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When I first walked into the movie, my expectations were not very high.
The first two movies, I thought, were the best of the series mainly due
to Richard Harris' dead-on portrayal of Dumbledore and screenplays that
closely followed the original books. Though the third and fourth movies
were very artistic and dramatic, I couldn't really connect to them in
the way i had with the books. They glossed over many of the little
things that made the Harry Potter series so magical in the first place,
focusing on a select few plot lines and limiting dialog to only what
was necessary to further the story.
As a result they've felt more like a collage of scenes, a series of puzzle pieces, thrown at the viewers faster than they can piece together, just leading up to a final confrontation. Pacing has certainly been an issue, leaving fans feeling disjointed, and those new to the series confused as to what exactly is going on. In this respect, Order of the Phoenix was very similar to the previous two movies. As a Hollywood film, it deserves praise, bringing this amazing world to the big screen, telling a compelling tale, and keeping the viewers glued to their seats for the duration of the movie. However, to the die hard fans of the books, you will undoubtedly be disappointed.
Many scenes that one would think invaluable to the story have been cut, replaced by the hasty filling in of plot holes. And while it pains me to ignore some of my favorite scenes from the book being left on the cutting room floor (St. Mungo's, Harry's Quibbler interview, the Quidditch fight, etc.), I realize that yes, not everything could be included in the movie. But in this watered down version of the book, there seems to be something missing. We still have all the drama and excitement, but some of the magic just seems to be gone.
Aside from Evanna (couldn't have made a more perfect Luna), the kids give simply average performances, never really reaching the full potential put forth by JK Rowling's writing. The same goes for Gambon, who seems to have ignored the calm, all knowing, endearing idea of who Dumbledore is, in favor of a more erratic yet powerful headmaster. Sure, this works well in the more dramatic scenes (specifically the final battle), but otherwise, his performance falls flat, lacking the eye twinkling charm we came to love from the late Richard Harris. Thankfully, Imelda Staunton more than makes up for this in an amazing portrayal of Dolores Umbridge, one of the more fully realized characters of the movie. As for the rest of the cast, it's largely hit or miss, determined by how each scene is written.
Overall, I would certainly recommend the movie for everyone, fan or not, as it really was a well made movie, despite a few wooden actors and some bad dialog. But when looking at the books, one really can't help but think how much more potential this movie could've had.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK. Yes stuff was left out. Yes some things were inaccurate. And yes,
at times the story jumped around. But I'll tell you what, if that's the
price to pay for being able to see fantastic literature on the
big-screen...I'll take a few inconsistencies any day.
For having the task of taking 870 masterful pages and turning them into a 2.5 hour movie, David Yates did one heck of a job. This movie is a must-see, no matter how you look at it. For book-readers, sure you notice the absence of certain parts, but you finally get to see what you've imagined in your head for years take place in real-live motion on the screen and you know what, those few things left out, help you gain a better understanding anyway, because you have already read the in-between stuff. Then, in the same breath, this is a great movie for non-book-readers as well. For those HP fans who take the lighter approach of skipping the books and simply following along by the movies you won't know what you're missing anyway. The biggest complaints about this movie will be from book-readers who wanted a 10-hour long, word-for-word re-creation of the book. Other than that, there is nothing to complain about. Acting was great, story-line was great, and the special effects were flawless.
(Slight Spoiler In This Paragraph) Being a book-reader, I knew heading in that I would have to be prepared to accept substantial cuts from all that takes place in the book. However, the parts that Yates chose to focus on, were by far, the most important ones; and the way in which he did it, left me speechless. Yates was clearly at his best at the movie's climactic ending. When reading those last few chapters, when Harry is at the Ministry, and there is the great battle, the book reads like a whirlwind. Everything is happening at once: death-eaters here, death-eaters there, Sirius finally getting the chance to fight, Moody kicking ass, Ginny going on a tear and straight-up owning people. And you try to picture in your head what all this would look like a million things going on at once, and trying to picture how wizards and witches really "fight" each other. Somehow, someway, Yates was able to create that fast-paced, action-packed, confusion, and then all of a sudden, like an orchestra going flat after their last booming note, Sirius Black is gone just like in the book. This was the hardest part for me to swallow when reading the book, as tears ran down my cheeks, not only because Sirius was my favorite character, but because you go from such a "high" of seeing the Order save the day, to the unbelievable "low" of seeing Harry's godfather simply fade away. This is an emotion and thought process which was excellently portrayed in the film. Ironically enough, Yates was only warming up.
