Friday, August 10, 2007

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (SPOILERS!)

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW! (for Movie 5 & Book 7)

Well, I finally got to see the Order of the Phoenix movie with DH last night. Saw it in IMAX which was great. The IMAX version is also in 3D from the time they take off on the thestrals throughout the battle of the Dept. of Mysteries. But since I have usable vision in only one eye, 3D unfortunately doesn't work for me, but hubby said he loved it.I really liked the film a whole lot. I thought they really kept it moving, made it enjoyable and stuck as much as they COULD to the book. Things I liked:

Top of the list has to be Umbridge and Luna. Pure perfection, both of them! Absolutely marvelous and thoroughly enjoyable performances, and they really nailed their characters. I enjoyed that Luna got to tell Harry about the thestrals--thought that was quite appropriate and well done.

Bellatrix was also great--delightfully deranged. And how great to see Lucius--he was terrific as always.

I liked the growing relationship between Harry and Sirius. Also liked the new way of showing the head in the fire--didn't care for the way it was done in GoF.

Liked Neville's character development.

LOVED the DA. Those scenes were great and I loved how it showed how Harry grew as a teacher and how the students grew in their skills.

Snape and the Occlumency lessons were also well done. Snape was properly menacing. Loved how Dumbledore wanted to start the lessons "RIGHT AWAY--WE CAN'T WAIT!" and S. just grabbed Harry's hand and took off. Quite effective.

Hermione delivering her lines about how Cho must be feeling--straight out of the book if I'm correct and delivered spot-on.

Fred and George going out in a blaze of glory--Marvelous!! I do love those twins.

I liked Michael Gambon MUCH more in this movie than in the last. He seems to have settled into the character much better.

I thought the use of newspaper headlines/pictures to convey information and to show the passage of time worked really well.

Things I didn't care for, or was disappointed to miss:

I wish Cho had had "SNEAK" across her forehead! (Oh well, she did comb her bangs straight forward!)

Wish Mrs. Figg (who I did like) had come out and SAID "I'm a Squib." To non-readers of the book, it would be confusing as to how she knows about the Wizarding World.

Wish Neville had had a chance to flat out tell Harry where his parents were.

Wish it was made clear that Kreacher had betrayed Harry to the Death Eaters. Although it's good that they showed clearly how Sirius felt about Kreacher--which ties into book 7 although the filmmakers couldn't know that! (I understand that they were going to cut Kreacher out entirely but JKR insisted he be in, for reasons that are now obvious.)

I didn't really care for Tonks. I wanted more of her youthful vibrancy and fun energy. She just felt too "old" to me.

I didn't care for Fiennes' Voldemort in this movie either. For some reason, I just wasn't feeling the magnetism, the commanding air, the fear. He just didn't seem as scary as he did in that graveyard.

The Death Eaters masks were just stupid.

Wish the Snape's Worst Memory scene had been longer so we really could have gotten the picture. Especially since the Snape/Lily connection is so important (although again of course the film makers couldn't have known that!)

I missed the other rooms in the Dept of Mysteries (brain room, etc.) I agree with others who said the final battle just seemed a bit anticlimactic.

I didn't really FEEL Harry's grief for Sirius. I wanted more sadness, especially when he and Luna were talking in the final scene and she helps him. (Though I did like how she found her tennis shoes :) )

I just felt there wasn't enough of Harry's alienation, frustration, depression and ANGER! Yes, they conveyed it in quite a few scenes (I loved when he said to Dumbledore, "Look at me!").

But I remember reading the fifth book and thinking how BLEAK the whole year was for Harry, how alone and frustrated and angry he felt and how nothing really went right for him, except the formation of the DA and the Weasleys' moment of triumph. The film of course focused on those two positive events and I felt there wasn't enough of the discouragement, alienation, feeling cut off from everyone, and anger at Dumbledore. Funny that for such a dark movie I walked out feeling it wasn't quite dark enough!

And what really surprised me: I knew that Dumbledore's Patented Explanation And Wrap-Up At The End Of The Film would be cut short (as it had been in films 3 & 4, one of my major peeves with both those films, grrrrrr.) But I was shocked that in the final scene after the battle with Dumbledore and Harry---ALL CAPS HARRY WAS COMPLETELY ABSENT! There was NO anger! There was NO rage! There was NO yelling and screaming and smashing of objects! To me, that confrontation between H & D is one of the most important parts of the whole book. Dumbledore has been ignoring Harry all year and Harry is FURIOUS and wants to know WHY and wants ANSWERS! I was really surprised that in their brief talk (in which Dumbledore didn't get a chance to explain much at all, par for the films) Harry was simply tired and sad, NOT one bit angry. That part is my major beef with the film. I wonder why it was done that way.

But overall, I thought it was great and I really did enjoy it!