Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Directed by: David Yates
Monday, July 7, 2014
“Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his classmates Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) are in their fifth year of study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And the weight of responsibility being laid on Harry — now quite believably embodied by the increasingly chiseled 17-year-old actor as a teenager with all the moods that come with the hormones — is enough to darken this fifth movie interpretation decisively.
“Gone are the childish diversions of Quidditch matches and other jewel-toned visual manifestations of magical thinking, and in their place is an attitude of grim, adult risk taking. Under the circumstances, assigning the project to British TV director David Yates, who won awards for the 2003 BBC political thriller State of Play, is a shrewd choice. (Screenwriter Michael Goldenberg is also a newbie to the Potter franchise.) This episode spends time with the student gang as they practice wand work and imprecations (‘Stupefy!’), and pauses for a sweet kiss between Harry and Cho Chang (Katie Leung), whose shy smile first fogged the young wizard’s glasses in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. We also meet Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), Harry’s pale and empathic new friend, and Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), whose name suits this Azkaban Prison escapee’s style but underplays her sadism.
“But for all the action — and there’s plenty of it, even if it’s only a portion of what was crammed into Rowling’s 870 pages — the most important stuff is what takes place in Harry’s head, where troubling visions, intensifying in clarity and dread, attest to the young man’s foretold connection to the evildoer most safely referred to as You-Know-Who. (You know who plays Voldemort, again, too: Ralph Fiennes, embracing his character’s malevolent noselessness with regal delight.)… The advances and setbacks pile up, but time hangs heavy. And that’s even after Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy) puts Harry on trial for illegally using magic outside of school and Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) intervenes. After Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), entrusts his godson with new secrets. And after the students establish Dumbledore’s Army in preparation for Voldemortian Armageddon.” – Entertainment WeeklyPG-13, 138 Minutes