The International Writers
Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
and co burst back onto the screens in Harry Potter and the Order
of the Phoenix, the fifth installment in the Harry Potter series.
Our hero faces dark times now that Lord Voldemort has returned,
and most people seem reluctant to believe Harry, resulting in him
being much angrier in this film, and more ostracized. Despite being
busy studying for his OWLs (Ordinary Wizarding Levels),
running a secret Defence Against the Dark Arts club and trying to
figure out what You-Know-Who is up to, Harry also finds time for
a spot of romance, as he finally shares a kiss with the object of
his affections, fellow student Cho Chang (Katie Leung).
But the trouble starts for Harry even before term begins; attacked by
some dementors near Privet Drive, his use of the Patronus Charm to save
himself and bullying cousin Dudley results in him being forced to attend
a hearing at the Ministry of Magic in front of the Minister himself. Despite
the Ministry not appearing in that many scenes, the set was fantastic,
and the sight of hundreds of Ministry workers arriving at work by Floo
powder was just one of the many scenes in the film where amazing special
effects are used to create that magical feeling we all love in the films.
Phoenix introduces several new characters, including Dolores Umbridge,
Harrys new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, who is sent by
the Ministry of Magic to start interfering at Hogwarts. Played perfectly
by Imelda Staunton, Umbridge is a deliciously monstrous character in a
fluffy, candy pink wrapper, and detention with her makes detention with
Snape look like a game of Quidditch. (Incidentally, something which there
sadly wasnt time for in the film.)
Evanna Lynch makes her screen debut as the dreamy Luna Lovegood (and does
a good job), and Helena Bonham Carters portrayal of the evil, twisted
Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange is startling close to how I imagined the
character when reading the book.
Despite my love of
anything Harry Potter, I always approach the cinema to see these films
with a certain amount of doubt. After elements of the previous films annoyed
me, with the way that things were changed and cut to alter events as I
know them, my feelings of excitement were mingled with the fear that certain
events would have me shaking my fist angrily at the screen. After all,
the cutting down of Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in the series,
wasnt done as well as Id hoped, with certain scenes making
me physically cringe and that was 631 pages. So whether director
David Yates could improve on the last film (directed by Mike Newell),
I didnt know after all, at 759 pages, Phoenix is the longest
Potter book to date. But I need not have worried. Phoenix was, in my opinion,
far and away the best film yet.
tension mounts as Harry suffers from nightmares and visions of Voldemort,
and must lead his friends on a dangerous mission to the Ministry
of Magic. The action culminates in a high paced and exciting sequence
deep within the bowels of the Ministry, where lives are in danger
and Harry must come face to face once again with the evil wizard
who murdered his parents.
Of course, much had to be cut, but the film still worked perfectly
unlike in previous films, I didnt feel that any scenes were rushed
or poorly explained. The plot moved seamlessly, the action was well paced,
and there was enough humour sprinkled throughout to stop the dark nature
of the film overwhelming the audience with depression.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix really does have it all;
mystery, suspense, excitement, humour and romance combine with some moving
scenes between Harry and his Godfather, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) and
fantastic special effects (the duelling scenes are spectacularly well
choreographed and executed) to create a film that is definitely worth
seeing. If youre a huge fan of the books like me, set your reservations
about mangled adaptations aside and get ready for a fantastic treat. And
if you havent read the books, shame on you but I guarantee
you will still find this film an enjoyable and magical experience.
Ayres July 14th 2007
Gemma is a recent graduate from the University of Portsmouth Creative
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