Sunday, July 15, 2007

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

First, let me get something out of my system: OMG SQUEEE!!! YAY! WHOOOT!!! Ahem. Sorry. That was a bit undignified, no? I really LOVE the "Harry Potter" series. Books and movies. Of course, like any good reading addict, I love the books WAY more. But I do love the movies. But I totally hear Mame's criticism that the movies don't capture the magic or anywhere NEAR the detail of the books. And I take it very personally when my favorite bits are cut out and it seems that those are the first to go. Because I'm a character person, not a plot person. I love little character-driven moments. I could give a shit about them cutting Quidditch entirely out of the movie, (which they did and I was glad!) but when they cut the scene where Mrs. Weasley is trying to get rid of a boggart and it keeps turning into all of her dead family members? I was ANGRY. BEA SMASH! But then again, slavish retelling of the books are what kept the first two movies from really being awesome. It wasn't until the third movie, where the filmmakers got a little more...representative that brilliance was achieved. Also, Alfonso Cuaron rules.

So, anyway. The movie. It's really good. Not as good as my favorite, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but better than the last one (Which was still good! And you know, David Tennant licking things. All good!). The whole thing starts out with a really creepy sequence of Harry and his irritating cousin Dudley being attacked by dementors. (Missing bits: Harry and his aunt Petunia semi-bonding over dementor attacks and Lily Potter and conflicting owls about Harry's expulsion from Hogwarts and Dumbledore's Howler to Petunia. Damn it.) So we meet the awesome Order of the Phoenix (Missing bits: The entire Percy Weasley debacle and Harry having several huge temper tantrums.) and then the kids go back to Hogwarts where we find the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Dolores Umbridge. She's played by the awesome Imelda Staunton and she's loathsome, twee and a total fascist. Her idea of a good detention is to have Harry "write lines" with her "special quill" which writes with his own blood and carves the phrase, "I must not tell lies" into the back of his hand. Dude. Bitch crazy. (Not included in the books, a lovely scene of the Weasley twins trying to comfort a younger student after one of that bitch Umbridge's detentions. That ruled.)

The acting is top-notch. Daniel Radcliffe has really grown as an actor and does a great job with a more damaged, emotional Harry. Rupert Grint finally gets something to do besides mugging for comic relief and brings a nice soulful quality to Ron. I wish they'd give him more shit to do; Ron in the books is a far more important character than he is in the movies. Emma Watson as, I'm a bit torn about her. She's not BAD, by any stretch of the imagination and she's certainly nice to look at, but with her...I always see the wheels turning, if you know what I mean. Now, that may be a character choice, because with Hermione the wheels ARE always turning, she's always thinking, she's always at least two steps ahead, but I just don't think she'd be that obvious about it. I need more Weasley twins! LOVE those guys. And I love Neville Longbottom. That kid is doing a great job, too lazy to look up his name right now, but he rules. And Luna Lovegoode was really good, too. I was kind of dreading her because I have little patience with her in the books, but I actually liked her better in the movie. Interesting.

The adult actors are awesome, as always. Though I have a long history of flat-out loathing Helena Bonham Carter, she was the natural choice for crazy-ass Belletrix Lestrange and she does a great job. I'm continually impressed that Ralph Fiennes manages to do ANY acting through his heavy snake-makeup, but he does. And is scary as HELL. And I ADORE Gary Oldman's Sirius. He and Radcliffe have a warm chemistry together (No, not like THAT, pervs!) and share several really nice scenes, including one that will break your heart when you know what's to come. And we need more of David Thewlis's Lupin! Lupin is my very favorite character and he has like, three scenes. This is not acceptable. Thewlis totally owns that character (inspite of his disturbing porn 'stache) and his presence is much missed, by me, anyway.

The final show-down at the Department of Mysteries was PERFECT. I couldn't have asked for more. It kicked ass from start to finish. Full of action and emotion, I was on the edge of my seat, squeaking and I'd read the book! I knew what was going to happen! Didn't matter! KICK ASS!

But here we are at my two biggest criticisms of the movie...and they are big. HOW ON EARTH DID THEY THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO SHORTEN DUMBLEDORE'S FINAL SPEECH/APOLOGY TO HARRY?! In the book, that scene runs like, 10 pages and is full of angry recriminations from Harry and unbearable regrets from Dumbledore. And Harry full-out trashes Dumbledore's office. And they totally cut out the whole thing about Neville and Harry and the prophecy! (If you don't know what I mean, well, read the book!) Weak, guys. Really weak. And on the same page, Harry's grief for Sirius totally gets the short end. He's just lost the ONLY possible family that he's ever known. A man he was starting to love like a father. And he blames himself for his death. It barely gets a mention. And they'd spent all this time focusing on their relationship and making references to family. And then...nothing. The movie's already like, two and half hours long! What's another 10 or 15 minutes to do justice to those scenes? And Radcliffe can certainly handle that emotion, let him loose!

Overall though, it's good stuff. Go see it! But, you guys? If the theatre you're going to is advertising the last 20 minutes in 3-D? Eh. That part kinda sucks. There's probably two cool 3-D moments and the rest'll just give you a headache.


EGT said...

Aw! I love Quidditch! I guess I'm okay with it not being in the movies but I love it in the books, and was really sad during GoF. WORD to the short shrift on Dumbledore's apology. Although I think I'm sure we've already congratulated each other on feeling the same way about that.

Lady Bea said...

Heh, don't we spend a great deal of time congratulating each other on our shared good tastes? (Example: Tennant, David and Patrol, Snow) Hee. I make my own fun.

Bea's mom said...

Great review- It's almost like I was there except for the 3d part!
Don't review the book until I'm done with it!!!!!