movies: harry potter and the order of the phoenix

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

harry potter and the order of the phoenix - the rebellion beginsAs the Harry Potter books get longer and more complicated, they have to cull, trucate and otherwise excise whole chunks of plot and story to make it fit into the two hour plus running time of the movies... which, you know, I expect, but does kind of make Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix seem to go whizzing by at times...

Don't get me wrong, it's a great movie, particularly visually, but it's kind of like seeing the crib notes version... you get the general gist of the story, but a bunch of the finer details get lost, and unless you have read the books you occasionally don't know what the hell is going on.

And I have to say it did feel like that at times... in spots it felt like the story was going at a hundred miles an hour... and then it stopped and dragged a little in between which just seemed twice as odd!

I also got a little confused a couple of times as to whether or not bits of plot that they were skipping over actually appeared in this book or the next one... but I think for the most part I worked it all out eventually.

But like I said, visually it was stunning... from the opening scene with the storm and the Dementors (they had a makeover since the third movie, right?), through the "Army" montage (which were possibly some of my favourite scenes), all the way to the final battle (and how cool did the white vs black "smoke" look!)... the whole thing was beautiful to watch from go to whoa.

Big acting snaps have to go to newcomer Evanna Lynch as Luna "Looney" Lovegood... Luna often bugged me in the book, she was just TOO strange... but somehow Evanna manages to make her sweet at the same time... adorable, yet totally nuts. And Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange had about the right amount of crazy going on too... but then I have a weakness for HBC in pretty much anything.

Like I said about the last movie, it's always good to see all those same actors back in some of the "background" roles (even if some of their characters do take more of a step forward this time around)... and at the same time, some of the others have to take a back seat... and like the last movie it was Snape (for the most part), Malfoy and McGonagall who all seemed to suffer the most. But when you lose a bunch of subplot stuff, that's going to happen, since some of those characters only really get any "screen time" inside those plots.

And I'm still not happy with Michael Gambon's portrayal of Dumbledore... granted he lost some of the "creepy" that marred his performance in the previous film, but I still don't think he was the right choice for the character. Alas, I'm guessing we're pretty much stuck with him through the last two films...

It would have been nice to spend a little more time with some of the new characters, Tonks especially... well, actually, just Tonks really... while she's not quite how I pictured her in the book, she did come out on screen as a very funky character, and I just wish they'd gotten more screen time out of her.

One of the upsides to the movie going at a much faster pace than the book was the fact that I didn't have to put up with the very, very obnoxious Dolores Umbridge character anywhere near as long... although it was almost worse having her as big as life on the screen... after about the first couple of minutes of her appearance I just wanted to reach up and slap the hell out of her (which is what I wanted to do for pretty much the whole book too). Which is just a sign of good acting on the part of Imelda Staunton really. I did read somewhere that they change the pink of her costume as the character gets darker... she starts off in quite light and bright pink, and by the end is wearing a much darker colour... something to watch out for anyway.

I was also happy to see this time around that the special effects folk actually got the Patronus Charm right... visible animals rather than the whimpy white light Harry suffered from...

Actually, the special effects were pretty damn good all around... including them taking footage from all the way back in the first movie and seamlessly intigrating a new character into it... very impressive... actually there were quite a few things that got dusted off and reused this time around, special effect wise... the Dementors (although, as I said, I think they got an upgrade), the House Elf (just the base model though, since it was a whole new character), the "liquid metal" effects of two wands in battle, and the "background detail" in the moving paintings around Hogwarts (which was much improved after last time's rather weak effort)... and that's all just off the top of my head. It just made it all feel like one movie universe. As did the fact that they didn't remake the school YET AGAIN (okay, in truth, they've pretty much had the same school sets for the last three movies, but still).

So all in all, not bad... a little high speed at times, but worth seeing...

And I'll leave you with my favourite line of the movie, which belongs to Emma Watson as Hermione... "Ron, just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon!" Hehehe...

yani's rating: 7 Thestrals out of 10


Tom Tuesday, July 17, 2007 11:42:00 pm  

OK... tell me honestly... I haven't read ANY of the books... I haven't seen ANY of the films... is there ANY point in me seeing this one, or do I need to start at the beginning!

yaniboy Wednesday, July 18, 2007 9:20:00 am  

The short version is "no"... having no background in either books or movies will definitely NOT help you out with understanding this one... especially since a bunch of the plot hinges on both of the previous two books/movies.

As for "where to start"... well, I guess you could always go back to the beginning of the movies and watch them all (actually you could have been doing that anyway, since I think Channel 9 has been screening them all of late in the lead up to this one starting)... but if you're really interested (which I don't know if you really are given what you've said in the past) you could try picking up the first books cheaply somewhere (I actually got the first three I think secondhand when I got sucked into them) and see how you go.

Sunshine Wednesday, July 18, 2007 9:52:00 pm  

I agree with you about Dumbledore - he looked like some creepy paedophile in the movie. I still miss the Dumbledore from the first one.

Tom Wednesday, July 18, 2007 10:52:00 pm  

Advice taken! We're going to the cinema on friday and half the people are seeing HP and half Shrek. I'm in the shrek camp!

yaniboy Wednesday, July 18, 2007 11:16:00 pm  

LOL @ Sunshine... I'd agree with you in the previous movie, in this one he was just m'eh... but then he's supposed to be cold and distant, so that kinda works...

And Tom, prepare to be underwhelmed by the Shrekness... :P

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