Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

Hogwarts Year Five

We are still breezing through the Potter-Verse movies.  Year five is another of my favorites.  Great characters in this one and the story starts to build even more.  In number four, you could feel the turn of the setting – the movies, like the books, start to get dark.  This one, the feeling, the mood, the lighting, the whole thing is dark.  Add to that the death of one of my favorite characters and this one tugs at my heart strings each and every time I watch it.

Plot Synopsis (There Be Spoilers):

Year 5 kicks off with Harry saving his cousin from an attack by two Dementors.  This gets Harry in loads of trouble and he is brought to trial, facing expulsion from Hogwarts.  Harry is once again feeling put upon by being left out of the mix over the summer.  He is finally brought tot he headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix (the anti-Voldemort society) and he is reunited with his friends.  At the trial, a rather un-talkative Dumbledore gets Harry off the hook and soon we are back at school with the trio that we have been following through four other movies.  As the school year progresses, it is clear that the Ministry of Magic is trying to sweep last semesters Voldemort sighting under the rug and oust Dumbledore as headmaster of the school.  Harry begins to train other students in Defense Against the Dark Arts due to their teacher Delores Umbridge being less then forth coming with their defensive spells.  Umbridge is made headmistress after Dumbledore is removed and the anti Potter mood at Hogwarts kicks into high gear.  The flick culminates with a fight in the Ministry of Magic between Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix in which Voldemort is defeated by Dumbledore (at least for a time) and Sirius Black is killed.  With the Ministry having to admit that Voldemort has returned, Harry is vindicated and Dumbledore is reinstated.

The Good

Imelda Staunton – Delores Umbridge – Potentially one of my favorite ‘bad guys’ from the books was brought to life by Staunton. Umbridge is one of those characters that you love to hate and certainly you despise her throughout this movie.  From the joy she take sin watching her ‘write’ lines into his skin to the shocked look on her face that end of the movie as the centaurs take her.  Staunton knocks this role out of the park and she becomes what I saw and heard in my mind while I read the book.  Perfect casting.

That’s right. Because deep down you know that you deserve to be punished. Don’t you Mr. Potter?

The Wesley Twin’s Exit – I am a Wesley Fan.  Fred and George, finally deciding that their academic career is at an end, decide to leave the school in a spectacular fashion.  It is the perfect send off for two characters that have kept Filch on his toes for years and a good way to introduce their next part of the story.

Ministry of Magic Battle – Any time that wizards throw down in the Potter-Verse it is always something to behold.  In the Order of the Phoenix, the last 25 minutes of the movie are a pitched battle between the Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix through the halls of the Ministry of Magic.  The Department of Mysteries has the air of a mystery itself.  The sound editing alone in the scene where all of the prophecies are breaking should have won them an award.  And of course, Voldemort and Dumbledore tying into it for the first time was a great end to the movie.

The Bad

Harry is mad at his friends again – Plot Device – This has been part of the movies and books from the beginning. At some point, Harry is going to get pissed off and not talk to Ron and Hermione.  Every time.  Granted, this one happens much earlier in the movie but it is going to happen.  Not saying this doesn’t happen in real life, I am just saying there might have been other ways to get to the same point in the plot.

Harry is bad – Plot Device – Another revisited point in the plot of the Potter-Verse is the Harry might be bad or might be being controlled concept.  I found it a slight bit contrived in the books and in the movies.

The Ugly

The Ministry Doesn’t Believe Dumbledore – Begging the Question – This piece of business, I didn’t gt in the book or in the movie.  Much like Dumbledore’s reaction to Harry’s name being in the Goblet of Fire, the fact that none of the higher-ups in the Ministry of Magic believe Dumbledore and that none of them happened to be past members of the Order of the Phoenix was a little far fetched.

All in all, plot points aside, this is a favorite of the Potter-Verse movies.  Great flow, great pacing and lots of new story twists and turns.  It might have been a while since you watched this one.  Pop it in the machine or pull it up on your favorite device and give it another watch.  Look for things you didn’t notice before.