Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes
Direction: David Yates
Rating: * * *
Seriously, at the rate this series is going from dark to darker, they’ll need Scorsese to wrap up the finalé.
If you are one of the Potteratti, the book had already given you an idea of what was coming, by way The Order Of The Phoenix the movie. For those not sold on Pottermania, here’s a current affairs update: the boyish grin is out, furrowed frown is in. The sunshine years are over, darkness is setting in. Dementors threaten, the Dark Lord edges in his eerie nose into the story with more menace, and Hogwarts has turned into an oppressive medieval institution.
Harry Potter’s life just hit a black patch.
With Phoenix, magic school is no longer about Quidditch fun. There is a war waiting out there, and Harry is rallying his forces. His crossover from cute kid to cool dude is obvious too: Harry vrooms around on his broom in the glittering London night and — wow — tastes his first kiss. Go for it boy, think of the possibilities ahead...
<b1>As a book, The Order Of The Phoenix was dismissed by many as the weakest in the series yet. The film could face similar critique. While fierce loyalists will savour it any way, regular cinegoers could be left hunting for magic. I’d say watch Phoenix in the specific context that author JK Rowling created it — as a link chapter between Harry’s wonder years and the deeper, darker action to follow in the final two editions.
In Phoenix, Harry is wracked by nightmares of Lord Voldemort (or the Dark Lord), but the Ministry of Magic dismisses the idea as Hogwarts principal Dumbledore’s scheme to overthrow Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic. Fudge sends the horrible Dolores Umbridge to ‘fix’ things, and Hogwarts is soon gripped by too many repressive rules. Much of the film is about Harry’s battle with Umbridge, as he defies rules to give his fellow pupils banned magic lessons secretly.
The spectacular FX-ridden climax augurs the sinister shape of things to come. Overall, the film retains the mood of the novel.