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Thursday, July 7, 2011
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - 2007
After Cedric's death and Voldemort's return, many new frightening problems face Dumbledore and the gang at Hogwart's, including the decision of whether or not to inform the students of his return. The Ministry, however, decides to step in and attempt to take over the school, convincing the students that Voldemort did not return and it is all a lie. This infuriates our three heroes who now learn that if they are to prepare for the great wizard, they must work on their own, recruiting students from the school that will believe them about Voldemort. Harry must now train all of these students, including his two best friends, as signs of Voldemort are getting more clear by the minute.
Chris Columbus was the original director of the series, and I still think with his more traditional directing style that he would have been the best overall choice for the job. But I must admit, with David Yates coming in for his first try at the series, I think he did an excellent job and will carry this final film to be one of the finest. The Order of the Phoenix was his big screen debut, though he is not a director will little experience, having been nominated for an Emmy for his television directing. Yates seems to me to be more of a stylized director, less focused on the book series and more focused on being modern and pleasing the masses with visual effects and big budgets. Yates is a very talented director, so in this particular case I think his style is actually a very good thing, which works very well for the series. And the artistic level of the Order of the Phoenix is at its highest, also something Yates has a knack for.
The acting has now improved greatly, to the point where I can say our three heroes are doing a very solid job with their parts, especially Daniel Radcliffe. He has grown into this role so well, and I personally would say he may even have a future after this series. He is instense, calm, and kind when he needs to be. A job well done by him. Emma Watson is just as charming as ever, and I am really beginning to enjoy her as an actress. Rupert Grint is great, and as always, funny. But also emotionally in touch during the point where friendships are tested most in the series. Michael Gambon also deserves a bit of credit for doing his good job here, after he has grown on me, he fits the role well. I know I criticised him in my last review, but I have changed my mind about him as an actor, and now enjoy his performances.
The script was pretty weak, as the Order of the Phoenix is the only film Kloves did not do the screenwriting for, but like all of the other Harry Potter films the screenplays have one thing in common, the character development is always fantastic. The story was a bit dull and bland, but I can say I found myself becoming more and more attached to the characters as this film went on, and was also dying to get to the next film immediately. The writing wasn't great overall, but it worked.
Overall, the Order of the Phoenix is the slowest yet of the Potter films, and does not stand as a film on its own, but is still a highly enjoyable film for fans of the series already. The acting has improved much, and Yates does a good job with direction, though I think he will grow into that role more as the series continues. If you aren't already a fan of the series, skip it. If you are, go for it!