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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I went to see it with my parents, and my poor father was very confused at the end, going "That's it?  That's how it ends??"  We looked at him blankly, pointing out that this is only part 5 of 7.  Turns out Dad, who has willingly seen all the movies but never read the books, got confused by all our talk of "the last one" coming out this summer, and came in thinking this movie was the end of the series.  Whoops!

Anyway, aside from the haircuts, I definitely liked it more than GoF, but I can't shake off my loyalty to the first two movies because they really brought the books to life for me, and PoA had great quanitities of Lupin in addition to Sirius, so I'm going to have to say that OotP is stuck at being my fourth favorite movie.  I still liked it a great deal more than I expected to, though.

I can't do "good, bad, and neutral" categories because nearly everything had both a good and a bad side.  Instead, I'm breaking it into my own categories.  And looking it over, I think I managed to cover just about everything in the movie.  Yeesh.

Previews: (yes, this gets its own category)
Okay, I don't know what it's called, but I want to see the film set in the Ice Age, with the giant scary woolly mammoths trumpeting and running at the screen.  Pity it's not scheduled until March.  Why do they torture me with previews of films that won't come out for MORE THAN SIX MONTHS?

On a more positive note, I think I have found my fourth movie for 07!  "Enchanted."  Animated fairy-tale princess (dear God, I miss 2-D Disney princesses) falls into modern-day New York.  Sounds cute.  But really, all you need to know is that Patrick Dempsey is in it.  Where his character may possibly have a daughter.  And also fall in love with a young woman eleventy frillion times prettier than Ellen Pompeo.  And it's definitely not rated above PG.   This is SO my holiday movie. Okay, on to Harry Potter.

