|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix |
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson (II), Rupert Grint, Harry Melling, Richard Macklin
Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Lord Voldemort has returned, but few want to believe it. In fact, the Ministry of Magic is doing everything it can to keep the wizarding world from knowing the truth - including appointing Ministry official Dolores Umbridg... more »
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The longest Harry Potter book gets whittled down to the shor
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 07/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I think that when you take the longest Harry Potter book and turn it into the shortest Harry Potter film, that a large number of complaints by fans as to what has been cut will be inevitable after they watch "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Not that this means that the legions of fans will be bitterly disappointed by the film version, but rather that there will be regrets over not getting to see favorite scenes on the screen. For example, Quidditch is completely out of the film, denying Ron of his best moments in the sun (start singing "Weasley is our king"). So do not be surprised when your mind keeps shifting to what has been cut and distracting you from time to time while watching this summer's latest blockbuster.
When last we left our hero, Harry fell victim to a trap to bring back Lord Voldermort, which cost Cedric Diggory his life. The Ministry of Magic wants things hushed up, but Dumbledore tells the students at Hogwarts that Diggory was murdered and Lord Voldermort murdered him. As this fifth film opens Harry and his wicked cousin Dudley are attacked by Dementors. Harry uses his wand to defend them and is summarily expelled from Hogwarts for using magic in front of a muggle. The good news is that Harry gets reinstated, but the bad news is that the Ministry of Magic uses the opportunity to appoint Dolores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary at the Ministry, as the school's new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. However, Umbridge teaches only the theory and not the practice because she insists Harry is a liar and there is nothing the students need to learn to defend themselves from. Then things get progressively worse.
"The Order of the Phoenix" was the most maddening book to read, not because it was the longest, but because I detest Dolores Umbridge. As far as I am concerned she makes Voldermort look good, because he knows he is evil, wicked, bad, mean and nasty inside, while Umbridge thinks the ends justify the means. She is puritanical, sadistic and hypocritical. If there were not going to be children reading this review I would tell you what I really think of her. Suffice it to say, she makes me sick and I do not even take pleasure in loving to hate her, which is why my only requirement going into the film is that the Weasley Twins get their moment of glory when they become the disloyal opposition to the new order at Hogwarts.
Daniel Radcliffe continues to have the tote the heavy load in these films as Harry, with Rupert Grint's Ron Weasley being reduced more and more often to reaction shots while Emma Watson's Hermione Granger remains the Mistress of Exposition in these films. Alan Rickman as Snape remains pitch perfect casting and Gary Oldman as Sirius Black is also a joy to watch, but I discovered in this film that I really like Michael Gambon's performance as Dumbledore, mainly because he always plays up the character's intelligence and I find I prefer his interpretation to that of the late Richard Harris, forgive my heresy. Imelda Staunton does not look as much like a toad as Umbridge does in the book, but she captures the character's detestability from start to finish. We are always painfully aware how dangerous she is, whether she smiles or not. Also, Evanna Lynch steals more scenes as Luna Lovegood than Katie Leung does as Cho Chang, and it is certainly interesting to see Neville (Matthew Lewis) towering over everybody, with Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) in the silent but strong role for the pivotal sextet.
After seeing this film I raced home and got out my copy of the book and starting cataloguing things that had been cut. Such comparisons are, as I suggested up top, inevitable for anyone who has read the book. At this point what I missed the most were some of the conversations between Maggie Smith's Professor McGonagall and Umbridge where Minerva verbally flaws the Inquisitor. The omission that I am focusing on the most is the whole bit about why Neville's family was a target of Voldermort (I agree with Harry: always say his name and thereby reduce its power), since that suggests implications for what will happen in the final book, which gets released in just ten more days. I also would have liked to have seen an over reaction to Harry discovering his father bullied Snape at Hogwarts. My favorite part ends up being the impressive wizard's duel between Voldermort and Dumbledore. Screenwriter Michael Goldenberg does a good job of whittling down Rowling's book and director David Yates does a competent job, but fans will simply want more. Also, we know what happens in the next book and all of the bad things that happen in this film cannot help but seem inconsequential in comparison. Plus, fans will be distracted by mining this film for clues as to what will happen in the last book."
