Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by: David Yates
Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon,
Imelda Staunton, Alan Rickman
Released by: Warner Bros.
Short: The fifth Harry Potter movie is
the darkest and most internal, yet it’s
always gripping and impeccably acted.
Just Another Game of Quidditch
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.
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!
“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
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.
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.
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