Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (the Movie)

On July 17th, we went out with the Burrahobbits to see the latest installment in the Harry Potter movie franchise, “Order of the Phoenix.” The film in my opinion did a first-rate job of adapting the rather rambling book, and I disagree with those who gripe because their favorite little bit (like Petunia getting the “howler”, to name one frequently mentioned--). Although there were very strong performances by the core cast of Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint, the movie was largely stolen by Imelda Staunton as the odious Delores Umbridge, with second place in the sympathetic character field going to Gary Oldman as the doomed Sirius Black, and a standout supporting role by newcomer Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood. Helen Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange and Natalia Tena as Nymphadora Tonks add a sadly needed bit of Goth glamour, although both their roles are brief. (Fortunately, we should see more of both in upcoming films.)

Staunton as Umbridge was a revelation. Rather more pleasant appearing than I’d pictured her from the book (the epithet “toad face” does not really suit her--), she inspired loathing with her false smile, her simper, and the glint in her eye that changed from cold when challenged to hatefully cheery when at her most sadistic. Add her hideous wardrobe of pink boucle outfits and smothering collection of kitsch, and she is a total modern monster.

I don’t need to draw many parallels between our current world and the creeping oppression Umbridge institutes at Hogwarts, they are obvious, although I did think the huge “Big Brother” poster of Cornelius Fudge at the Ministry was a nice touch. The fun is in seeing how the young people fight back. The scenes of Harry teaching “Dumbledore’s Army” are both enjoyable and inspiring.

The climactic running battle in the Ministry is full of fantastic effects and striking images. As usual with the films, the need for action somewhat outstrips the book descriptions. Who knew that battling wizards could turn into rushing clouds and fling themselves at one another? Oh, well, it certainly looked cool--.

Highly recommended for fans of the series. You will not be disappointed.
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