Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
May 22, 2016 11:48 PM - Subscribe

With their warning about Lord Voldemort's return scoffed at, Harry and Dumbledore are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts. Series and book spoilers.


These things said, there is no denying that "Order of the Phoenix" is a well-crafted entry in the "Potter" series. The British have a way of keeping up production values in a series, even when the stories occasionally stumble. There have been lesser James Bond movies, but never a badly made one. And the necessary use of CGI here is justifiable, because what does magic create, anyway, other than real-life CGI without the computers?

As for the cast, the "Potter" series has turned into a work-release program for great British actors mired in respectable roles. - Roger Ebert

Although “Order of the Phoenix” is not a great movie, it is a pretty good one, in part because it does not strain to overwhelm the audience with noise and sensation. There are some wonderful special-effects-aided set pieces — notably an early broomstick flight over London — and some that are less so. People waving wands at one another, even accompanied by bright lights and scary sounds, does not quite sate this moviegoer’s appetite for action. But the production design (by Stuart Craig) and the cinematography (by Slawomir Idziak) are frequently astonishing in their aptness and sophistication. The interiors of the Ministry of Magic offer a witty, nightmarish vision of wizardly bureaucracy, while Harry’s angst and loneliness register in Mr. Idziak’s cold, washed-out shades of blue. - NYT
A Few Thoughts
-Visually this movie was very appealing. I don't know if it was better CGI or the designs themselves but the mood of the movie fit.
-Imelda Staunton was fantastic in her role as Umbridge as was Evanna Lynch as Luna. It was all around well cast.
-The flow of the movie felt rather choppy, but that's what happens when a million page book is made into a summer blockbuster. I wish that after PoA they would have decided the only people going to the films had seen the previous ones and/or read the books.
-I did quite enjoy the Dumbledore's Army sequences and Neville learning self confidence. I kind of really wanted to see them meet his parents at the hospital (with the Lockhart cameo) but by movie 5 I stopped expecting all my favorite scenes to make it through. The whole dudes versus chicks aspect of DA was humorous and age appropriate (and loved Hermione outperforming Ron). I was very glad they kept Ginny's boss skills.
-The dementor scene was kind of random. Why was the playground in the middle of a field next to zero houses? Was it equally inconvenient for all and therefore considered fair? Daniel Radcliffe and Harry Melling let me down through their scene together. It was all so dispassionate. (I was also sad we didn't get to have Harry explain about Lord Thingy and his Dememtoids - missed opportunity)
-I loved everything we got with the Order and Sirius... Except. They really fucked up Harry and Sirius' relationship. The combo of Harry/Sirius getting minimal screen time in the last two movies and SIRIUS CALLING HARRY JAMES RIGHT BEFORE HE DIED just made it seem more eh than close father-like relationship.
-Occlumency lessons were interesting in the movies (but leaving out the bit where Sirius threatened Snape and Harry used the floo to recap Snape's memory was another miss for me)
-Dueling kind of went weird from here on out. I mean, there was the magic light wand show in GoF but that was special/unique magic. Starting in this movie every duel looks like a riff of a lightsaber fight. Also apparition turned into color coded flight (dark for Death Eaters and light for the Order).
-I really enjoyed the Dumbledore/Voldemort duel
I'm pretty sure I've forgotten stuff but that should be enough to launch the discussion.
posted by toomanycurls (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's been so long since I watched this that I can't remember if they are deleted scenes or not but the scenes where Umbridge is conducting her inspections of the other faculty are wonderful. Alan Rickman's sibilant "obviously" gives me life.

This is a weird connection but it always reminds of a scene from Terry Pratchett's book Going Postal where Vetinari is confronting the main antagonist and a secondary antagonist is being stupid and there's a moment where they both are like: "While I loathe you and every aspect of your personal philosophy to a depth unplummable by any line, I'll credit you at least with not being [that guy]." I think there's that same vibe between the Order members and Voldemort's followers; it's why Umbridge is such a great character to hate. Voldemort's motives are simple: he wants power and immortality and doesn't really give a shit about anyone else. Umbridge wants your dignity and your soul.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:35 AM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

This movie does a great disservice to the ending of the story by removing Harry's talk with Dumbledore at the end. Harry's tantrum and the way Dumbledore talks to him and explains all the ways he screwed up is so important and so cathartic, whereas the movie just kind of ends. Not satisfying at all. On the other hand, the Weasley twins grand exit from Hogwarts is excellent.
posted by wabbittwax at 2:05 PM on May 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have seen the film a few times, but only recently read the book for the first time. Umbridge and Voldemort are equally despicable to my mind, but their aims are subtle different.

Umbridge would be quite happy for all non 'pureblood'wizards to be enslaved. She genuinly feels that all mixedbloods and non magical creatures are somehow dirty, objectively lesser.

Voldemort wants all none purebloods Dead. Eradicated. magical creatures seem fine to him, as long as they are enslaved.

The polite veneer of Umbridge is harder to fight, because itcomes from an officious place that graaaaaduallly makes anything outside of its remit illegal.

There was a lot of ... Character flavour missing from the film imho. The magic hospital scenes would have been a good addition, but I am not sure how they could have been done without a: ballooning the budget and c: messing up the (already patchy) pacing of the movie.

I thought the film Luna was a better rendition of charcater than the book version, but I might be bias because I saw the films first.

I do agree that a lot of the Harry/Sirrius dynamic was more indepth in the book, but it was a large book and I am glad it was only adapted into a single film.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:45 PM on May 24, 2016

Faintdreams - JK Rowling said in an interview (wikipedia links it but it's a dead link) that Evanna Lynch was such a good Luna she actually modeled the character on Lynch in the later books.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:06 PM on May 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

Great film. I was lucky to see behind the scenes on this one. A friend was working as a bodyguard for one of the main stars and was able to get me on set. Quite a bit of the film ended up on the cutting room floor by all accounts. My friend doing the security said that many of the scenes that they saw being filmed never made it into the film.
posted by mokaroux at 6:33 AM on May 25, 2016

I should add that I hope JK Rowling revisits Harry Potter at some point within the next ten years, i think that there is plenty of fans that can see more of a future in maybe another three films...
posted by mokaroux at 6:35 AM on May 25, 2016

I should add that I hope JK Rowling revisits Harry Potter

The Master of Death needs to remain retired so that, being undefeated, the Elder Wand dies with him. However, I'd certainly be interested in the continuing adventures of Hermione Granger.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:56 PM on May 26, 2016

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