Cliff's Notes adaptation of the book
Gregory Bravo | Buffalo, NY United States | 12/12/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
I love Harry Potter, OK? So before you freak out, let me get that out of the way. The book version "Order of the Phoenix" was oustanding. I also think that previous directors have done pretty good to great jobs of translating the books to film (though I must say things went a little downhill once Chris Columbus left.)
All that being said, here's the kicker:
The movie "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" played like a Cliff's Notes adaptation of the book.
It lopped off a lot of the charm and romance and heartfelt pathos of the book--- as well as a lot of the pure creative touches--- in order to get the main arc of the story down. On top of that, it made "adaptations" to the book in order to get the story moving along--- yet all these "compromises" were actually worse than what JK Rowling originally wrote!
Don't believe me? Here is only SOME of what is wrong with this movie:
--Poor devlopment of the Harry/Cho Chang arc (The kiss is about all you get. No real feeling behind it at all. No devlopement of Harry's crush. No final break up argument on Valentine's Day.)
--Making Cho into an evil snitch (which is why she and Harry broke up in the movie.) In the movie SHE is the one who betrays Harry. Stupid.
--No hospital scenes. No meeting of Neville's parents.
--Perfunctory explanation of Grimmaud Place
--Perfunctory development of Occlumency
--Harry gets to hear the prophecy while standing in the Department of Mysteries rather than later with Dumbledore. On top of this, he gets to hear the prophecy just by holding it in his hand. That makes no logical sense at all!
--The Department of Mysteries itself is compressed down into one room (the room with the prophecies.) All the cool rooms (with the blue lights, the 12 doors, the clocks, the brains, and so on) are all just ignored. Those were such tremendous inventions by JK Rowling--perhaps some of the most creative stuff in all the books-- that I can't believe they just cut them!
--The room with the arch is made into a really boring place.
--The battle scene is really short and rather stupid.
--Snape's memory of being tortured by James Potter and his argument with Lily Potter is compressed into literally a total of 4 seconds of film. That scence is so PIVOTAL to the rest of the book series that I can't believe they got away with not fully developing the scene.
On top of all these plot issues, the WORST part about this movie is that there was really no FEELING in it. The whole range of emotional arcs that are so well-developed in the book are done absolutely terribly in the movie. Yeah, Sirius dies. In the book, it is a devatating moment. In the movie, it's like "Oh, well." Harry, Ron and Hermione don't have many moments together. There is no laughing in the movie. We don't get to feel pathos for Neville because his parents are insane. We don't get to feel the gratefulness of the Weasleys when Harry saves Mr Weasley. There are no lighthearted moments. Almost every scene except one or two that could have developed the emotional attachment we feel to the characters has been summarily excluded.
Like one other reviewer said: The movie is too short, yet it feels too long.
That is, sorry to say, a perfect description of a hack job.
I am quite disappointed."
Outstanding, best HP movie to date.
Review Lover | At a place... | 07/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" - the movie version - IS missing lots of content from its book counterpart. Also, the screenplay has wrought a lot of big changes on the book's content and chronology. If you're a book-to-film conversion purist, or a HP Book fanatic, this fact, before anything else, might well keep you from enjoying the movie to the full. That said, if you can go into this one with an open mind (and I had to force myself to do just that, HP Book fanatic that I am), you might find yourself enjoying this movie version of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" for what it is - a fast-paced, well-made, beautiful-looking ride through Harry & co's fifth year at Hogwarts.
The good: Acting-wise Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint keep improving, and this movie is no exception, they're very, very good in their roles. Michael Gambon is still an excellent Dumbledore and Alan RIckman's Snape is absolutely brilliant during the Occlumency scenes. It's nice to see the Dursleys back again at the start of the movie, and Harry Melling is excellent - loathsome and bullying - in his short turn as Dudley. Katie Leung is a great Cho - certainly we'll see more of her as an actress once the HP series is finished - and the rest of the cast, the heavyweights like Dame Maggie Smith, Gary Oldman, Julie Walters, David Thewlis and so forth - don't really get enough screen time to show off, but are perfectly plausible all the same.
