolores Umbridge, The Ministry of Magic's appointed teacher. There is built into this new story an interesting subtext that one could see as drawing allusions to current political situations, personified by Dolores Umbridge's totalitarian actions throughout the film. Subtext was something missing from the previous films and I personally think it adds a level of credibility as maturity to these movies. My main issue with this film really had to do more with the general lack of a true climax, a built in problem in a series that meant to go on for 7 movies. Other smaller issues such as Harry's new love interest being totally underdeveloped are noticeable but hardly fatal. Still it's an enjoyable experience and sure to please most of the fans.