Casting/Characterization Issues
  • Lupin is noticeably scruffy in this film, which is good, but I can't help wanting SOMEBODY to finally wake up and pepper his hair with grey, which would go a long way towards making him look as run-down and world weary as he's supposed to be.  More than a bit of stubble, anyway. 
  • The sight of Spanish Tonks still makes me twitch violently, but as she's only onscreen for a total of about a minute and has maybe 2 lines, that was easier to cope with than I thought. 
  • Kingsley has just as small a role as Tonks, so I didn't have time to care about his bulgy eyes.  It belatedly occurs to me that Samuel L. Jackson has somewhat bulgy eyes too, so I don't know why I let that bother me so much. 
  • The sight of Moody, on the other hand, now makes me want to start hurling lit cigarettes at the screen, he's so awful.   Especially when he has a habit of stealing Lupin's lines.  -.- 
  • Sirius Black's hair is neither so long nor so luxurious as it appears in certain promo pics; it's almost comparable to how I expected it to look, which makes me SO VERY HAPPY.  Because it was only the hair that bugged me; Gary Oldman makes a perfectly convincing Sirius
  • This is old news, but I have to say it again - Professor Trelawney is sheer perfection.  They couldn't have gotten it better.
  • Kreacher!  Even though he didn't have his pivotal Plot Point of Evil, I'm glad he was there.  Very apt rendition.  The voice was perfect.
  • Speaking of CGI characters, Grawp looked considerably more human than I'd expected from the drawing in the book...well, like a massive Neanderthal toddler, really...but I think that was okay. 
  • And now Umbridge. Ah, Umbridge.  Well, I will grant you this - Imelda Staunton had the voice down pat, and the mannerisms, and both her interrupting cough and her evilly tinkling laugh were spot-on.  But she DOES NOT LOOK THE PART, and it steadily grated on my nerves throughout the film.  I want a wide, squat, toady looking woman, damn it, not a prim little old lady who could almost stand in for the queen.  See, courtesy of [info]mrstater, THIS is Umbridge.
  • Mrs. Figg was well played, better than I'd hoped for.  :)
  • Luna Lovegood!  Two thumbs up.  I had my doubts, but the most important thing to me was that she "[give] off an aura of distinct dottiness," and from the instant you saw her sitting in the carriage, you felt it.  She had the dreamy voice down, the wide eyes and slightly distant expression...in short, she accomplished what many of the actors in the first movie did, which was give me a solid image for a character I hadn't really been able to picture before.  I still don't like the character of Loony Lovegood, mind, because I hate weirdness, but the acting was fantastic.
  • There was one more...OH!  HELENA BONHAM CARTER AS BELLATRIX.  I had serious doubts about this, but it turns out she was *brilliant*.
Positive Minor Touches
  • The picture of Harry's parents by his bed.  I get a lump in my throat every time I see it.  (did I mention I love the casting there?)
  • The massive picture of Fudge at the Ministry of Magic.  SO COOL.  Speaking of which, I finally have a picture in my head of what the MoM looks like.
  • Talking of pictures...Neville's parents, like Harry's = great casting, even though they appear so briefly
  • Transitioning between scenes by swooping through newspaper headlines.
  • The scene where Bellatrix stands cackling at the edge of Azkaban, while dementors swoop out and away, was amazing.  There's no way to portray that in the books, but cinematically...wow.
  • Thestrals!  I romanticized them a bit, thinking they'd be more like maneless horses only with dragon wings and perhaps a slightly elongated head...but I think they really did capture the look Rowling was trying to describe.  I'm still going to pretend they have hair instead of scaly skin, though. 
  • Mewing kittens!  In the book I pictured them as drawings, or paintings rather, in 50's style kitsch, but the *photos* of kittens mewing and rolling about playfully in their frames was the most adorable thing ever.  I want one or seven for my wall!
  • Nailing up the educational decrees on the wall.  Very effective.
  • The stone arch looked exactly like I thought it would.  Well, I may have pictured the fluttering curtains, but still.  Good job.  The setting was spot-on, at least.
Well Done Parts:
  • I really loved the opening sequence, with the Harry wistfully watching the mother escort her children home.  (Heartbreak scene #1)  I loved the scorched look of the playground, too, almost like a desert...and then with Dudley and Gang swaggering up (*giggles madly*   Yes! They left in "Who's Cedric?  Your boyfriend?"), and then the sky suddenly going black and pouring rain...oh yes, that was quite possibly the best of all five cinematic openings. 
  • Lupin may only have been in two scenes, but they were the sort that I want to rewind repeatedly, so all is forgiven.  Quite possibly my favorite image in the entire movie is of Harry's initial arrival at Grimmauld Place, hugging Sirius, with Lupin smiling in the background, for which I forgive his lack of being part of the Advance Guard. 
    • Also, it was very important to me that the part in the book about Lupin restraining Harry from trying to follow Sirius remain intact, and it did.  Get to see a bit of the former's grief that way, and it's very welcome.
  • Harry's tone of voice when he talks back to Umbridge about Voldemort being back - nailed it.
  • The detention scene was so horrible (in a good way) that I squirmed and had to look away, unable to watch the cutting continue.  And this is from a girl who actually has scratched letters into her skin.  Not on the back of my hand, though.  And not nearly that deep.  Ick.
  • Occlumency - I don't like that it randomly started the night Arthur got attacked, but once it was actually in progress, it was cool.  Definitely portrayed the rush of memories well, though I particularly liked Snape being in Harry's memories of seeing Sirius and muttering "I may vomit."  HAH!  Far and away one of the best movie lines ever.
  • All the D.A. scenes were great, but none were better than the one with all the silver Patronuses gamboling about the room.  Soooo pretty. 
  • LOVED where Trelawney gets sacked, and McGonagall rushes to her side.  That's one of my favorite scenes in the book, and other than Dumbledore's cranky last line, it was wonderfully reproduced.
  • As previously mentioned, Bellatrix is amazing, so...loved her taunting in baby talk.  Everything she did was gold.
