Film: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix
Director: David Yates
Cast: Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths, Robert Hardy, Gary Oldman, Imelda Staunton
Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix moves forward very little and beyond a point comes to a stand still. This visual treat, is the fifth of the series, and thus is caught in between with nothing much to tell.
Those who have read the book know, it all boils down to battling Lord Voldemort and so the adaptations on screen too are heading in that direction. In his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) returns only to create pandemonium. Harry declares Lord Voldemort’s return, only to realize that all of it is perceived as a lie.
With no one believing him and Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) cutting himself from Harry, he leads his stay at school in solitude. He is once again beset by nightmares that foretell disturbing actions led by the Dark Lord. Meanwhile the Ministry of Magic assigns Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) to take charge of the school in order to tackle the problems. She is all but kind, allowing no one to practice magic in the school premises and enforcing statutes regarding the same.
With no room to practice magic and combat the Dark Lord, Harry assembles a team called ‘Dumbledore’s Army’ and begins teaching them all he knows in complete secrecy. All this swelling leads to a fierce confrontation with Lord Voldermot, with more only to follow in the next film.
This fifth portion of Harry Potter is nothing more than a vehicle aimed at lifting pieces from the earlier films and coming close to introducing you to what will follow. In this process no new ground is discovered. Barring the inclusion of a few characters, that stay a while and then exit, there is not much in terms of a story that has you hooked on.
Realizing it is an adaptation of J.K Rowling’s Book, Yates does just OK in getting all of it across onto the screen. The imagery is crisp and enchanting; but each detail described in the book is not consciously brought out on to the screen.
Also one of the biggest downers is that it this film cannot be viewed as a stand alone film. One needs to have read the previous books or have watched the films to follow this one. There are so many references to the past happenings, which at times gets confusing. The sheer complexity of each character is such that one needs to know where each of them comes from, which only the first two films do.
On a positive note, the film in all that it tells is extremely crunchy and marvelously edited. The grandeur of the sets and effects provided makes it worth a watch any day. The camera movements are simple, but it is this implementation of the simplistic movements to tell the story best, is laudable. The well lit scenes add great amount of intensity to each scene, adding to the darkness the film is about.
The characters over the years and through each of the Potter films have grown not just physically but also with their acting abilities. Radcliffe handles his character well; he manages to hold your attention throughout. Watson and Grint are seen lesser than usual; they are least likeable in this one. Oldman as Sirius Black, delivers brilliantly, he immediately stands out with his performance. The other commendable performance is delivered by Staunton, who in her shades of pink, is extremely convincing. Fiennes, Coltrane, Gambon and Issacs do their usual; they stay true to their characters.
As mentioned, since the book itself explored no new path of Harry Potter’s life, the movie is but the same. Nevertheless the two odd hours it lasts, there is absolutely no questioning.
Storming the ticket windows are going to be excited Harry Potter fans and followers. This one is out to get the cash registers ringing till all of them have seen it.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is an advisable watch and one that ought not to be missed by a true blue fan. Pottermania strikes again!