Order Of The Pheonix Review

So, I finally went to see Order of the Phoenix yesterday. I’m going to review, but it’ll be spoilery so if you haven’t seen it yet, please don’t read.

First off, my overall impression. It was very good. I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars. (If I had stars that is.)

I thought the movie was great. I have to say that I really enjoyed David Yates style. It’s much different than the previous movies. He uses a lot more close up shots and less wide angle shots, which gives the film a much more personal feel.

The opening scene in particular was awesome. Probably the best opening scene in an HP movie to date. The confrontation with Dudley, though compressed, was terrific and the dementors were a hundred times scarier than they were in the third film.

Now about differences between the book and film. I know some people who’ve seen the film were disappointed in how many changes there were, but as some of you may know, I’ve never been the type of person who thought the film had to be exactly like the book. In this case, Order was such a massive and detailed book with so many subplots, it would’ve been impossible to include everything. But the changes they did make, I thought were fairly skillful. In fact some, like how they portrayed Harry’s posession by Voldemort in the Dept. of Mysteries, I felt were a slight improvement at least visually from the book. Please don’t lynch me for saying that.

One of the major complaints I heard was the fact that in the final battle Sirius was hit with Avada Kedavra before falling through the veil. Well, in point of fact, the spell that Bellatrix hit Sirius with was not named in the book. It probably was not AK, owing to the fact that it was described as a jet of red light, and so far AK has always been green, but honestly does it matter? The end result is the same: Sirius is dead. In fact, I think they might have chosen Avada Kedavra intentionally because unlike the book, they didn’t have time to deal with all the stuff that established that Sirius was really dead (ie. the failure of the two way mirrors, Harry’s conversation with Nearly Headless Nick, etc.). They had to quickly make it clear to the audience that Sirius was dead and not coming back.

There were only two changes that I felt were mistakes from a plot point of view.

First, was revealing that Cho betrayed the D.A. under the influence of Veritaserum. I predicted way back in December of 2005 that they would scrap Marietta Edgecombe’s character and have Cho do the tattling, which would have been fine. However, they shouldn’t have included the tidbit about it being under the influence of Veritaserum. Mostly because that means that the Veritaserum that Snape supplied Umbridge with in the film was real, while in the book Dumbledore clearly states that Snape had been supplying Umbridge with fake Veritaserum. Considering that Snape’s true allegiances are supposed to be a mystery wrapped in a riddle wrapped in an enigma, they shouldn’t have “added” this. It’ll be taken as a clue by some fans, even though it’s not canon. They should’ve just had Cho betray the D.A., full stop. Yes, it would’ve made Cho out to be much more of a jerk than she actually is, but since her character ceases to be of any importance after the fifth book, who cares? Also, it would’ve killed two birds with one stone; it would have ended the D.A. and led to Harry’s breakup with Cho at the same time. In the film, he finds out at the end that Cho only tattled because of Veritaserum, so why wouldn’t he just forgive her? It doesn’t make sense for him to just completely forget about her in that context.

The other mistake I felt they made was not revealing the whole prophecy at the end of the film. I quite understand them not going into the whole drawn out explanation of his every action for the past 15 years that Dumbledore gives at the end of book 5, but they should have included the entire prophecy. Dumbledore wouldn’t have had to explain it, going into the whole confusing Neville-was-almost-you thing, etc, but it would’ve been nice especially for fans to be able to hear the entire prophecy. It would’ve only increased the length of the film by 5 minutes at most. Won’t they have to return to it anyways in the next film when Harry finds out it was Snape who heard the first half of the prophecy and gave it to Voldemort?

So those were the only two plotting problems I saw really. Other than that it was great. I especially liked the use of flashbacks from the other films that were featured in the occlumency scenes and in the Voldemort-tries-to-possess Harry scene. It was a sort of really nice way to weave all of the films together, not to mention that it added a lot of emotional impact to the story.

Imelda Staunton was terrific as Umbridge. Like in the book, you really wished something terrible would happen to her because she was so hateful.

We got to see a bit more of Alan Rickman as Snape in this film than in Goblet of Fire, and as always, he was spot on Snape. I can only hope that we get to see much more of him in the sixth film.

Michael Gambon was as usual, a slightly disappointing Dumbledore. He’s a great actor; I’m just not sure he entirely understands Dumbledore’s character as described in the book, or even makes much of an effort to. The scene where he tells Umbridge that Trelawney can stay at the castle was very good until he turned around and snapped waspishly at the students, “Don’t you have some studying to do?”. The real Dumbledore (and I’m sorry but I always picture the late great Richard Harris when I say that) may very well have said such a thing if he wanted the students to return to their business, but he would have said it in that maddeningly detached tone (as if he couldn’t really care less whether the students ever studied) that is so wonderfully Dumbledore. Gambon has thus far proven unable/unwilling to master this.

The battle scenes were without a doubt, some of the coolest scenes I’ve ever watched on a movie screen. In particular, the battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort really gave you a sense of two almost cosmic magical forces colliding. It was jaw dropping.

So all in all, a four out of five, in my opinion. I cannot Wait to Add To our Harry Potter Gift Section.