On June 21st, TheSnitch staff member Stefan was able to watch the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
film at the Warner Bros. screening room in London, while on July 5th, TheSnitch staff member Raadhika was also able to watch the film, however this time at the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California. Below is a NON-SPOILER FREE
review of the film from their point of view.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
is the fifth film adaptation by Warner Bros. Pictures based on J.K. Rowling’s novel and is helmed by newcomer director, David Yates. David Heyman and David Barron once again produce the film, while another newcomer to the Harry Potter
films is screenwriter, Michael Goldenberg. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
is rated PG-13 in the United States of America and 12A in the United Kingdom and has a world-wide release beginning from July 11.
The film starts out with a very different feel than its predecessors in cinematography, music and acting. It is a much more grown up film and right away you get the sense that it is darker and grittier than the first four films. Right away you are pulled into Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Daniel Radcliffe's acting in this installment is the best it's been, and it is very touching to see moments where Harry misses his family. Director David Yates is superb at bringing to life in the films the emotional elements that are in the books, and also joining together the magical and muggle worlds when the Dementors come to Little Whinging. David Yates captures exactly how very bizarre it would be to see magical creatures such as Dementors turn up in a muggle town. You really do feel as though you are there with Harry in a harsh and uninviting muggle world with Dudley and are then strongly and strangely reminded of the existence of the magical world, but in a negative way, when you are suddenly struck with even more darkness when the Dementors come...
The film really does feel darker and dangerous, there is a really good creepiness factor! And every scene is seemlessly woven throughout the film!
Mrs. Figg, acted wonderfully by Kathryn Hunter, is very cute. Tonks, brought to life by Natalia Tena, is also very cute and charming so you won't be disappointed by either of those performances, nor by George Harris' portrayal of Kingsley Shacklebolt!
The foreshadowing of Sirius's death is very touching and sad when Sirius tells Harry at Grimmauld Place that once everything with Voldemort is over that they can be a proper family. Kreacher is perfectly spooky. The hug between Harry and Hermione is just like it is in the book, and Fred, George and Crookshanks are incredibly funny with the Extendable Ears!
Moving on from the warmth and familiar faces at Grimmauld Place, David Yates then allows you to plunge into the unknown through Harry’s hearing at the Ministry of Magic. Accompanied by Arthur Weasley (Mark William) Harry is escorted to the Ministry, again through the way described in J.K Rowling’s novel – the ordinary telephone box. The Ministry is such a grand set and is reminiscent of many of the Victorian buildings in London, due to the richness in colour, texture and decoration of all the furniture, statues and even the fireplaces used for wizard transportation. Set director, Stuart Craig has certainly captured the parallel between the muggle and wizarding world, through addressing the hustle and bustle of the daily-goings on of wizards at the Ministry merely a couple of feet underground from muggles; this certainly helps to enhance the tone for the next novel where the division between both worlds merges even closer together.
Through using dark emerald green tiles throughout the entire Ministry, Craig has created a dark and dreary atmosphere, while the addition of a Fudge poster certainly helps to enhance the dictatorship view that the Minister is in charge and that the fate of Harry is certainly not going to be a positive one. Through all of this tension that you experience even before the hearing takes places, the statues in the atrium will certainly leave you awe-struck and will undoubtedly divert your attention away from the hearing for a short period of time, since they contrast greatly with the emerald green and brighten up the set through being entirely golden, leaving you with a small ray of hope that everything for Harry is going to be alright.
The tension felt in the hearing scene is certainly breath taking, due to the immense number of wizards that are present, while the fact that the set is reminiscent of the Roman coliseum adds to the fact that Harry is far inferior – due to residing at the lowest level – and how his fate hangs in the balance of those above him. Through the trial scene the character of Professor Umbridge is first witnessed and Imelda Staunton’s acting is superb, especially the well-known mannerism “hem, hem,” which occurs so naturally that it seems perfectly natural and eerie once she begins to question Dumbledore’s authority.
The fact Harry is not sentenced to expulsion at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry certainly provides you insight into the world of Fudge and how he certainly does not have entire control, since many of his colleagues in fact defied him by voting for Harry to be cleared of all charges. David Yates has certainly placed the seeds of the anger you experience in J.K. Rowling’s novel of Harry in this scene, due to the fact that Dumbledore does not even acknowledge Harry, which provides a blow to Harry and to an extent again makes him feel isolated from the magical world, just as he was in the Summer at the Dursleys.
