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The Entertainment Critic
Home Edition Video Review
By James Myers
HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
DVD 2 Disc Set - Wide Screen / Two-Disc Special Edition
Release Date: December 11, 2007
Source: WARNER HOME VIDEO
Region Code: 1
Director: David Yates
Screenwriter: Michael Goldenberg (screenplay)
J.K. Rowling (novel)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon
Genre: Fantasy Adventure/ Drama
Awards: Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Official Website: http://www.harrypotterorderofthephoenix.com/
Runtime: 138 Mins
Features: Additional scenes; The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter - Explore all the movies in the series for clues to the mystery of Harry's true destiny; Trailing Tonks: Natalia Tena (aka Nymphadora Tonks) leads a very personal film set tour; Harry Potter: The Magic of Editing - Director David Yates and editor Mark Day show what a difference a good edit makes; DVD-ROM enhanced features
Review: 9/10 rating
6th HIGHEST GROSSING FILM OF ALL TIME, GROSSING $938,464,961 IN THE YEAR 2007
As Harry grows up before our eyes on film, a little bit of the innocence is lost and is replaced by more adult themes, and scarier villains. Nonetheless, this video, the 5th of 7, left me wanting to see more Harry Potter, and more of his adventures. The film begins with Harry Potter and his cousin Dudley mysteriously attacked by two Dementors. In turn Harry is forced to cast the Patronus charm to repel the Dementors, but when the Ministry of Magic detects what he has done (the underage practice of wizardry) he is expelled from Hogwarts. He begins to have horrible nightmares depicting Lord Voldemort's return. Harry is awoken and taken to headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret organization founded by Dumbledore. Members of the Order, including Harry's Godfather Sirius Black, reveal that under the Ministry's influence, The Daily Prophet has launched a smear campaign against anyone who claims the Dark Lord has returned, leaving Harry feeling alone and isolated from the other wizards.
Dumbledore helps to clear Harry's name is cleared of all charges, and he is allowed to return to Hogwarts. Upon entering his fifth year of school, Harry learns that the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge has appointed a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher: Dolores Umbridge, a Senior Ministry official who refuses to teach practical magic to her students, out of fear that Dumbledore will organize his own personal wizard army. As her grip on the school increases, Ron and Hermione aid Harry in forming a secret defense group, calling themselves "Dumbledore's Army".
During the year, Harry envisions mysterious scenes in his sleep, including a dangerous attack upon Arthur Weasley in the Department of Mysteries. Fearing there may be a connection between Voldemort and Harry's mind, Professor Snape immediately initiates Occlumency lessons to close his mind from the Dark Lord's influence.
Promoted to High Inquisitor, Umbridge, Filch and her loyal Inquisitorial Squad, including Draco Malfoy uncover Dumbledore's Army after interrogating one of the students, Cho Chang with whom Harry had developed intense feelings for. Dumbledore is questioned and makes an impressive escape as Fudge orders for his arrest. With Dumbledore gone, Umbridge becomes the new Headmistress whose sinister domin
In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," Harry returns for his fifth year of study at Hogwarts and discovers that much of the wizarding community is in denial about the teenager's recent encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort, preferring to turn a blind eye to the news that Voldemort has returned. Fearing that Hogwarts' venerable Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, is lying about Voldemort's return in order to undermine his power and take his job, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, appoints a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to keep watch over Dumbledore and the Hogwarts students. But Professor Dolores Umbridge's Ministry-approved course of defensive magic leaves the young wizards woefully unprepared to defend themselves against the dark forces threatening them and the entire wizarding community, so at the prompting of his friends Hermione and Ron, Harry takes matters into his own hands. Meeting secretly with a small group of students who name themselves "Dumbledore's Army," Harry teaches them how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts, preparing the courageous young wizards for the extraordinary battle that lies ahead.
Those magical kids return with their obligatory authority figure adults in tow. Only they're not so little anymore and as the last movie proved, they're all well on their way to no longer being kids. Whatever plot lines director David Yates chooses to chase, it's essential that he makes following their slow bloom into adulthood a priority while at the same time avoiding the discussion of things like oh, say, condoms.
I'm not a huge fan of the last movie, but that's one thing that Goblet of Fire's director Mike Newell got right. The awkwardness of puberty, their newfound interest in the opposite sex. Watching these kids grow up on screen is what's most interesting about the Harry Potter series to anyone over the age of twelve, not their bag of magical tricks.
The seriesï new director, as mentioned above, is David Yates. With each new director comes a new, distinctive style. Thatï's a plus really, it gives every movie its own unique energy. But this is the first truly high profile film Yates has ever touched, and itï's certainly his first big-budget blockbuster. Since Columbus, that seems to be the route Warner Brothers is going with their Harry Potter directors. Both of the last two helmers had similar, low-budget resumes and itï¿½s worked well so far. The real difference in Yates is that he's the Potter franchise's first British director. Odd when you consider there's not an American in sight when you check out the cast.
Expect more of the same from the fifth Harry Potter. Only Cuaron's movie, the third one, has distinguished itself from the pack as anything special. The rest have been entertaining but ultimately mediocre, and the sad thing is that Harry's hardcore fans seem to prefer that. Mediocre I suppose, is better than bad. The films have maintained a consistent level of quality, and thats more than most other long-running movie franchises can claim.
A MUST BUY
This is one of the very few times that I felt that the movie was better than the book. Order of the Phoenix was the only book I did not rate Excellent, but I feel this movie rates it.
Unlike the book, which I feel was Rowling's one and only drop into "middle book funk", this movie can stand on its own.
