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.