The 'Phoenix Post

The Potter fans have had a lot to look forward to this year, what with a film, the final book to be released next weekend and the announcement of a theme park in the years to come. The Order of The Phoenix will do a grand job of satisfying the droves of ravenous diehards, but will, I feel, fail to ensnare any newcomers who have held out until this point. Those of us sold on the franchise and eager to lap up another film, will be quite satisfied with this attempt. ‘Phoenix keeps the plot progression at a good pace considering the long span in which the book takes place. Yates keeps the story flowing and the purpose clear where the book often falters in doing so by eliminated extravagant details and combining elements as effectively as possible. While this does take away from the original telling of the story, it tailors the plot to a more movie appropriate size.

A lot of the traditional Potter elements are absent this time around. There is no house cup; barely any classes; Draco is able to get two jibes in max; and the word ‘Quiddich’ isn’t even muttered in passing. Because of the fast moving plot all but a few elements had to be edited out it seems, though I am pleased with the ways they managed to sneak the Cho Chang and Filch storylines in without disrupting the main plot arc.

The climax of the film is less dramatic than the book, and though it does a better job of pushing Rowling’s message, it serves as a less satisfying conclusion to this chapter than its counterpart. Also, is it just me or is Gambon hard to swallow as a wizened, father figure that Dumbledore is supposed to be? Though if I had to point out an acting failure it would be fan elected Evanna Lynch’s attempt at Luna Lovegood. Her absent portrayal is a valid attempt at capturing the nature of the oddball character but merely paints a vapid and empty picture. Considering she is given more screen time that most of Harry’s cronies (Weasly isn’t our king?) this is a shame. When push comes to shove, however the fact is you are dealing with a Harry Potter story here, and unless you make it unrecognizable the film is going to be a winner due to the material alone.

All in all a great entry in the Potter film library and a valiant attempt at taming one of the more longwinded and less compelling books. Rushed at times, but necessarily so, I’d rank this as one of the better of the films thus far. And though it fails to capture the magical awe found in Columbus’ chapters it established much clearer character relationships and considering its place in the Potter timeline, this isn’t a bad thing.

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