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Published on June 21st, 2008 | by gareth


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Life for a teenager is never an easy thing. Between the constant insecurities about appearance, social standing, and other peer pressures,the teen years can be among the most traumatic in a persons life.

However when you are Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), and you have recently survived a one on one confrontation with the evil wizard Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes),
typical teen angst would seem a blessing compared to what is to come.

In the new film, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” the classic 5th book in the series by J.K. Rowling has been transfered to the screen by Director David Yates, who shows that he has an affinity for the subject matter, and is not afraid to helm Harry and his friends into the darker chapters of their life.

The film opens with Harry and his cousin Dudley arguing as Harry has taken exception to the taunting over his recent nightmares and his dead parents. When an unexpected attack from dark forces forces Harry to use magic outside of Hogwarts to save their lives. While Harry is successful in his defense, he is shocked to learn that he is to be expelled for the action.

Soon Harry finds his way to a secret locale and is reunited with his friends Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson), as well as his uncle Sirius (Gary Oldman).

Any joy from the reunion is short-lived as Harry learns that the locale is actually a secret lair for the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society dedicated to fighting Lord Voldemort.

Harry has learned that Minister Fudge (Robert Hardy), is using the press to descredit Harry’s tale that Voldemort has returned. In time, Harry is allowed to return to school and returns to find things have changed drastically.

The school has a new defense against the dark arts teacher named Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), has instituted strict rules and changes at the school and backed by the Ministry, she soon becomes a tyrant to the students, especially Harry whom she punishes severly any time he brings up the fact that Voldemort is back.

As if this were not bad enough, it seems as if a large portion of the school is weary of Harry as they are weary of his claims about Voldemort, and are starting to believe the negative things that have been written about Harry by the Ministry.

Undaunted, Harry and his friends soon begin their own training as Harry instructs them on ways to protect themselves from the dark forces assembling. During this time, Harry also grows closer to fellow student Cho
Chang (Katie Leung), and experiences his first kiss as he transitions from school boy to young man, with the weight of the world upon him.

What follows is an intense adventure as Harry and his friends race against time to save the day from the ever closing darkness, with their very lives hanging in the balance.

This Potter is darker and more mature than previous films and the dark tone and mood of the film is evident from the early scenes.

While there is still some humor in the film, the tone is set by Harry who has become a darker and more torubled individual and the events surrounding him do not
lead to much charm and merriment that was present in the earlier films in the series.

The cast does a good job and the FX work is solid if not spectacular. My biggest issue with the film is that it dragged in many segments and that the finale was not as exciting as I had hoped for. Many times during the film and after, I got the impression that I was watching a two and a half hour commercial for the next film and final book, as there was little in the film for me that drove the story or the mythos forward.

That being said, there were many scenes that I enjoyed in the film, I just wish the pacing of the film could have been better.

The film like Harry transitions into more mature themes and experiences,it just stumbles a bit getting there.

3.5 stars out of 5

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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