  • Fred & George's escape was great, just as I thought it would be.  Even though their two rebellions were condensed into one, it worked out very well.  The fireworks were spectacular - the fiery dragon, of course, was jaw-dropping and made me leap back in my seat when it soared, mouth-open, at Umbridge. 
  • Masked Death Eaters are thoroughly terrifying - well, really, the whole Department of Mysteries was a spectacular set.  Dark and spooky, with DE's flying out from every corner...*shivers* And while Dumbledore and Voldemort's fight seemed to be over rather abruptly, the giant snake made of fire makes up for everything. 
OMG Spectacular Movie Additions:
  • McGonagall standing up to Umbridge and confronting her about her "medieval" tactics.  SO GREAT.  I was always disappointed by the book where nobody ever told another teacher about the TORTURE involved in Umbridge's detention classes.
  • HARRY AND SIRIUS.  I loved their relationship in the book, but the movie hammered the point home beyond my expectations.  Also, the best line in the entire film is "When this is all over, we'll be a proper family." It was at that point that I started crying. 
  • Fred & George comforting the little boy who's crying after detention with Umbridge.  *heart melts* Enh! Enh!  Even without their spectacular GoF hair, the twins are love. 
  • When the centaurs surround Umbridge, Harry and Hermione, the latter *doesn't* say the incomprehensibly stupid line about hoping the centaurs would take care of Umbridge for them.  (seriously, that's the worst line in the entire series) Nope, the centaurs just get riled up off Umbridge's comments, and then attack Grawp.  It's wonderful. 
Minor Grievances:
  • The Extendable Ears...aren't actually supposed to be ears, are they?  That makes them terribly conspicuous.  Suppose they had to do that for people who haven't read the books, but still.
  • No Bill or Charlie, and no mention of Percy by name.
  • Okay, way back when book 6 was about to come out, I wasn't reading specific spoilers but I was reading news articles, and I knew that Harry was going to have a new love interest.   I remember being distinctly terrified it was going to be Luna Lovegood, because I couldn't think who else it might be.  So...let's just say this movie wouldn't have helped my fears.  I know it's supposed to show that Harry's found a friend who's gone through some of the same experiencs, things Ron and Hermione really can't understand, but it was coming off more like heavy-handed buildup for a future romance.  Even my mom had to double check that he ended up with Ginny in the next installment. 
  • I hate New Flitwick so much.  I want Original Flitwick back!  The one with long white hair, who looked almost elf-like.  I know it's the same person, but in this case costume is everything. 
  • Umbridge slapping Harry...that seemed wrong; I know she thinks pain is a good teacher but that was too visceral for her usually hands-off approach
  • I really don't see Sirius punching Lucius, either - same reason.  They are wizards.  They have wands for a reason.
  • The sound of silence as Sirius dies and Harry screams.  I hate when directors decide that the best way to make a reaction dramatic and heart-wrenching is to slow time down and cut out all sound.
Changes I Noticed But Didn't Mind:
  • Cho being the sneak.  I boiled over with rage when I heard about it beforehand, but then once it happened...I really didn't care.  Admittedly,  her giving it up due to Veritaserum pretty much obliterates Harry's reason to hate her, from a logical standpoint, but I'm more than happy to overlook that.  Because I really don't like Cho, as all she does is create Scenes of Physically Painful (for me!) Embarassment.   
  • The lack of Quidditch.  While it is great fun in the books, and it's a sad book indeed that has no description of Quidditch, in the movies it kind of looks the same every time.   I wasn't that invested in it, really.  Besides, I actually made up my own tune for "Weasley is our King," which is very hard for me to do, and I would have hated hearing another version.  Besides, this way Ron gets to be with Harry and Hermione when they meet Grawp, and Ron subsequently gets to be all defensive and protective.
  • Snape's Worst Memory and other non-existent/shortened flashbacks. 
OMGWTF Did You Change/Cut/Shorten:
  • Harry's dream about seeing Voldemort at the train station.  That caused me a lot of unnecessary rage when it was included in the previews, before I knew it was part of a dream.
  • Rage!Dumbledore needs to go away RIGHT NOW.  He's allowed to look frightening when he shows up to fight Voldemort. Otherwise, this generally cranky voice of his is not welcome, especially when dealing with Fudge.  I thought the wonderful thing about Dumbledore is that he's always exceedingly polite.  He could insult you to your face without ever losing his pleasant smile, but said insult would be so carefully couched in that you'd hardly notice. 
  • DOBBY!  *wails* It's not even so much that Neville discovers the room or that Hermione explains it, but I *love* the scene where Dobby comes to warn them that Umbridge is coming, and then everyone scatters in pandemonium.   This way was so much more anti-climatic.
  • *blinks* Shoot, I missed Malfoy!
  • SO DISAPPOINTED in the lack of Harry raging and smashing things in Dumbledore's office at the end.  THAT'S what really showcases Harry's grief, I think.  Not his initial reaction, but the boiling anger at its injustice afterwards.  His screaming "LOOK AT ME" right after Arthur was attacked was a nice touch, but it was not an acceptable substitute for the end.
  • No St. Mungo's...*weeps in corner*
  • Disgustingly optimistic ending.  Again.  *headdesk*  Look, we can be positive (if you INSIST), but can't we end on a *funny* note instead of a Message of Hope?  Ideally with the actual book ending?  Or even the nice scene of the D.A. hexing Malfoy and Co. on the train?
  • Also, I really wanted the scene with Harry staring out over the lake and thinking about Sirius.  The first time I read it, I thought "that would translate so well to the screen."  I'm sure they could have worked that in somehow, even if it was just setting the scene for their Patented Ending of Nauseating Optimism.  In this case, it would have fit very well with their penchant for including flashbacks/clips from previous movies. 
OVERALL:
I'm glad I decided to see it.  It's always worth seeing spells fly on the big screen, and I should remember that in the future.  I won't even gripe about the fact that not only did they only use 2 hours and 18 minutes when big movies can easily use 3 hours, they kept wasting seconds on recycled footage.  Nope.  Won't complain about that all.  =)