The newcomers are fantastic, too - Evanna Lynch makes for a great, believable Luna Lovegood and Helena Bonham-Carter's rendition of Bellatrix Lestrange is absolutely brilliant (let's hope she gets more screen-time in the "Half Blood Prince" adaptation!).
But it's Imelda Staunton as Delores Umbridge who absolutely steals the show - she's brilliant. Turning on a dime from saccharine-sweet condescension to malevolent power-hungry bully, I can't imagine J.K. Rowling's original character being brought more wholly and satisfyingly to life. Okay, she may not look as much like a Toad as the book's character, but in the face of Staunton's excellent performance and faithful characterisation, that becomes immaterial. She's the best element of what must be the strongest set of performances in a HP movie to date.
Direction by David Yates is superlative - this is a suitably adult-looking movie to reflect the changes in the HP characters' personalities and situations - and from the tense and frightening opening scenes, to the breathtaking and exciting close, Yates' talent and apparent love of this story is very palpable. Harry's "dream" sequences when Voldemort is invading his mind are brilliant - lovely to watch and very interesting from an artistic point of view - and the special effects, particularly during the closing scenes, are indescribably good.
Production design by Stuart Craig is the absolute best in a HP movie since the original, and every element of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", Umbridge's non-toadishness notwithstanding, is nigh-on perfect. The initial scenes at the Ministry for Magic made me sit up and go "wow!", the death eaters and dementors are more menacing than before, there's one panoramic shot of Azkaban that makes that place absolutely terrifying in its believability. No. 12 Grimmauld Place doesn't get enough air time but what's there is gold, and the character of Grawp is a lot more human and fitting than I had imagined him from the book.
The bad elements of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" all stem from the fact that this film's running time really is too short to capture every great aspect of the original novel, and the missing scenes will, for fans of the book, cause some distress. Also, the Malfoy-Crabbe-Goyle trinity isn't particularly worthwhile or believable, and there are a couple of montage scenes, particularly involving the Educational Decrees and Argus Filch, that feel too comic, too flimsy, to belong properly to the movie. Also, there are some overconvenient events (such as Cho and the Veritaserum, and Arthur Weasley's recovery) that could have used some rewriting to get them up to par with the rest of the screenplay.
But that said, as a movie in its own right, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is across-the-board the most satisfying HP movie to date. Best performances, outstanding direction, excellent effects and some spectacular set and costume design have restored my faith in this series, and I for one left the cinema with a big grin on my face. Definitely a must-see for fans: newcomers; watch the others before this one - it's vital to understand what's going on. As a short adaptation of a VERY long book it works on many levels, as an entry to the movie series it's outstanding, and as a film in its own right, it's a thrilling, well-made fantasy tale that will certainly satisfy you if you don't mind the cuts.
Randy L. Miller | Glendale, AZ | 12/13/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I don't get it. I watched the movie in the theatre as soon as it was released. I liked 1, 2, and 4. I thought too much license was taken in 3, but it was still a good movie, even if it didn't follow the book very well. However, HP and the Order of the Phoenix is completely forgettable. While waiting for the DVD to be released, I realized I could barely remember the movie. I wrote it off to age, but after viewing the DVD, I realize it was like watching a bad dream.
The entire movie is a disjointed jumble of unexplained images of Harry being confused and angry. There is no story development whatsoever. How this movie could lead into Half Blood Prince is beyond my reckoning. Everything that is going to happen in 6 is based on what was cut from 5. This is the WORST adaptation of the series ever.
There was so much missing that what was left didn't make sense. Harry arrives at Grimmaud place and is angry at his friends for not writing. Why, we never find out. It was well explained in the book, but in the movie, we just show the anger. We don't even learn that Grimmaud place is unplottable, we just get a quick cgi of the building stretching.
We see Kreacher, but learn nothing of what or why. Kreacher is pivotal to this story, but gets 15 seconds of the movie, if that. Weasleys Wizard Wheezes is written totally out of the story and has been since Goblet of Fire.
I could go on, but I think the title says it all, this is a totally disjointed and forgettable movie. If I could give it a negative 2 I would.