Sponsored Links

Your Ad Here

Monday, April 27, 2009

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images.
Runtime: 2 hrs 19 mins
Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy
Theatrical Release:Jul 11, 2007 Wide
Box Office: $937,000,866
Reviews :
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the fifth movie in the series, begins, as most of the others have, with a spot of unpleasantness at the Dursleys, and ends with Harry facing down Lord Voldemort. The climactic battle between the young wizard (Daniel Radcliffe) and the Dark Lord (Ralph Fiennes) foreshadows the final, potentially fatal showdown we all suspect is coming in Book Seven, which will be published later this month.
Anticipation of that event may be stealing some thunder from this movie — a rare instance of the book business beating Hollywood at its own hype-producing game — but between now and publication day on July 21, Potter fans can take some satisfaction in a sleek, swift and exciting adaptation of J. K. Rowling’s longest novel to date. Devotees of fine British acting, meanwhile, can savor the addition of Imelda Staunton (an Oscar nominee for “Vera Drake”) to the roster of first-rate thespians moonlighting as Hogwarts faculty.

Curiously enough, “Order of the Phoenix,” clocking in at a little over two and a quarter hours, is the shortest of the “Harry Potter” films. The nearly 900-page source has been elegantly streamlined by Michael Goldenberg, the screenwriter (who replaces Steve Kloves), and David Yates, the director (who follows Chris Columbus, Alfonso CuarĂ³n and Mike Newell in the job). There is no Quidditch, and not many boarding-school diversions. Instead, “Order of the Phoenix,” which begins like a horror movie with a Dementor attack in a suburban underpass, proceeds as a tense and twisty political thriller, with clandestine meetings, bureaucratic skullduggery and intimations of conspiracy hanging in the air.

Mr. Yates, whose previous work has mainly been in television, is best known in Britain for “State of Play,” a brilliant mini- series about power, corruption and deceit. Those are among the themes he explores in this film, which depicts a wizard world riven by factionalism and threatened by chaos and inflexible authoritarianism. While Cornelius Fudge, the minister of magic (Robert Hardy), maintains his highly suspect denial of Voldemort’s return, a coup at Hogwarts threatens the benevolent administration of Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). Harry, meanwhile, has gone from prince to pariah, smeared in the magical press (where his name is rendered “Harry Plotter”) and subject to cold stares and whispers at school. Back in Harry’s early days at Hogwarts, Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), Harry’s foil and reluctant ally, sneered at the boy’s “celebrity.” But in this episode, the boy — if you can still call him that — encounters the darker side of fame.

Some of his schoolmates doubt his account of the death of Cedric Diggory, who was killed by Voldemort at the end of the previous film, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Dumbledore, Harry’s chief patron and protector over the years, seems to be keeping his distance, which leaves Harry feeling abandoned and betrayed. And more acutely, the pressures of being a designated hero — and possibly martyr — have begun to weigh on Harry, to isolate him from friends and to come between him and the possibility of a normal teenage life.

He does, at least, experience a first kiss with Cho Chang (Katie Leung), but that turns out to be a brief and equivocal moment of bliss. Whereas “Goblet of Fire” plunged Harry and his pals into the murky waters of awakening adolescent sexuality (or at least got their toes wet), “Order of the Phoenix” tackles the emotional storms that can buffet young people on their way to adulthood. Mr. Radcliffe, maturing as an actor in perfect time with his character, emphasizes Harry’s anger and self-pity. Mr. Yates frequently places him alone on one side of the frame, with Ron and Hermione (Rupert Grint and Emma Watson), his loyal but increasingly estranged friends, together on the other.

But this is not an Ingmar Bergman film, though perhaps Mr. Bergman can be coaxed into service for the film version of “Deathly Hallows,” the final book of the series. “Order of the Phoenix” has its grim, bleak elements, but it is also, after all, an installment in a mighty multimedia entertainment franchise. And like its predecessors, it manages to succeed as a piece of entertainment without quite fulfilling its potential as a movie. Perhaps by design, the films never quite live up to the books. This one proves to be absorbing but not transporting, a collection of interesting moments rather than a fully integrated dramatic experience. This may just be a consequence of the necessary open-endedness of the narrative, or of an understandable desire not to alienate “Potter” readers by taking too many cinematic chances.

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.

The scariest color in his palette, however, turns out to be pink. That is the color favored by Dolores Umbridge (Ms. Staunton), whose cheery English-auntie demeanor masks a ruthlessly autocratic temperament. She posts proclamations on the Hogwarts walls, subjects violators to painful punishments and substitutes book learning for practical magic. Her purpose is to institute Minister Fudge’s head-in-the-sand policy with respect to the Voldemort threat, and she does a heck of a job.

Ms. Staunton joins an astonishing ensemble of serious actors who, in the best British tradition, refuse to condescend to the material, earning their paychecks and the gratitude of the grown-ups in the audience. Mr. Rickman has turned Snape (whose animus against Harry is partly explained here) into one of the most intriguingly ambiguous characters in modern movies, and it is always a treat to see the likes of Emma Thompson, David Thewlis and Gary Oldman, however briefly.

Even better, the Potter enterprise has become a breeding ground for the next generation of British acting talent. Mr. Radcliffe has already spread his wings (and dropped his pants) on the London stage, and cultural pessimists of my generation can take comfort in knowing that while our parents may have witnessed Malcolm McDowell and Julie Christie in their prime, our children will see Mr. Grint and Ms. Watson in theirs. “Order of the Phoenix” also introduces Evanna Lynch, a pale, wide-eyed 15-year-old nonprofessional from Ireland who, having read the book, decided that no one else could play Luna Lovegood, the weirdest witch at Hogwarts. It seems Ms. Lynch was right. She’s spellbinding.

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Its violence is intense, though not graphic, and some of its images are quite scary.

In the silver-screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling's HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, the fifth chapter in the beloved book series, everyone's favorite wizard-in-training (Daniel Radcliffe)... In the silver-screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling's HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, the fifth chapter in the beloved book series, everyone's favorite wizard-in-training (Daniel Radcliffe) finds himself in increasingly perilous situations. Not only is Harry in trouble with the Ministry of Magic for using his abilities outside of school, his trusted mentor, Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), has grown distant, and an icy new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), has arrived to bring a frightening level of discipline to Hogwarts. And waiting in the shadows is the demonic Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), an ominous figure whose very existence is questioned by the powerful Ministry, leaving Harry and his friends--most notably Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson)--to form a rebel group, Dumbledore's Army. Helmed by little-known British director David Yates and written by Michael Goldenberg (the first scribe to fill the boots of Steve Kloves), THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX continues the darker tone of the two preceding POTTER installments and deftly follows Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they face new foes and impending adulthood. While Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson all continue to imbue their characters with vitality and complexity, Staunton steals the show as the strict, merciless Umbridge, though the story, which lacks some of the special-effects-heavy set pieces of past chapters, happily leaves room for other actors to shine, most notably Alan Rickman (as the ever-enigmatic Severus Snape), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), David Thewlis (Remus Lupin), and Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange). Another fine offering of POTTER movie magic, PHOENIX may not astound quite the way that THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN did, but it easily stands as one of the best films in the series. [Less]

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Imelda Staunton, Helena Bonham-Carter, Robert Pattinson
Director: David Yates
Screenwriter: Michael Goldenberg
Producer: David Barron, David Heyman
Composer: Nicholas Hooper
Studio: Warner Bros.



Fans Movie

Sponsored Links

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP