Sunday, 15 July, 2007

The Order of the Pheonix - Movie review

The dark lord has returned finally. The sets have turned murkier and dark. And Harry, much like the actor himself, is on the threshold of adulthood. The fifth movie in the series ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ is thus a lot different from what Readers and viewers might be expecting!

It is rather difficult to translate a nearly 800 page book to fit in a little more than two hours of duration. And so the helplessness on the part of Mr. Michael Goldenberg (screenplay) to include as much scenes of importance as possible is only too evident in this film.

The movie actually begins much differently from the book with a ‘Dementor’ attack on Harry and his lousy cousin Dudley at the ‘Little Whinging’. The appearance and acting of Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon seems really shoddy compared to that of ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’. The revelation of Harry’s neighbor Mrs.Figg being a ‘Squib’ and the reasons behind Harry’s angst (on being left alone, totally out of touch with the happenings of magical world, being ignored by his protector Dumbledore and not told anything about his being watched) has been skipped in the movie. Without giving much importance to these happenings the movie proceeds to show Harry’s escape from his uncle’s ‘Muggle’ home to a secret and magical ‘Grimmauld Place’- a place which becomes the head quarters of the ‘order of the Pheonix’.

The movie swiftly moves to the dramatic hearing of Harry Potter in the Ministry of magic’s dark Courtroom. As earlier said, much of the background info has been done with, keeping the viewer gape and guess what’s exactly happening on the screen--unless you have read the book!

You are surely going to miss the classroom funs this time as it has been over shadowed by the political play of the Ministry of Magic. The appointment of a new ‘Defense against the Dark Arts’ teacher ‘Dolores Umbridge’ in ‘The Hogwart’s School of Wizardry’ has been done with a purpose, which becomes clear to all later. This new character is played by Imelda Staunton (an Oscar nominee for “Vera Drake”). The New York Times review on this movie states something like this about her part in the movie:

“The scariest color in his (cinematographer Slawomir Idziak’s) palette, however, turns out to be pink. That is the color favored by Dolores Umbridge (Ms. Staunton), whose cheery English-auntie demeanor masks a ruthlessly autocratic temperament. She posts proclamations on the Hogwarts walls, subjects violators to painful punishments and substitutes book learning for practical magic. Her purpose is to institute Minister Fudge’s head-in-the-sand policy with respect to the Voldemort’s threat, and she does a heck of a job”.

Sadly, even the most interesting parts of Professor Umbridge’s inspection of the classes has been left by the director David Yates leaving the film of all the interest, continuity and subtlety that has been so characteristic of the earlier movies. But indeed Imelda Staunton needs to be praised for a realistic depiction of the character she plays. And that is the only part in the movie that has been focused for a bit longer duration.

Our main character Harry Potter, the lovable and innocent orphaned boy, is facing a tumult within him in this film. It’s a transition period for him and also for his buddies Ron and Hermione. Evolving from adolescence to a more mature person Harry now bravely accepts to teach Defense against Dark Arts to his supportive fellow mates by forming the ‘Dumbledore’s Army’. He Experiences some really close moments with Cho-Chang, which gives a momentary relief to him from the increasing awareness about impending face to face with evil. His nightmarish visions only increase his restlessness.

Moviegoers for the most part have been queuing up to see the CGI special effects and the magical spells executed by Harry, Ron and Hermione…and also the ‘Dumbledore Army’ which faces the Dark Lord-Voldemort!! And here the movie does give some thrill. The final fight with Voldemort was worth a watch.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix : rated PG-13

Directed by David Yates; written by Michael Goldenberg, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling; director of photography, Slawomir Idziak; edited by Mark Day; music by Nicholas Hooper; production designer, Stuart Craig; visual effects supervisor, Tim Burke; produced by David Heyman and David Barron; released by Warner Brothers Pictures.


Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Warwick Davis (Filius Flitwick), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody), Richard Griffiths (Vernon Dursley), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Fiona Shaw (Petunia Dursley), Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall), Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge), David Thewlis (Remus Lupin), Emma Thompson (Sybill Trelawney), Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley), Robert Hardy (Cornelius Fudge), David Bradley (Argus Filch), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Katie Leung (Cho Chang) and Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley).

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