In the increasingly infrequent to nonexistent domain of film reviews on this blog, it seems only right to throw out a piece about the most hyped movie on the planet- a film that under normal circumstances I would not have even watched so soon. Still, as often happens, family fervour ensured that the cinema had to be visited as soon as possible, and of course I ended up tagging along largely for the sake of it.
In book form, Order of the Phoenix was my least favourite in the series, featuring as it did Harry’s transition into moody, angsty teenager, continually shouting and brooding to such an extent that I simply wanted to shout “Get on with it!” at the pages of the book. With this in mind, anticipation for the film version was at an all-time low, but as it turned out, it was actually an entertaining experience- I didn’t feel instant dislike as with the third film, nor did I laugh at the Dark Lord scenes like I did in the fourth- surely evidence that somewhere, something was done right.
Perhaps the film’s greatest advantage over the book is that the two-hour running time means a lot has to be cut out, and for once, I am not going to complain about that. Even though in retrospect one might wonder why something happened a particular way, or wish for a little more explanation, but on the whole it was refreshing to whip through the material at such a pace, ensuring that boredom was not really on the cards. A healthy dose of action and special effects also helped in that department, and whilst the infamous death of “that character” did seem all too abrupt, that was more the fault of the original scene in the book.
As far as acting goes, the regulars are solid enough, with a couple of new additions to the cast in the form of Luna “Loony” Lovegood and Professor Umbridge. Luna was perfect as an “away with the fairies” type of personality (although it seems this didn’t actually require any improvisation on the part of the actress), and whilst I had imagined Umbridge as looking more like the deceased Jennifer Paterson, Imelda Staunton did a good job in bringing her to life. Meanwhile, Mrs Figg is good enough for her small role, and whilst she overdid the ‘gwakaka, I’m a crazy witch’ personality, Bonham-Carter at least nails the ‘female general of evil’ role of Bellatrix LeStrange. I must wonder, however, if it is a good thing that I find Snape and Lucius Malfoy becoming my favourite characters.
Aside from that, there isn’t much more to say; the only other point I feel compelled to make is that Thestrals weren’t quite as I imagined them- I thought of them more as sleek horses with bat wings.
As expected, it’s not going to be the most sophisticated or highbrow of movies, but this latest Harry Potter film is actually quite fun, and inspires more enthusiasm from me than the last couple of instalments in the series. If even I, who has long since abandoned any sense of being a fan of the series, can enjoy the film, can’t be all that bad.