As for the Dumbledore/Voldemort showdown, I don't think that it could have been done better. In a Star Wars type fashion, Harry is being tempted by Voldemort to release his anger, to have his revenge on Bellatrix Lestrange, to have a taste of the dark side. And as we sit there fearing for confused, helpless Harry, we see a green fire of hope, and more like Master Yoda than any other fictional character, Albus Dumbledore appears and engages Voldemort in a wizard-duel that puts Gandalf and Sarumon to shame.
The way the movie engaged the audience and got their emotion kicking is a great film-making talent not found in many movies anymore. Think of the way Yates made you HATE Umbridge, just like the book. The way you felt bad for Snape when you saw his hidden past, just like the book. And think of the best two lines of the movie where you felt comfort, confidence, and safety on Harry's part. The first of these lines was Sirius Black to Lucius Malfoy: when the death-eaters are over-whelming the kids, Sirius appears behind Lucius with a firm, "get away from my godson." Then once again, when Harry is alone with Voldemort, Dumbledore appears and almost as if to initiate the duel, says, "It was a mistake for you to come here tonight, Tom." Overall, the movie was fantastic. The best of the five by far. You just have to put aside the gaping holes of chapters that were left out, and look at what was done well. For the book-readers, imagine if you were forced to take only 400 of the 870 pages out of the book you would take the most important ones that relate to the plot. So as much as the "prefect storyline" and the "Harry/Cho drama" and all that other stuff is a great read, the big screen simply doesn't allow enough time for it. As for the non-book-readers pick up the books and get busy. Because as great as a job that Yates did with the movie the woman he got the story from, Ms. Rowling, might just be one of the greatest authors of our time.
Now go spend 10 bucks and enjoy the show!
I actually was lucky enough to see this at a sneak preview on Monday.
The "experience" was lousy, but the film was good...IF you take it as a
separate entity from the series of books. If you separate the film from
the book, you won't be disappointed.
For the negative...there were, of course, MANY things that were omitted from the film. As a huge fan of the books, I still must be realistic. I knew there would be a lot of information left out. There were a few things that I felt could have made the story richer if they had been included, but I won't go into detail so I don't give away any of the film's changes. There were a few changes that made me frown at times, but as the story played out, it did make the film flow well. One of their worst casting decisions, Michael Gambon, was actually tolerable in this one, for the most part. I am NOT a fan of his portrayal of Dumbledore, but I guess he worked for this film simply because, for the majority of the story, he is supposed to be acting somewhat aloof towards Harry. That worked for him. I miss the subtlety that Richard Harris brought to that role, and, while he wasn't dreadful in this one, I still believe that there are countless other well known actors in the UK that could have done this role better justice. There wasn't enough Molly or Hagrid for me though. I love both of those characters.
On a positive note, the special effects were very well done. The thestrals were marvelous--eerie, but strangely peaceful creatures. Evanna Lynch could not have been more spot on as Luna. Her voice, mannerisms and demeanor were amazing. My only complaint about her was that she wasn't on screen enough. :o) Imelda Staunton, as Umbridge, and Helena Bonham Carter, as Bella, have to be two of the BEST casting decisions that they have with regard to these films. They were SO incredible. I was actually quite impressed with Dan, Rupert and Emma as well. They have come quite far in their acting abilities. They have finally achieved the art of saying a lot without necessarily opening their mouths. The scene in the common room following the kiss between Harry and Cho was hysterical. Kreacher and Grawp were great additions to the films. Fred and George's exit was very well done, albeit slightly different. The film, if taken by itself, was really good. Unfortunately, it's a lot different from the book. But, as I'm doing a film review and not a comparison, I'll give it 8 out of 10, because I was highly entertained.