Seriously, it was good.

And now I'm off for a last-minute reread of Half-Blood Prince

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
lieueitak
Jul. 20th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
Out of curiosity, what makes you think Natalia Tena is Spanish? She was raised in Britain, went to the same school as Minnie Driver and Daniel Day Lewis did (though a different year, naturally). Her bio says that she's of "Spanish descent," but that just means her parents/ancestors were born/lived in Spain. That doesn't make her anymore Spanish than it makes Emma Watson French.

Anyway... Mewing kittens! In the book I pictured them as drawings, or paintings rather, in 50's style kitsch, but the *photos* of kittens mewing and rolling about playfully in their frames was the most adorable thing ever. I want one or seven for my wall! OMG, I know! That really added to how messed up Umbridge is. I love when Harry's using the magic quill, and you hear all the little mews in the background, lol.

Only one thing missing from your review: thoughts on Voldemort? *is curious*
rainbowstevie
Jul. 21st, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
Argh, I wasn't done, LJ!
Out of curiosity, what makes you think Natalia Tena is Spanish?
Well...her name, for one, but I meant it quite literally in terms of her heritage/appearance. Her dark complexion annoys me given that Tonks is always specifically described as "pale." You wouldn't cast a Weasley without red hair, would you?

And I can't believe I forgot to mention Voldemort! To be honest, I didn't really have an opinion. He just had his scene, which seemed to fly past, and he was out. I was too busy being thrilled by the Serpent of Flame and to pay attention to the wizard behind it.
lieueitak
Jul. 21st, 2007 01:43 am (UTC)
Re: Argh, I wasn't done, LJ!
Natalia looked pretty pale to me. Even still, it's worth mentioning that she usually appears paler in all of her other films. Maybe it was just the lighting? After all, we really only see her at night. And I'm also like 90% sure that the Phelps twins have brown hair in real life, which would make them Weasleys without red hair. Not to mention in the books, the Weasleys all have freckles but the twins, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley are all freckle-less in the movies. Or we could talk about how Emma doesn't have bushy hair, Dan doesn't have green eyes, and Ralph doesn't have red ones. I think we're way past the point of getting perfect representations of the characters, :-(
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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