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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, Imelda Staunton, Alan Rickman
Screenplay by Michael Goldenberg
Based on the novel by J. K. Rowling
Directed by David Yates

Harry Potter movie posters Order of the Phoenix wallpapers

Cranky had a family event to attend the day before seeing this film, with lots of cousins and such "volunteering" to help out with the writing of this review. Not wanting to show preferences, we passed. Big mistake. A bit of quick history for you first: We were so bored by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (after loving all that came before) that we did a summarizing review and put it out of our mind. It couldn't get any worse, we thought, looking forward to this year's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix . . . but we were wrong

IN SHORT: strike two. [Rated PG for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images. 145 minutes]

This edition of Potter is being released in both standard and IMAX formats, the latter shifting to 3D (glasses will be supplied) for the last twenty or so minutes of the film, meaning a special effects heavy battle to end all battles. We recommend the IMAX version sight unseen, because the oversized screen at least has the promise of a rock 'em sock 'em 3D ending going for it.

Even more important, this year's model picks and chooses what it "remembers" from the previous films. For example, it goes into overdrive regarding the death of a classmate due to the nefarious Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) but ignores the clever implication (one or two movies back) that Hermione and Ron were starting to become more than just pals. We remember that bit because we always expected Hermione to hook up with Harry. When that didn't happen we just assumed, wrongly, that Harry was traumatized into a closet . . . He gets that fixed in this film, perhaps the only interesting thing in it, save the effects already mentioned. We're getting ahead of the point.

12 years of writing "You shouldn't have to know the source material to understand the movie" should be engraved into the memory of every reader by now. That being written, if you haven't read the book, and it is policy here not to, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will bore you silly.. So, don't walk in unprepared. Bring a kidlet who can whisper an explanation into your ear.

On the positive side, at least Harry Potter and the Order of t he Phoenix doesn't repeat the tired and overused idea that the (always new) Defense Against the Dark Arts professor is a villainous stooge of Lord Voldemort. This year's prof, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), is just a lackey in the pocket of Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy), with her own aspirations to boot Hogwarts' Headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) out of his position as headmaster of Hogwart's. Also repeated, ad nauseam, is that no one in the wizard world, apparently, believes Harry's story of the return and his battle with Lord Voldemort, despite the death of a classmate. Well, some of the kidlets believe, which means that Harry and his loyal posse, Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) rally other students to train in secret, preparing for the next return of Voldemort. They name themselves a new "Dumbledore's Army" (which apparently fought the good fight 14 years before) and are taught by the only person with the chops and personol experience to do so. That, of course, is Harry.

Of course, if you've read the book you already know this and will be applauding the film as the end credits roll, as those in our audience did. If you walk in unprepared, well, zzzzz.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- oh, it was the "original" Order that battled Voldemort 14 yearws earlier, FYI -- is two hours of time killing setting up an eventual winner take all battle which is at least two movies away. As this film prophesizes: "Only one will survive" We just wish there was more than half a paragraph of story in these later Potter films to keep us interested enough to want to see subsequent editions. .

As such, we're not going to put even a nickel's value on this waste of time. IF YOU HAVE READ THE BOOKS (this is the old fanboy disclaimer), you will love the film because your brain will fill in all the pieces that seem missing to us uneducated gits. We kinda wish this film had paid attention to all the subplots begun, and since ignored, in the earlier films. Harry vs Voldemort has worn thin.

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