Our "sneak preview" was interrupted in the middle due to a problem with the film, and I think we still missed some of it. We lined up 3 hours before the movie was supposed to begin, it started late, it was interrupted in the middle for over 30 minutes, we were wanded for metal and electronics every time we went in or out...I think we'll just wait until opening week next time. It's crowded, but a lot less trouble.
We are actually going to see it again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I feel cheated. I really do. Too much omitted this time.
WARNING: DON'T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE or READ THE BOOK.
Firstly, Harry stabbed the dementor in the eye with his wand! What?! Secondly, did anyone find Kingsley Shacklebolt's hat mildly unnecessary? Just asking. Then, there's the complete omission of Hermoine's and Ron's elevation to prefect, AND of Harry becoming captain of the Quidditch team. In fact, there was no Quidditch at all. Frowny faces abound. They skipped the visit to St. Mungo's, and it would've been funny to see Gilderoy Lockhart again. It also seemed like the Weasley brothers' grand exit was stolen from them. The fireworks were cool, but there was none of the flair, there was no speech, and there was (yet again) no Peeves. Sad times. And then, despite all these omissions, they find time to have a scene of everyone from the DA in detention writing lines with blood-ink quills, which never even happens in the book. Booo. However, through all this, there was one glimmer of hope: The fight in the Ministry. "The battle at the Ministry will make it all better," I said to myself. Not so! I mean, sure, it was good looking, but the entire Hall of Prophecy collapsing? Surely the shelves in that kind of room are sturdier than that. The distinct lack of almost ALL of the Department of Mysteries? Where was the brain room? Where was the hummingbird in the hourglass? And most importantly, where was the prophecy?! We get a snippet of it, but it comes out before the thing even breaks. And now we come to the saddest part: Sirius's death. (I told you, you shouldn't be reading if you haven't seen/read it already.) It was definitely as sad as it should've been, but it wasn't nearly as abrupt as it was in the book. It's shocking because of its suddenness. It becomes more real that way; it shocks the reader as much as it does Harry. It just didn't seem jarring enough. Also, the young wizards were casting nonverbally, which will (presumably) create confusion when Harry duels Snape in Half-Blood Prince. Oh, and the Priori Incantatum thing with Voldemort and Dumbledore? What?
I will say that Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange were perfect for their roles, and the thestrals were very cool. The acting was all extremely well done, the content just left a lot to be desired.
But what do I know? It's hard to write movies. I just wish the film has included more of the important, meaningful content.
I love the Harry Potter books, and I've always liked the movies. That's why I was very excited to go see the latest installment of the series. However the movie did not at all live up to my expectations; to me it felt rushed and choppy. I realize that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was a very long book, but so was The Goblet of Fire and I enjoyed it's movie adaptation a lot. In this movie seemed as though the director merely had a check list of scenes that he needed to but in the movie put no thought into connecting them. The speed and choppiness of the movie took away from the characters. It was just events and there was hardly any character development at all. Which was a shame because the young cast continues to get better, and there were some amazing acting veterans (Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter etc.) In my opinion if the director had slowed everything down, only a little, he could've added a lot more (character development, humor, fluidity) However, despite by prier comments, the movie was not terrible. It did have it's good moments, but I think it could have been done a lot better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yates, be ashamed. Goldenberg, be ashamed. This is the worst HP movie a
die hard fan had to sit through. To start off, just because the movie
is an adaptation of the book does not mean it should leave out entire
story lines, change others, and expose only those that will glitter and
impress those who have not read the book. Lord of the Rings... ring a
bell, followers of the book... did it stray as much from the books as
OOTP did? Now for serious talk, whoever decided that Grawp should look
like a 20' middle-aged man with Down's Syndrome should be tortured for
the rest of their life. Not only did Grawp look slow, but behaved,
moved, and got the audience's sympathy NOT how the book describes him
at all. And how about entire chunks of the book thrown away for a cheap
(but likely profitable) movie? How about being 3/4 through the book in
60 minutes? How about Kreacher, 2 scenes? How about Sirius' mother's
portrait? How about Quidditch? How about the Patronus charm being "very
advanced magic" yet the director felt every character needed an animal?