The Ministry of Magic, in an attempt to keep Harry Potter quiet, assign Delores Umbridge to the school. Although Umbridge is never specifically mentioned as being a Death Eater, loves to leave people in perpetual misery. Later in the series, she is an inquisitor working for the Ministry under Voldermort's command.
Much of the pain and anguish she passes out like candy in the book is thankfully left out of the movies. She still her magic quill that, when used, uses the writer's blood for ink. This has the side affect of etching the words in the skin of the writer as well. She also posts an almost infinite number of decrees to dominate the school. Whereas the book went into endless detail of these and other tortures, the movie was able to successfully convey the full depth of her psychosis without boring the reader to death in the process.
This also kept the movie from being quite as dark as the book. The characters in the movie are clearly on the defensive, but they never give up. The climatic battle at the end feels more like a costly draw than a pointless loss of one of Harry's closest friends.
The actors and actresses continue to perform magnificently. I simply can not imagine anyone else playing the parts of Harry, Hermione, the Weasleys, Snape or McGonagall. Imelda Stauton was perfect as Delores Umbridge, as was Evanna Lynch as the quirky Luna Lovegood. Gary Oldman, who I thought was over the top in Prisoner of Azkaban, did wonderfully here as Sirius Black. I feel Michael Gambon does well as Albus Dumbledore. And there is over a score of secondary characters of which this movie would not work if they were not top notch themselves.
The script writers did well in condensing the much too long book into a few simple effects. A single shot of hundreds of framed decrees hanging on the wall outside the Great Hall, limiting the Umbridge torture scenes, combining the Weasly rebellion with the O.W.L. tests expertly wrapped up entire chapters into single scenes. I also appreciates using Daniel Radcliff's talents as a actor to demonstrate his angst as opposed to the self-destructive patterns Harry has in the book.
A few things could have been better. Harry's hair is neatly combed, something that never happens in the books. Also, the waith-like forms the Death Eaters take in the big fight at the end I felt was over the top. The special effects otherwise great, but they should have left well enough alone.
John Holland-author of The Necklace of Terrersylvanous
I have discussed this movie with several relatives and friends and as always found everyone to have their own opinion about everything to do with this movie and ultimately the entire Harry Potter series. I have heard "they didn't follow the book" or "they didn't include everything" or my favorite comment "the sequence of events wasn't logical." Given all consideration I have to say that I truly enjoyed the latest DVD realease of Harry Potter.
Most book to film movies do stray from the original text due to director interpretation or producer desires or as a decision of some abstract focus group and how they would have written the book. Untrue of the Potter movies. Each movie, while making some small divurgance from the original book has been able to adapt hours and hours of reading and detail into a short version without losing the intent of the author or the interest of the fans.
Phoenix was probably the most adapted in that is was able to capture the characters inner struggles and show them in a physical way. Much of Harry's inner struggles in the book would be impossible to relate on the screen yet Phoenix was able to show the coming of age with all three of the principle characters. Harry's inner turmoil presented itself with bursts of anger and an almost alienation of his friends. All three characters move from kids on an adventure and into young adulthood with decisions of defying authority for the better good.
The casting remained incredible for Phoenix. Helena Bonham Carter is Puuuurfect as LeStrange. With few lines her intricate body language portrayed lunatic without end. As always the New Defense against the Dark Arts Teacher is destined to a short career but I don't think the book or movie storyline could have lived without this one. Delores Umbridge was artfully portrayed by Imelda Staunton. I don't think I will be able to ever enter a schoolroom and not look over my shoulder wondering if I would hear "Hm Hm" or "He He He." The portrayal not only captured Rowlings written character but I think improved it!
The standard cast of this movie again performed brilliantly to the book characters. Overall I have to say that even with a few cuts of storyline and some small changes of timeline the movie has lived up to the book.
Whereas many sequals begin to fade to the first, these movies have held an almost George Lucas ability to improve with each attempt. Realizing that the movies are being challenged by the author to improve we have all seen others do the same and keep sliding down the path of the dark side.
Cheers to the Director, Cast and Crew of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!"
I, personally, love the Harry Potter Movies even though I am middle aged. They are exciting and entertaining, and this last one, The Order Of The Phoenix, was the darkest of them all. Sometimes I wonder if they arent a bit too macabre for younger children, but none the less the films have great effects and acting. The characters and stories capture your fantasitical side, no matter what age you might be. I purchased this film because I have the others and wanted to keep the collection complete. Each one has made me look forward to the next, as they are well above the excitement I had growing up watching the Wizard Of Oz. I borrowed the first in the series from my friends children and instantly enjoyed it and desired to the see the next, and wait for the next. These are must see films for any that likes fun and adventure, and a few chills along the way. Though each one has gotten a bit darker as the characters age, they are still fun. It was sad when Richard Harris passed and needed to be replaced as Dumbledore because he really fit the character, though Michael Gambon does a good job potraying the headmaster of Hogearts.
Though these films can seem a bit scary for the younger crowds I have found them to be a lot of fun and feel they really help to bring out that inner child, no matter how old one might be! These films are not just for the little kids as many might think, especially this one. I have enjoyed playing them for guests my age and watch as they discover the same thing. Almost makes you feel cheated these weren't around when we were young enough not to looked at as silly for liking them at our age now. Regardless, for any that has not ever taken the time to watch Harry Potter films, do yourself a favor and indulge in a little curiosity and see if you, too, aren't entertained. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are wonderful main characters. The supporting wizards and witches each have their own distinct qualities that help the children learn their way. The remaining cast of characters complete the films. Be ready for a surprise at every turn if you have never seen them. I own the films because sometimes it helps to watch them again and again, as I had to with The Order Of The Phoenix to truly appreciate it. Do yourself a favor, if you havent seen them, and borrow them as I did and see if they don't help remind you of how much fun it can be to be young!!