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-- Movie review --

 

July 23, 2007

 

Less whimsy, more danger in Order of the Phoenix

 

By Julia Reichard

After the increasingly intense Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the first Harry Potter movies appear to be lighthearted and family friendly.

But the newest installment of the Harry Potter films is dark and even more ominous than the last.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth and latest, was one of the most accurate in the series of quite literally spellbinding movies.

The dementors became darker and more intense, while the characters tripled in complexity.

For staying true to the original story line of the books and accurately reflecting seemingly unimportant details, the film gets high marks.

Each major event in the book was almost perfectly replicated in the fifth movie, but it did not leave audiences feeling wondrous and wistful about the wizarding world. Instead, viewers left feeling glad that they weren’t a part of a community so filled with chaos and two-faced traitors.

Well-developed characters added depth and reality to this fantasy filled series where romances blossomed, pasts were faced and new sides of each character emerged.

Harry receives his first on-screen kiss, although the new romance quickly falls to pieces.

Luna Lovegood, the slightly bizarre yet sensitive new girl, quickly befriends Harry and his pals and joins “Dumbledore’s Army.” Neville Longbottom has grown up, but is still as hapless with a wand as ever.

Professor Umbridge, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, is placed by the Ministry of Magic in Hogwarts as an enforcer of approved beliefs and behaviors.

She quickly becomes everyone’s worst enemy as her sickly sweet shell falls to pieces. Her wish to turn a school full of rowdy teenagers into a ministry-run utopia comes to a crashing halt when the students secretly rebel.

In this film, Hogwarts had less whimsy and magic and more realistic action and despair.

Each scene became increasingly intense as the movie progressed, and the feeling of dread was considerably more noticeable in this installment. The plot thickened much more quickly and each character’s fear became almost tangible with each passing moment.

The sense that Harry Potter was in danger continued throughout the entire movie.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was fit to order, if you are prepared for a realistic fantasy world. 

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