Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Genre: Adventure/Drama
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
David Yates
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, Alan Rickman
Released by: Warner Bros.

In Short: The fifth Harry Potter movie is the darkest and most internal, yet it’s always gripping and impeccably acted.

Harry's Darkest Adventure
Not Just Another Game of Quidditch
by Andrew Bender

The next time your favorite teenager gripes about how her mom is such a loser because she won’t let her go to the mall, send her to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where she’ll see some real teenage angst.

The fifth installment of the series finds 14-year-old Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) waking with night sweats from nightmares of sinister demons, his murdered parents and the über-evil-doer, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Add to that a new headmaster who takes over Hogwart’s School, appoints herself grand inquisitor and prohibits the students from using magic. Dude, that sucks!

Bellatrix Lestrange
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Phoenix” is the darkest of the Harry Potter films so far, and it serves the story well. Director David Yates and cinematographer Slawomir Idziak create a compelling, fast-moving world from a color palette that’s rarely brighter than gray; the sets for the Ministry of Magic are breathtaking. Still, neophytes would be wise to see the preceding films for a sense of the pageantry, wonder and giddy quidditch matches that led up to this installment. Without them, this version will seem interminably gloomy, not to mention hard to follow.

Meet Dolores Umbridge
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

About the only thing that breaks the color barrier is Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), a Stepford witch who wears nothing but pink and takes three spoonfuls of sugar in her tea. She comes to Hogwart’s as a teacher of the Dark Arts and ends up practicing some of her own, cheerfully yet methodically wresting the reins of the school from beloved headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), and she’s loads of fun to watch as she does it. Alan Rickman as Professor Snape outdoes himself with a performance that’s somehow even more riveting than before.

Then there are Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermoine (Emma Watson), watchable as always, including for a reason we didn’t expect: the real actors are muggles, and muggles age; they’re in their upper teens now. Particularly Ron looks well over 14. If the filmmakers want to maintain both this cast and their credibility, they’d better shoot the final two films of the series before the principals reach drinking age.

© 2007 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R.
Harry Potter characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Updated: 07/13/07 JW)

The kinds of movies made for foodies, including classics such as Like Water for Chocolate and newer releases like Chef and Ratatouille.

Summer is here! Protect your skin from harmful UV rays all year round with GAYOT's Top 10 Sunscreens.