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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Order of the Phoenix Review

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released a mere 10 days before the final book (Deathly Hallows). And while it ran the risk of being eclipsed by the shipping of the 12 million hardcovers next week, it did not lose any of it's shine.

This summer, it is once again time for good to encounter evil, for students to rebel against their teachers and for the people to take a stand against their government. XD. In the Order of the Phoenix, Dementors make a surprise attack on Harry and his cousin Dudley in Little Whinging and Harry is bring accused of performing underage magic. The ministry is meddling into Hogwarts affairs and Dolores -Educational Decree- Umbridge is appointed as Hogwarts High Inquisitor. Dumbledore is avoiding Harry, but why? And what is the weapon that Voldemort is trying to acquire? A prophecy? Who lives? Who dies? And who will lose everything...?

This gem of a movie is currently the best summer blockbuster of 2007, and is incomparable to the shallow story that is Transformers. No doubt Transformers has highly enjoyable visuals and actions, but it's story will be put to shame if it is compared with that of the Phoenix. Smoothly coordinated and skillfully directed, Phoenix is executed in a way that draws the viewers deep into its enchantments. It may vary from the book, yet almost nothing is lost. Whether or not you have read the books, or have watched any of the previous movies, this fifth movie is still a joy on its own.

As a potter fan, I was very impressed with the flow of the movie and how Yates (director) manages to pull everything together and weave it into something new, yet not entirely different. Past events and previous characters are brought together with a new cast and they do not disappoint. The character of the much hated Umbridge was brought to life by a very stunning Staunton whose "ahem hem's" have been replaced by very high-pitched chuckles, while Gary Oldman returns as the warm and loving godfather Sirius. On the dark side, Voldemort (Fiennes) and his loyal female death-eater Bellatrix (Carter) certainly did justice to their characters though they had little screen time. They fit their roles so well they might just engulf the younger fans in screams or nightmares.

But what would a Harry Potter movie be without Harry Potter and his friends? While Harry, Ron and Hermione (Radcliffe, Grint, Watson) return to fight evil, this time round, they are joined by the dreamy "Loony" Lovegood (Lynch). Evanna Lynchs' voice and actions perfectly suit the role of Luna. Together with Neville and Ginny, the 5 of them and a bunch of other students form a secret group called Dumbledore's Army where they illegally learn magic on their own away from the prying eyes of the ministry.

At the end of the movie, there is a large scale wizardring battle between the Death Eaters and the members of the Order. Though Sirius' death is a little anti climatic, the rest of the action will undoubtedly keep you at the edge of your seat. Dumbledore's fight against Voldemort is also visually gratifying. To top that, we also get to see Harry possessed, which is like a little scene from The Exorcist.

All in all, Phoenix is the darkest and most satisfying of the lot. My only complain would be that it is too short and therefore lacking in action. Not much time is spent on character development and some scenes might also raise a few questions for people who have not read the books. Clocking in at a mere 138 minutes, I am sure that the final fight could be extended if only it was 30 minutes longer. Fighting action is the only thing it lacks in comparison with Transformers. Overall, a solid film which is among the best of the year. Kudos to Yates for being able to pull this off and I will certainly be looking forward to next year's winter release of The Half-Blood Prince.

Right now, I have to go find something to drown myself in for I can't wait for next week's release of the final book. Movie's are good; Books are better. Enjoy!

Rating : 8/10

PS : I like Tonks (Natalia Tena) in vivid pink! LoL

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