How about classes, wizard clothing, Diagon Alley... is Hogwart's set in
London now for some reason? How about Harry is the only one that does
lines in Umbridge's office (so as to isolate him further from his
friends in his loneliness)? How about Firenze taking over Divination,
showing that it is not a lost art and course? How about Weasley's
Wizarding Wheezes, the twins' decision making, the money Harry gave
them to open up their shop? How about knowing the names of the escaped
convicts, was it going to cost too much to PRINT 10 names of the
villains who are in the finale on the Prophet? I realize this is a film
"based" on the book, but to be able to say that the movie should
reflect at least 50% of the book, if the craptacular disappointment duo
of Yates/Goldenberg sign on for Half Blood Prince, I hope I am not
alone in wishing them to buy a few extra letter openers for the "angry"
mail they will certainly receive. If another duo appears, my advice is
to stick to the book, even Mel Gibson did that...
To Ms. J.K. Rowling, I sincerely hope you did not have the final decision on the final cut of this film... it utterly destroys the imagery/ plot you so carefully grew and pruned in the minds of innumerable people, young and old.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For those of you looking for a faithful adaptation of Order of the
Phoenix, this film isn't it. How director David Yates got the go to
direct completely baffles me. Not since Chris Columbus' stilted pacing
has a HP film disappointed me. I realize that in a book as rich in
detail as the HP series something is bound to be left out in the film
version, but the direction and editing of this film leave much to be
The film opens in Little Whinging with the dementor attack on Harry and Dudley. Mrs. Figg happens across the boys as if by accident just after Harry defeats the Dementors with his Patronus, but is never "outed" as a squib. The Dursleys were more worried than horrified, and never threatened Harry with expulsion from their house. The sheer vileness that audiences last saw in Prisoner of Azkaban was notable absent, leaving the view to wonder what happened to bring us the weak and whimpering version of the Dursleys that appears in this film.
When Harry is brought to the Order's headquarters, very little is made of the fact that the Noble House of Black was once a bastion of pure-blood fanaticism. Kreature makes a very weak appearance, and the simple existence of Regulus Black (R.A.B.?) was never even touched upon.
Fred and George remain the comic relief, but the ever developing character of Ginny Weasley is ignored. Even more upsetting was the notable absence of Mrs. Weasly's growing concern for her family's safety. I thought that one of the most touching moments in the book was the chapter in which Mrs. Weasly attempts of banish the boggart only to have it continually morph into the horrifying visages of various dead loved ones. Bill and Charlie were also not mentioned, leaving the viewer to wonder if the film franchise plans to reduce the Weasly family from 9 to 7.
As excited as I was with the casting of Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge, I felt that Yate simply did not do her justice. Yes she was vile, but not in the bureaucratic evil way Rowling depicted her in the novel. She simpered, but I just did not get the feeling that she took malicious pleasure that she should have in what she did as the High Inquisitor.
The rumored St. Mungo's scene, while it may have been filmed, was disappointingly absent, with the film jumping from Mr. Weasly's attack in the ministry (although why he was in the Deapartment of Mysteries was never addressed) to Christmas dinner at the HQ and a lame "Here's Daddy!" from Mrs. Weasly.
Even more disappointing was the depiction of the Department of Mysteries. I entered the movie hoping for some wicked effects and bizarre magical elements, and was left with just the Hall of Prophesies and the mysterious doorway. To add insult to injury, the relationship between Sirius and Harry was never developed to the point where Harry would naturally feel devastated by the loss of his godfather. I felt as though their relationship was more vague friend of the family then Harry beginning to look to Sirius as a surrogate father figure.
