Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Last night, my family and I went out to see the new Harry Potter movie. I knew from past experiences not to go as a fan of the book but as a fan of the movies. I recommend trying to separate the two. You should know by now that the running time of these movies will be around 2 hours, give or a take a bit. That means they can’t include every tiny detail from the book. You should know from the fourth movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, that there are some side-stories they have to cut. Look at it this way: If it were a video game, you wouldn’t be going off on the side-quests or playing the mini-games. You just have to stick to the core story.
The OotP (I’m going to break down and use abbreviations here…it’ll just save so much time) was a very good movie. My own personal opinion is that this movie was better that the fourth. In fact, I tend to cling to the belief that each movie builds on the one that came before it. They just keep improving.
However, I AM a fan of the books and you may find, like me, that there’s always a nagging feeling in the back of your mind while watching the movie. You’re thinking: “That scene happened before they even got to school!” or “Pfft, the statues didn’t even come to life like they were supposed to…” or “What happened to the boggy swamp that Fred and George created that couldn’t be cleaned up?” You learn to quiet those thoughts and just watch the movie.
I believe that along with the special effects, even the acting is still improving. These children are continually learning more and more about their craft and projecting that onto the screen. It’s remarkable to watch the transformations from the first film straight up to the OotP. It’s one thing to watch a movie and all the sequels and quite another to watch the characters ACTUALLY growing up and changing with each film.
There were, indeed, a few things that were out of order but they were nicely refitted into the storyline to keep things flowing smoothly. My main concern with the film was the pacing. It’s true they have a lot of material to fit into two hours but things seemed to happen so quickly. At the time, it didn’t really stand out too much, but the closer you get to certain events, you realize all the timeline you’ve just raced through.
I would have liked to have seen more to do with Fred and George’s rebellion. I would have liked to have seen the cleaning out of Grimmauld Place, which appeared nothing the way I envisioned it. It was the first thing in the movie world that didn’t come close to my imagination’s view of it. Kreacher might as well have not existed in the movie, his role was so minor. Along with Bellatrix Lestrange…she got to cackle and scream and howl a couple of times but that’s about all she was good for. And Luna Lovegood didn’t even play as large a part as I would have liked, what with the entire “Quibbler” side-story cut out and all.
But I have to say that Umbridge was perfectly detestable. I hated the character almost as much as I hated her in the book. Her perfect way of smiling through everything just made me want to reach out and slap her. I wish we could have seen much more interaction between Umbridge and McGonagle…because Maggie Smith is just the shit.
While Harry’s little angst-ridden self was a bit pathetic in the beginning, (I just wanted him to get it out, scream already, and stop being so self-pitying), I felt that the finishing scene in the Ministry of Magic was very well done. Although so much felt robbed from that final battle…so much detail and suspense and action. So much gone.
But if I was to appraise the movie outside of being a book-fan, then I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The characters are developing so well on-screen and the school seems to grow with each film, revealing more and more detail.
I think though, until I’ve gone back and watched the movie a second time, that I can only rate it a 4 out of 5. There was much to be desired in terms of pacing, in my opinion. They cut so much and yet still had to rush through everything they did include. It felt like the only thing they didn’t rush AS much were the DA meetings.
I am very excited about the new and final book and for the next movie, as well. I definitely recommend you see the OotP in the theatre, but try to enjoy it for what it is as a film and not what it is lacking as a book-adaptation.