Moving on to the Hogwarts Express, the relationship between Sirius and Harry is certainly emphasized, due to the fact that Sirius accompanies Harry to the station and has been constructed to give background information of the first Dumbledore’s Army through the medium of a moving photograph and this certainly conveys an emotional bond that the two share, since Harry’s parents are brought into the conversation. In saying this, one must consider that this scene deters away from the novel, due to the fact that there is no mention of Hermione and Ron’s prefect duties onboard the Hogwart’s Express, while there is also no mention of the character Luna Lovegood nor Neville and his Mimbulus Mimbletonia, which J.K. Rowling introduces to the reader for this year in this chapter.
The trio get off the Hogwarts Express and are joined by Neville with his Mimbulus Mimbletonia, and the coming romance between Harry and Cho is foreshadowed when we see Cho look back at Harry as her carriage leaves towards Hogwarts. And then we meet Luna Lovegood, who is played brilliantly by Evanna Lynch right down to the soft, otherworldly voice!
The fight that Harry has with Seamus is perfect and it's great to see Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley as a cool, strong character when he stands up for Harry. Ron also does not sulk away when Harry snaps at him a bit later.
Professor Trelawney is pitifully sweet which makes you feel appropriately sad for her whenever she is harrassed by Umbridge. And speaking of Umbridge, Imelda Staunton does a wonderful job of portraying the character, making Umbridge feel loathsome and falsely friendly, and even a bit insane when she smiles at Harry as though nothing is wrong when he is serving his detention with her and the back of his hand is bleeding. It is very creepy...
Umbridge's little laughs are spot on with the way they are written in the book and are the right mix of funny, awful and annoying! Her tea is pink, too!
The music playing in the background in the Gryffindor common room is a fun addition. Fred and George's Skiving Snackboxes are loads of fun! The Ron and Hermione foreshadowing when Ron is eating like a pig is very funny and sweet! Luna comes off as a wise girl when she and Harry are alone together in the woods and see the Thestrals. This is a very sweet and sincere moment of understanding that the two characters share.
It is very cool to see Professor Dumbledore burst through the doors at Hogwarts and come to Professor Trelawney's aid when she is being thrown out of Hogwarts by Umbridge. It is strange to think that he will die in the next installment because he comes off as very powerful and strong in this moment.
Dumbledore’s strength certainly echoes the transition of student to leader that Harry transgresses to through the plot all to do with the formation of Dumbledore’s Army. David Yates has undoubtedly created the scene at the Hog’s Head to highlight this fact and to also provide inspiration that a force of “good” can overcome the “evil” of Umbridge, since the events of the past four movies are spoken about, conveying how Harry has triumphed and will continue to do so.
The finding of the Room of Requirement in the movie has been constructed differently to how J.K. Rowling does so in her novel, since while Dobby is the one who tells Harry about it in the novel, in the movie it is Neville who finds the room by coincidence. Disregarding this, the actual set for the Room of Requirement is spectacular, due to the fact that it is completely surrounded in mirrors; from this one must consider that Stuart Craig did this to illustrate how the members of the DA grow and reflect upon what they do through their surroundings; this certainly can be seen as the case when Harry states that Hogwarts wants them to fight back.
Even though you may feel that the kiss scene will be a romantic aspect to the movie, this is certainly not the case, due to the fact that David Yates has ensured that a picture of Cedric Diggory can be seen in the background, which conveys how Cho Chang possibly still has not bereaved over her ex-boyfriend and ultimately places you in an awkward situation to watch. In saying this, the balance of uneasiness is counteracted through the beauty of nature, since mistletoe grows from the ceiling onto the two Hogwart’s students; the CGI for this is stunning.
Furthermore, David Yates allows you to experience humour with this scene through the entity of Argus Filch and the Slytherin members who are part of the Inquisitorial Squad; examples of this can be seen by Filch standing outside of the room eating a sandwich waiting for them to exit as well as the door shrinking so that when Filch and the IS reach it, it turns into a broom cupboard; from this you are certainly given the impression that Hogwart’s truly wants the members of DA’s to fight back!
The friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione is touchingly sweet and fresh when they are talking together in the common room about Harry's kiss with Cho, which comes back to us when Harry fights off being possessed by Voldemort at the end of the film. And the foreshadowing between Ron and Hermione when Hermione tells Ron that he has the emotional range of a teaspoon is funny and charming! It is also sweet when Hermione smiles at Ron when he receives an "unflattering" Weasley sweater at Christmas.