Over all the continuity of the film felt too rushed and disjointed, as opposed to the more fluid Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of fire. Relationships between the characters felt forced, which I found odd, considering the fact that the cast has been working together for 7 years or so. If any of my personal suspicions and predictions for the future of Harry are accurate, this film has left out numerous key elements. That being the case, then films 6 and 7 will have to scramble to make up for what this film lacks. As Yates is slated to direct the next installment, I can only look to it with a feeling of dread, wondering how he will mangle the Half-Blood Prince.
Once again, I believe that the series is only getting better with each
progressive movie. I attended a preview screening tonight and was
completely blown away by the movie. While quite a bit of detail was
lost in the movie, how can you really expect a three hour movie to
capture what takes Rowling hundreds of pages to explain? This said,
Yates did a great job capturing the spirit of the book, and he had me
on my seat from the first scene all the way through the end of the
movie. I cried, I laughed, and I am pretty sure there were a few times
where I couldn't breathe from the tension.
What really made the movie for me was the talent of the actors. As expected, the older cast members deliver some of the best acting England has to offer. Sidenote: there is something about Emma Thompson where every time she cries in a movie, I start tearing up myself. I was especially impressed with how much Daniel, Emma (Watson), and Rupert have improved their acting since the last movie. Having come from seeing Daniel in Equus two weeks ago, I was expecting a lot from him. Even after seeing him display more intensity than I thought possible on stage, he surprised me in Phoenix. His emotions were so raw and genuine that I literally got goosebumps.
Well done to the cast and crew! I can't wait for the next one!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have read and enjoyed all 7 Harry potter novels, and I watched and
enjoyed the first 2 films, Azkaban and GOF were OK but not good. This
however was awful, and when I say awful I really mean awful. I was
genuinely on the verge of walking out of the theatre after about 30
minutes, the only reason I sat through this was because of my wife.
I will say that Dolores Umbridge and Sirius Black were really good. Harry Potter however was dreadful. Daniel Radcliffe seems to have forgotten how to act on his way through puberty. I mean he was excellent in the first two films so why was this so awful? He spent two hours literally panting and moaning, it was like he had been told to tense every muscle in his whole body and stay like that for every scene.
Then there was Dumbledore and trust me Michael Gambon cannot do Dumbledore. After Trelawny is fired and he tells Umbridge quite calmly that she can stay in the castle he then proceeds to shout at the students, "Don't you all have studying to do?", that was one of my biggest wtf moments.
Percy doesn't speak at all, and Malfoy has literally one line in the whole film. How about explaining that Umbridge was the one who set the Dementors on Harry in the first place, and then they actually changed how the Dementors looked, I mean film 3 got it spot on. Then there was just ridiculous stuff like a Dementor strangling Harry, so he stabs it in the eye with his wand? Then there was Fred and George leaving Hogwarts, the whole reason that they caused a big scene and commotion was so that Harry could use Umbridges fire in her office and find out about Sirius. How about Kreacher lying to Harry? How about revealing that Snape DID go and find out about Sirius and was merely pretending to be ignorant to Umbridge? My biggest disappointment however by far was the end fight scene's between the death eaters and the Order of the Phoenix, in particular Dumbledore and Voldemort. Bellatrix does not kill Sirius with the Avada Kedavra curse, she stuns him into one of those weird curtained doors, and then he disappears. The fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort was basically a giant light show where the cgi people were probably told "Go to town, let your imagination run wild".
How about Dumbledore taunting Voldemort by calling him Tom all the time, and avoiding his killing curses rather than fighting back? How about Dumbledore being shown to be far more powerful than Riddle and choosing for reasons that I can't remember now not to kill him? The other thing about Dumbledore as well is that he appears to dissaparate from Hogwarts which Hermione says repeatedly throughout the books is not possible.
