Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
PG-13 … 3.5 Stars
The Harry Potter film adaptations have already gone through a series of directors and the latest, David Yates, has done a wonderful job with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. While the book is widely regarded as being the dullest of the series, Yates was able to make the movie interesting and well worth watching.
The movie opens with Harry having a lonely, awful summer without contact from anyone magic-related and soon learns that almost the entire wizarding world, especially the Ministry of Magic, is in denial about the return of Lord Voldemort. Harry is called a liar for saying the dark lord has returned and falls into a pit of depression when even his dear friend Professor Dumbledore essentially ignores his existence.
Possibly the worst change to Harry’s life in his fifth year at Hogwarts is the addition of Professor Umbridge as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. She is put into place to keep an eye on the school as the not-so-secret confidant of the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, who is convinced that Dumbledore has it out for him. Umbridge is an evil woman making the silliest rule changes and just being, well, mean. Throughout the film I found myself wanting to rip her hideously pink outfits to shreds. Kudos, to actress Imelda Staunton for being so deliciously and annoyingly evil as this character.
This movie has definitely earned its PG-13 rating; it isn’t exactly for little kids. Apart from the significant level of “snogging,” the movie is just a lot more grown-up than those of the past with the mysteriously labeled “thematic elements” and quite a few scary moments. They took a step away from the PG rating like some of the predecessors and I think it has definitely worked out to their advantage, being able to do some scary things made this a better movie.
Liberties were taken from the book, as always, to cram over 900 pages into a two-hour movie, but I didn’t feel like anything major was missing. They did an excellent job adapting the book into a very watchable and exciting film. There were a few things that I would have emphasized more, but I really can’t go into those too much without giving major spoilers to those few people who have not read the books.
One of my favorite parts about watching this movie was the general feel of it. Yates did a great job making it feel a lot more real with wonderfully shaky camera work and an overall relaxed atmosphere amongst the characters. Aside from the occasional over-actor (cough-cough, Emma Watson) everyone did a great job in his or her part.
Yates is directing the next film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, becoming one of two directors to do more than one film in this series. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve upon the films as he did with this one.
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