The family tree at Grimmauld Place is incredibly done, and the scene between Harry and Sirius in front of it is touching, especially knowing that Sirius will die soon. There is a nice Neville moment when they are all back at school after the Christmas holidays and he tells Harry about his parents at a DA meeting. We see Ginny produce a horse patronus, Luna a hare, Hermione an otter, and we see Ron's patronus knock Neville over, who is unsuccessful in producing a patronus in the film. And Umbridge appears completely mad when she blasts open the door to the Room of Requirement once Cho has told the her, Filch and the Inquisitorial Squad about the DA and where their secret meetings are being held. Dumbledore is very cool when he refuses to be taken to Azkaban by Fudge and co. and disappears from his office with the help of Fawkes and Shacklebolt is funny when he says that Dumbeldore has got style!
Grawp is adorable! He is very sweet and charming and there are touchingly sweet and humorous moments between Ron and Hermione because of him. Harry is very cool in Occlumency lessons with Snape when he fights back and bursts into Snape's mind and sees memories of his parents. Fred and George are so sweet when they are talking to a fellow DA member whose hand is hurting from the detention that all of the DA members had to serve with Umbridge when she learned about the secret underground group, and all of the DA members are cold to Cho when they leave detention when they see her standing waiting to talk to Harry, who is equally chilly to her and walks right past her.
Fred and George's exit from Hogwarts is perfect! The fireworks are funny and Umbridge, Filch and the Inquisitorial Squad deserve what they get, especially when all of the decrees burst. It's a great moment and you're really, really glad to see the end of them!! All of Hogwarts is laughing and cheering their escape!
However, it is very sad when Harry collapses in the midst of all this fun and has his vision of Sirius being tortured by Voldemort in the Hall of Prophecies and you know that all of the fun is about to come to a horrible end...
Umbridge certainly gets her comeuppance – which by this time is exactly what you will be wanting – through the scene all to do with the Forbidden Forest. Again, the dark and dreary atmosphere is created through the use of dark shades such as greens and blacks that are present in the forest. The most memorable line can be seen when Umbridge acclaims “There is no secret weapon, is there?” which certainly conveys how the authority that she has acclaimed over Hogwarts has diminished. You will also gain insight into Umbridge’s own personal views to do with half-breeds in this part of the film, since the Centaurs arrival again leads to her authority as not only a staff member at Hogwarts, but also as a Ministry representative, due to the fact that she is whisked away by the Centaurs, which while allows you to experience humour and to symbolize how the triumph of the DA over the invaders at Hogwarts has occurred.
The flight to the Ministry of Magic on the Thestrals is very cool and the scene with Harry and the rest of the sextet against the Death Eaters is creepy because it's eery and insane to think that Lucius, an adult and father, would want to kill children...
Helena Bonham Carter does a wonderful job of portraying Bellatrix as simply insane! Neville and Luna are sweet together when they are fighting, Ginny pulls off an impressive curse to blow up prophecies and thwart the Death Eaters that are chasing them. The scene when Sirius and other members of the Order arriving is a very cool and powerful moment! It is very sad when Sirius accidentally calls Harry "James" when they are fighting the Death Eaters.
Sirius' death is awful and awfully quick, and the silent moment that Harry faces when he realizes that Sirius is dead is painful. Dumbledore makes another cool appearance when he arrives to at the Ministry to fight Voldemort. The battle between Dumbeldore and Voldemort is simply amazing! The visuals of this scene are just incredible! It is just intense and brilliantly done!!
And the acting by Dan when Harry is possessed is just superb and so sad when he fights back and remembers the love of his friends and family to free himself of Voldemort.
The moment that Harry and Luna share at the end of the film over Sirius's death is very sweet. And just so you know, the scene between Harry and Dumbledore in the headmaster's office is very quiet and not the way it was in the book.
The closing of the film is perfect when Harry says that they have something worth fighting for.
All in all, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
is an awe-inspiring, action-packed, emotion-rousing film that will undoubtedly keep you gripped from beginning-to-end. David Yates has certainly done an impressive job at capturing J.K. Rowling’s fifth year of Hogwarts and as he has been confirmed to direct the sixth movie, then this consequently means that fans will not be left disappointed!
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