I probably haven't covered everything, but these films definitely went downhill big time after Chamber of Secrets. You leave the cinema feeling like all you saw was lots of clips strung together, and that loads of things were missing, and it all happened in a massive rush, you don't get that sense of satisfaction that you should get after watching a good film. Whether you've read the book or not, I would say avoid at all costs, and if you haven't read the book, then buy the book and read it, it will give you infinitely more pleasure that the torture you have to suffer to watch this film.
Within the first 5 minutes you can tell the series has undergone a
dramatic tone shift and I have to say I think thats appropriate since
Voldemorts return at the end of Goblet of Fire means that it's time to
put aside childish things. The big bad men are here and they don't care
about hurting children. it's time to get nasty.
Gone is the frivolity of the first couple of movies where magic was cool and everything in this new and magical world was just wonderful to behold, a la World of Disney. The new director has taken some risks with style and approach and they've paid off brilliantly. Order of the Phoenix is probably the darkest of the five movies we've had so far, even more so than Azkhaban which was a step in the right direction for where the series would eventually be heading. There's very little "fun" in Phoenix and you can see why. The Dark Lord is back, it's no laughing matter and this movie actually sells that fact.
This (in the movie world at least) is where Harry Potter crosses the line from kids movie to grown ups movie.
Harry now has some serious mental scars (as well as his actual one of course) since the events of the previous movie which while lighter than Azkhaban, followed on well from that movie. The Ministry of Magic is in denial about Voldermorts return and are trying to control the flow of rumour stemming from the events of Goblet. To this end we have new teacher and Ministry stooge Dolores Umbridge. Pink and fluffy on the outside, crunchy and evil on the inside. She makes no qualms about re-ordering the law at Hogwarts putting the kybosh on anything even remotely fun and making the students lives a complete misery. What she put Harry through in detention was simply pure evil.
She wasn't quite how I pictured her from the book but Imelda Staunton played her with a deliciously bitter/sweet twist, all charming and proper in her righteous delusions with that "stab you in the back" thing going on. She was a nasty piece of work.
It is a shame that a lot of the content of the book was missing but it was a big book and although I can't put my finger on what wasn't in the movie (I read it a while ago now) it does sometimes feel that there should have more substance to a few areas, mainly the characterisation of some of the characters. Most of the major bits I remember from the book were in the movie. There's a pace here we haven't seen before, a new musical approach also puts a new twist on things and I think Harry Potters world seems to fit it's new clothes well. I'm eagerly anticipating what's next as I hear David Yates is also directing the Half Blood Prince (last I heard anyway) and since that book has zombies in it I think the new dark style will suit it awesomely thank you very much.
The characters all look much older than they're supposed to be in Phoenix but it also kind of works in it's favour. They all look like they have a bit more history and life experience behind them, they're coping with stuff that will age any kid and it shows. That's also testament to the acting as well. Here mostly all the acting is pretty good, Ron Harry and Hermione all put in good efforts obviously having gotten the hang of the whole acting lark. Gambon is good as Dumbledore but I do miss Richard Harris and keep playing what might have been his versions of Gambons scenes over in my head. When I read the books it's Harris I'm picturing. Helena Bonham Carter gives a kooky insane kind of air to Bellatrix Lestrange (must get that from hubby Tim Burton) who was a pretty good character. One thing about this film though is that the actual Order of the Phoenix isn't in it all that much really. A flaw that wasn't in the book. The line about Snape being in the order, if you missed it you wouldn't even know he was in the order at all and a subsequent scene later on might seem confusing.
Kreacher was well done I though, coming across as a real miserable old bugger which was appropriate. The producers apparently weren't going to put him in the movie at all but JK Rowling said they'd be stuffing themselves up for the final movie if they did that.
All in all I think Phoenix is the best so far of the five movies, followed by Azkhaban, Goblet, then the other two in no particular order.
Now I've just got hold of The Deathly Hallows and although it's quarter past five I'm off to bed so see you later....
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