Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Not as bad as I thought it would be (ahem, Shira) but it has the disadvantage of being barely understandable to someone who hasn't read the book. To those of us who have, it is a ghost of the original work, which has far too much complexity to squish into a two-and-a-half hour film. Although the focus on Dumbledore's Army, a student group created by Harry and his friends to practice defensive magic, is a bit much compared to its treatment in the book, it makes sense in driving home the film's major theme--that being loved is the most precious thing of all. Despite the mushy-gushy-ness of it all (in which Harry fends off a creep-tastic Voldemort WITH HIS MIND BUAHAHAHA) this film is quite dark (as befits its PG-13 rating).

Imelda Staunton
gives an amazing performance as Harry's pink-clad, sadistic new teacher, who manages to remind me of both my grandmother and Hitler at the same time, but the more famous Helena Bonham Carter was a poor casting choice for crazed Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange. Her performance was nearly identical to her portrayal of Morgan LeFay in the 1998 TV movie, Merlin, but Bellatrix is no giggling witchlet. Carter is not physically intimidating enough for this part, despite her experience with creepy roles, and Bellatrix appears to have no depth whatsoever, which will become a problem in the next film, in which she has a much larger part.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson have all definitely matured as actors since the first couple of films.

Also, the wizard battle was very cool, special effects-wise, although I'm not quite sure how accurate it was to the books.

In general, it's worth a rental if you're already a fan, but I doubt it'll make much sense if you're not. If you're completely obsessed with the books, you'll probably hate it as well; it does take a lot of shortcuts to become palatable to the general public.

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