Fantasy

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Distributed by: Warner Brothers Studio

Reviewed by: Ismael Manzano

 

     As any of you out there know, I am an avid Harry Potter fan—and no, I’m not thirteen, but then again, neither is Harry Potter.  I’ve followed the books and the movies loyally and I’ve reviewed a couple of them in my time at G-Pop.net.  So it should be no surprise to any of you that I’ve not only seen the latest screen version of the Harry Potter movie—the Order of the Phoenix—but I’ve chosen to review it as well. 

     In the movie version of the Order of the Phoenix, we once again follow the young wizard in training, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), through his adventures in another year at Hogwart’s School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Since the last movie, Harry Potter has been reeling from the death of his friend Cedric (Robert Pattinson) and the revelation that Lord Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes, Red Dragon) has indeed returned for good.  Sequestered in his muggle relatives’ house for the summer, Harry has been plagued with nightmares and slowly going nuts wondering what is going on and why he had not heard from any of his wizard friends—Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint)—all summer.  But an encounter with the dreaded Dementors leads Harry to use his magic in front of his cousin—a violation of wizarding rules for an underage wizard. 

     Harry’s reintroduction to the wizarding world comes the form of Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson, The Village) and his companions sneaking Harry off in the middle of the night to the hideout of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret collection of witches and wizards joined against Voldermort’s Deatheaters.  Among the Order is Harry’s beloved uncle Sirius Black (Gary Oldman, The Fifth Element, Batman Begins), Mr.Weasely (Mark Williams), and even Professor Snape (Allan Rickman, Dogma , Love Actually).  They tell him that the Dark Lord is mobilizing and is up to his old tricks, but there is a major problem—the head of the wizarding world, the Minister of Magic refuses to believe any of it.  In fact, the Minister believes that the entire story of Lord Voldermort’s return was concocted by Professor Dumbeldore (Michael Gambon, The Good Shepherd) in a bid to take his position. 

     Back in school, Harry finds that the Ministry has done an effectively thorough job of creating dissention against him.  Most of the students believe the newspapers’ story that Harry lied about the return of the Dark Lord and is just seeking attention.  Making sure that the interest of the Ministry is upheld and Harry’s ‘lies’ are pushed down, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton, Freedom Writers) is appointed as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor.  Umbrage has some very unique views on how to teach magical defense and has utterly brutal means of enforcing her rules—for which she has several.  It isn’t long before the Ministry’s agenda is literally wallpapering the walls of Hogwarts and Harry is forced to take matters into his own hands.  Banding together with his friends and fellow students, Harry teaches them his own brand of defense for the inevitable showdown with Lord Voldermort. 

       But while fighting against Umbridge’s tyranny, the Ministry’s lies and Voldermort’s insidious plans, can Harry and his friends manage to protect their family and loves ones, while defending themselves and preventing the Dark Lord from obtaining the next item he feels will help to solidify his rise to power? 

       This movie was a giant leap toward maturing the series.  There was less emphasis on the school and more on the politics of their government; less Malfoy and his bullying and more impending doom; less worrying about classes and more pushing their magical limits for the sake of survival; less talk and more action.  This movie also had something that the last one—while still great—did not have, a completely autonomous storyline.  Now of course you would have had to have seen the other movies to have followed it, but you did not have to read the book at all to understand what was happening.  They cut out anything that was not essential to the plot, which was good because the last one had a few things thrown in that only made sense when augmented with the book. 

       The movie had action, fantasy, adventure, mystery, suspense and even a little more love thrown in just for kicks.  It is fun for all, both fans of the book and parents of fans alike.  See the movie as soon as you can; you won’t be disappointed.

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