MOVIE: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Hey, I finally saw a movie in the theater! Hooray for me! I almost never do this anymore, because I have suuuuuch a low tolerance for rude people these days and they’re always so much harder to ignore in settings like movie theaters. But my Mom was coming to town and she wanted to see it too so we went together, which was really incredibly super fun. Hooray for Mom, who is my best movie-watching buddy EVER!


Okay, so, all hooray-ing aside, I do have to confess both I and my Mom agreed that this one was our least favorite Harry Potter movie so far. Don’t get me wrong here — IT WAS A BLAST, AS ALWAYS. We still had a terrific time watching it and there’s simply no such thing as a bad Harry Potter movie, as far as I’m concerned. We especially loved Imelda Staunton as Professor Umbridge — she not only looked perfect for the role, but she was absolutely hilariously eeeeevil to boot (those kitty plates in her office were cracking us up constantly). Totally awesome.

That said, the movie itself was a bit of a disappointment — just a bit! For one thing, I really felt the director picked several wrong things to include in the film at the expense of several right things that either didn’t make it in at all or were barely mentioned. Some of the most important elements of the entire novel felt glossed over, yet several scenes in the middle just kind of slogged by. Sirius’s death scene in particular happened way too quickly and with so little sense of poignancy that it just felt almost casual, which was all, all, ALL wrong.

And I also felt like too much room was made for Luna Lovegood (an important character, I agree, but maybe not THIS important), when instead, I thought there needed to be more than just a few seconds of Snape’s backstory during the occlumency scenes. Snape’s history with Harry’s parents was not only my favorite part of the book version (because it finally made Snape into a truly complicated character instead of just your standard villain), but it’s also, in my opinion, absolutely vital to where his character ends up two books later.

I read an interview with director David Yates a few months ago in which he said he wanted to make this the shortest Harry Potter movie so far. A noble goal, I suppose, and of course, I think we all recognize that not EVERYTHING can make it into the films. But in my opinion, it would’ve a stronger movie, especially as a stand-alone for people who aren’t reading the books as well, if David had tacked on an extra ten minutes. Instead, I felt the middle was a bit sluggish, the ending was sappy and felt wrongly tidy to me, and lots and lots of truly emotional and intense stuff was kind of breezed past. This movie should’ve felt more like a turning point for Harry, as the weight on his shoulders really begins to intensify and with it his feelings of isolation and anxiety. It should’ve felt heavier than the other movies, more serious, more ominous. And I just didn’t leave the movie feeling that weight. Which is fine, I suppose — I mean, I love the whimsical elements of Harry Potter too. But I wanted more from this movie than I actually got. I got a lot — but I didn’t quite get as much as I’d hoped to.

Nevertheless, it was still one of the best Saturday afternoons of my entire summer. Thanks, Mom.

Genre: Fantasy

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Imelda Staunton, Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes (sans nose).


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