Saturday, November 19, 2016

Movie Review: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007)

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Movie"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
Director: David Yates
Year: 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes

While the Ministry of Magic does it best to quell any rumors about the return of Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), Hogwarts has problems of its own when the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor starts laying down stricter and stricter rules, barring students from actually practicing any magic.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is the fifth installment in the Harry Potter movie franchise. David Yates takes over the directorial duties from Mike Newell. The screenplay here is written by Michael Goldenberg, and of course, is based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. Much like the previous films, the entire cast has returned to reprise their roles with a couple on new editions, like a bizarre Hogwarts student named Luna Lovegood, played by Evanna Lynch, and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Dolores Umbridge, played perfectly by Imelda Staunton. After the events of "The Goblet of Fire," Harry Potter, again played by Daniel Radcliffe, and Albus Dumbledore, played by Michael Gambon, are the subjects of a media smear campaign orchestrated by the Ministry of Magic. The Ministry is trying to quell rumors that Voldemort has returned and are in full denial mode. The Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, played by Robert Hardy, has been listening to rumors that Dumbledore is planning on building an army to overthrow him. This causes him to send the aforementioned Dolores Umbridge to Hogwarts to lay down the new law. Fudge has decided that a theoretical understanding of magic is enough, and now, the students at Hogwarts will no longer actually practice magic, they will just learn about it in books. Umbridge also lays down a long line of new rules, making life at Hogwarts miserable.

Voldemort and his Death Eaters are the magic equivalent of a neo-nazi terrorist group, one that has government ties and uses the media to manipulate the populous through propaganda. In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," we begin to see some historical parallels as Hogwarts starts to become an authoritarian dictatorship under Umbridge. She uses fear and torture to try and control the populous, which is something we've seen throughout history. Harry, Hermione, again played by Emma Watson, and Ron, again played by Rupert Grint, have to go underground and start an illegal dueling club to give the students the practice they need to protect themselves from the inevitable death eater attack. This is where most of the movie is spent, lurking around in the shadows and trying not to got caught. We also get a deeper look into the growing resentment Draco Malfoy, played by Tom Felton, has for Harry and his friends. Sides begin to form, and it's really the beginning of the end once Umbridge and her brigade run the show.

Though "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" may not be the strongest entry in the Harry Potter franchise, it is still a fantastical film, and that's even before the wizard showdown climax. This is put on as an amazing spectacle that will delight the ocular and auditory senses, leaving you with a feeling of wonder and amazement. Director David Yates does a rather excellent job truncating the very long book into a condensed film, mostly with ease, though there are some lulls here and there. The casting department remains unbeaten in their flawless casting choices, and everything keeps moving towards the ultimate climactic final films.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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