Release Date: July 11th, 2007 at 8 PM by Warner Bros. Pictures.
The Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Imelda Staunton, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Evvana Lynch, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Katie Leung.
Directed by David Yates.
BASIC PREMISE: Harry Potter (Radcliffe) attends another year at Hogworts, where Dolores Umbridge (Staunton), professor of the Dark Arts, prohibits the use of magic while evil Lord Valdemort torments him. Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Clearly the darkest and most convoluted of all five films, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, yet it does have its fair share of exhilarating thrills and lively characters. In the opening scenes, Harry defends himself against the Dementors, which almost gets him expelled from Hogwarts for the underage use of magic. During the brief trial, the Ministry of Magic denies that Lord Valdemort might be returning and appoints a new professor, Dolores Umbridge, to teach as Hogwarts. Dolores seems like a villain in many ways, especially since she picks on Harry when he criticizes her methods and forces him to carve the words “I shall not tell lies” onto the back of his hand. As Lord Valdemort continues to torment Harry’s mind through nightmares, he gathers his friends, Hermoine (Watson) and Ron (Grint), along with his schoolmates to secretly practice magic so that they can defend themselves for an imminent battle. Despite very few action sequences, many scenes feel quite engaging to watch thanks to the superb casting, especially Imelda Staunton as the smarmy professor who loves dressing in hot pink---Staunton is very good at being bad and makes her character unexpectedly delightful to watch. Also, there’s the mysterious character of Luna Goodwood (Lynch), who becomes Harry’s new friend. Even though screenwriter Michael Goldenberg omits some characters and scenes from the 900-page book, the plot still feels convoluted and slightly confusing toward the end of the second act. It would have been helpful to expand on the character of Luna more, though. Goodwood does a great job of mixing some witty dialogue with the drama along with a brief romantic scene between Harry and Cho (Leung). Director David Yates knows how to entertain by including plenty of breathtaking CGI effects and a great musical score, which looks and sounds even more exhilarating up on an IMAX screen where the last twenty minutes are in glorious 3-D.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Darker and slightly convoluted, but still exhilarating, lively and fun to watch.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (IMAX version).
The "H" Menu