Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by David Yates

*Warning. Major Spoilers Ahead*

I was such in awe after watching OoTP that I was so dazed and walking like Luna Lovegood (all dreamy and smiling to myself) when I got out of the theaters.

Sure, if you read the book and you’re one of those people that are “by-the-book” then you can get disappointed somewhat by this film rendition of the 5th installment of the HP series. But if you watch it like you’ve never read the book or watch it and see the important plot details instead of counting what was missing, then you’ll definitely have one helluva fun watching it.

Director David Yates outdid himself on this film. Imagine, having an 800-paged book compressed into a 2 and a half hour movie? That was not peanuts, I tell you. And with him and his crew working on the film and maintaining the whole story without making it look like it was just spliced and then stuck together – means that they were doing well on their job and were not lazy. There were a lot of scenes that were deleted from the movie that are quite unimportant (but I was sorely disappointed when they didn’t show Quidditch and Harry’s redeeming interview with The Quibbler) but the major plot lines were all incorporated so one can easily follow the story and flow of the film from there. Although it was a bit fast-paced and if you haven’t read the book, then you might find yourself asking, “Wait, what happened again?” But still it was easily understandable.

Technical wise – the movie was a huge success in that aspect. Cinematography deserves a 10 star and a big applause. OoTP, of course, was darker and eerier than the 4 previous movies and the whole movie looked like that and maintained that feel. Special effects were also marvelously done. The Thestrals were so real and eerily elegant. The battle at the Department of Mysteries was something that would make your eyes pop, especially the battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort towards the end. The way they were shooting magic at each other can put Gandalf vs. Saruman to shame. Set designs were something to behold too. The Ministry of Magic Lobby, the hallway at the Department of Mysteries, the DA meeting place at the Room of Requirement, Grimmauld Place – the best being was the MoM lobby. It looked so real also especially the floo networks and the golden fountain at the middle. It was sad to see them get blasted during the battle at the end. Editing was done really well despite it being fast-paced. The incorporations of scenes from the previous movies also helped and made the whole story clearer to those who haven’t really read the book yet.

Acting wise – the Golden Trio grew in their abilities and acting skills in this movie. The way they were interacting with each other showed how far along they had already gone. They grew with the series and they grew with their characters. They were saying a lot of things already without even saying anything verbally and that was saying something. Get what I mean? Especially Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). His acting was so raw, so real that I was able to feel his rage, his anger, his need for revenge when his godfather died, his determination in leading his classmates in the D.A., his grief and loss towards the end. I’m also glad that this time around, when you really look closely at his eyes, it was vividly green. 🙂 Although I was a bit disappointed since he doesn’t have messy jet black hair anymore in this film due to the fact that he cut it short.

Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore) was a lot better in this film than in the previous ones. I was able to see a bit of that Dumbledore we all loved when Richard Harris played that part. Although he still wasn’t the twinkly-eyed Dumbledore we all love, he played the enigmatic and dramatic Dumbledore that suited the film, what with all the drama being portrayed in the whole movie. Overall, his performance was still commendable.

Imelda Staunton as Delores Umbridge was magnificent in this film as well. Her delivery of Umbridge was so precise that you would hate her from the moment you laid your eyes on her exactly as how you felt when reading the book. Her “Hem, hem” and fake smiles towards the Hogwarts students were really something and casting her for this role was the perfect idea.

Evanna Lynch portraying Luna Lovegood was also something to behold. She was perfect as Loony Luna. Her dreamy looks and weird demeanor shone like no other. I wouldn’t have any other actress for this role other than her. She was perfect for the part. It would have been really witty and funnier though had she laughed at all of Ron’s antics. 🙂

Some of the other actors though were not given much screen time due to the time constraint. I think most of the actors were not actually given much screen time. Even Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint). It was sad in a way but hey – the story pulled through even with that constraint. I missed Molly Weasley (Julie Walters), Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), Snape (Alan Rickman), McGonagall (Maggie Smith), Ginny (Bonnie Wright) and Draco (Tom Felton). It was good to see a lot of Sirius (Gary Oldman) though and a bit of Remus (David Thewlis). Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) was of course, still very creepy and eerie looking and his deliverance as the most evil wizard at that time was tremendous. Even if these actors were not much seen, they still gave their best performances and contributed well enough to the story.

Newcomers to the series also were marvelous. Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks) was funny back at Grimmauld Place and she was exactly how I thought she would look like, rocker chick with all the rocker accessories, purple hair and really clumsy. George Harris as Kingsley Shacklebolt was exactly how I imagined as well. I was blown away though by Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter). Even if she was only granted a few minutes on-screen, her chilling laugh chilled me to the bone that I got goosebumps all over me when she was taunting Harry at the MoM lobby and when she was blasted out of Azkaban. Her demeanor was so freaky that you wouldn’t really want to be at the end of her torturous wand. I have no qualms at all with the cast. Everybody delivered, everybody did great.

Scenes to really look forward to while watching the film are – the D.A meetings held in secret with Filch always close at their heels, Fred and George Weasley’s departure from Hogwarts (though I believe that could have been done even more extravagant than what was shown in the film), the appearance of Grimmauld Place when they arrived in London, the “rescuing of Sirius” of the Golden Trio together with Luna, Ginny and Neville over at the Department of Mysteries, the battle at the Veil Room (where the death of Sirius happened. By the way, the effects done here were really magnificent especially the way they battled and how you can easily depict who was light and who was dark), the battle of Dumbledore and Voldemort at the MoM lobby and finally, the possession of Harry by Voldemort. That was the most unnerving part for me when you could see Voldemort residing in Harry’s body through his eyes. I was able to feel his anguish as he was writhing in pain on the floor with glass and debris all around him. Daniel’s acting there was totally superb.

Basically, the whole film is something to look forward to – whether or not you’re a Harry Potter fan. Well, most of you reading this probably know or have figured out that I am definitely a die-hard fan of Harry Potter. I could rave and rave more about this one but I could definitely assure you that this review is not biased because of that. I would know a trashy film when I see one. The fourth film didn’t live up to the HP saga, the first two HP films were marvelously done and most say were “by-the-book” and the third film was as good as this 5th installment. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has its flaws but hey – overall, you gotta admit, it was really very good.

Watch it and see for yourself. Enter the magical world of Harry Potter. 🙂

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