Sunday, July 29, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth tale about the young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and a pretty close sequel to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in which we learn that Lord Voldermort has indeed returned and plans to pick up where he left off…

With the Ministry of Magic and most of his schoolmates choosing to disbelieve both Harry and Professor Dumbledore's warnings that Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes) has returned and is planning to attack at any moment, both are targetted by Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy), the head of the Ministry and who suspects that they're out to build a wizard army and take over for themselves.

Fudge installs Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) as the new Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher but she's obviously there to gather evidence against Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and Harry and to supress any possibility of them raising an army of wizards. But that's exactly what they need to do in order to prepare for the impending attack from Voldermort and his Death Eaters and so they secretly begin recruiting and training by themselves.

All the while Harry is having dreams and visions he can't explain, visions in which he sees himself as Voldermort and he's searching for something, something he needs very badly.

This is much more of a thinking man's storyline this time around. There's little of the fabulous visual effects seen in the previous movies and the plot centres on the political manoeverings by the Ministry, who refuse to believe that the dark lord has returned from the dead. The leader of the authorities sees Dumbledore and Harry as threatening his personal powerbase and so attempts to thwart them at every turn and in so doing, leaves Voldermort free to build his forces.

Harry still has allies in the form of the Order of the Phoenex, a group dedicated to defeating Voldermort and that's where it lost me. Trouble is, almost all of his friends are members and he isn't. Hermione, Ron and all the Weasleys, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson), Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) and Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) are all in this convenient little group so why haven't they surfaced before now? All they appeared to exist for was to give the book a title.

Frankly, I didn't enjoy this movie as much as the earlier ones. maybe it's the translation to film that leaves out too much of the background story but it wasn't as well structured as it could have been. The thing Voldermort was searching for didn't seem important enough to structure the plot around either. If it has been, then surely Dumbledore would have either destroyed it or kept it much better protected.

Anyway, I'm waffling a bit. If you're a fan of the series, then you'll probably have read the book and are wondering what I'm going on about as it's all obvious. It's enjoyable enough, just not as good as the earlier ones.

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Family, Fantasy
My Rating: 7/10

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