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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (movie review)

I feel that once you get through The Goblet of Fire, the translation from page to screen begins to suffer… or, perhaps these stories were not meant to be adapted in this way. Whatever the case, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is not nearly as interesting to watch as it was to read. But, I don’t have any intention to compare the novels and movies so instead, I’ll just pay strict attention to what’s on the screen. However, I do want to note that things that bug me about the movie didn’t bug me about the book.

Unlike The Goblet of Fire, there are lots at stake here, even if I don’t love the way it’s being executed in the movie. In this movie, Hogwarts the institution is threatened, Harry and Dumbledore are branded as liars and perhaps even anarchists by their government, Harry’s mental well-being begins to suffer for unknown reasons, and all the while Harry has to worry about Voldemort and that nonsense.

So, yeah – high stakes. But, they’re each annoying in their own way.

The movie quickly becomes about Voldemort and how he wants something, but what, we don’t find out about until later – that’s part of the mystery. Still, once we do find out, it seems silly; why would Voldemort need the physical prophecy? Snape already told him what it said when he heard it fifteen years ago, so what does he need it for? It’s the reason he tried to kill Harry in the first place, right? It seems to me that this entire episode happens for the audience’s benefit – so Harry can discover that which Dumbledore could have just told him I guess what I’m saying is, Sirius’s death is kinda pointless and, in a way, so is the entire movie.

I do love the excellent opening scene at the park and then in the tunnel: it convey’s Harry’s mental state, the state of their world, and that Harry is brave but in danger. You can’t do it much better than that. After that, we have to deal with the “He’s NOT back!” nonsense. Why is Dumbledore, the wisest, most powerful and most respected wizard there is suddenly suspect? We’re told this is because of fear, but the Minister of Magic is an older, experienced man that we’ve met before, and the actions he takes (the smear campaign, the trial, interfering at Hogwarts…) are totally out of character and I don’t buy it for a minute, fear or not. This Cornelius Fudge guy was the one who remarked, “Come now, Harry; we don’t send people to Azkaban for blowing up their aunt!” in The Prisoner of Azkaban just wouldn’t do the things he does in this movie and this swing of character makes the movie suffer. And so, we get High Inquisitor/Professor Umbridge (sheesh, the names in these stories…) and a whole new brand of Potter stinks from his school mates. This is frustrating for me as a member of the audience because I feel like we’ve been over this “everybody hates Harry” ground twice before this movie and each time, the reason is stupider than the last. Speaking of Professor Umbridge, her nonexistent “falling standards at Hogwarts,” are what, exactly? Just an excuse to spy on Dumbledore? Because they’re worried he’s conspiring against Fudge because… I dunno, he wants his job? He’s Dumbledore; if he wanted the job, he’d just run for office and win because he’s Dumbledore, a pimp daddy bad ass that everyone loves and respects. Why would he want to overthrow the government in the first place? At least I think that’s why Fudge is so suspicious of him…

That’s the thing about this movie; most of the story points either feel like a retread of something that happened before, or it just comes out of nowhere and/or makes no sense. Fortunately, we have excellent performances, editing and photography to help keep things moving, and, even if the reasons aren’t great, at least there is a lot at stake.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix isn’t flawless, but it’s better than The Goblet of Fire. I’m giving it a 7 out of 10.

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About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on March 28, 2014, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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