the fresh films reviews

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Harry Potter and the 
Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Preceded by: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Succeeded by: Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince (2009)

David Yates
Harry Potter og føniksordenen
138 minutes
David Barron
David Heyman
Screenwriter (based on the novel by J. K. Rowling):
Michael Goldenberg

Cast includes:

Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe
Hermione Granger Emma Watson
Ron Weasley Rupert Grint
Lord Voldemort Ralph Fiennes
Sirius Black Gary Oldman
Severus Snape Alan Rickman
Sybil Trelawney Emma Thompson
Bellatrix Lestrange Helena Bonham Carter
Rubeus Hagrid Robbie Coltrane ½
Albus Dumbledore Michael Gambon ½
Dolores Umbridge Imelda Staunton
Professor Alastar Moody Brendan Gleeson
Remus Lupin David Thewlis
Minerva McGonagall Maggie Smith
Mrs. Weasley Julie Walters
Lucius Malfoy Jason Isaacs ½
Cornelius Fudge Robert Hardy
Luna Lovegood Evanna Lynch ½
Petunia Dursley Fiona Shaw
Vernon Dursley Richard Griffiths
The Weasley Brothers James Phelps
Oliver Phelps
Cho Chang Katie Leung
Neville Longbottom Matthew Lewis



The fifth installment in the daunting series finds the school of Hogwarts reformed by the Ministry of Magic in order to subdue students who, due to Harry's recent experiences and the secret Order of the Phoenix, have come to believe that Lord Voldemort is back.

Even though the Harry Potter series is to be considered one integral story divided into seven parts, the formula and narrative structure is very much the same for every film, The Order of the Phoenix being no exception. This fact makes any Harry Potter film largely predictable and unimpulsive, much like the structuring of a James Bond movie. On the other hand, the Harry Potter series has the luxury of affording an increasing level of detail and adornment when it comes to characters, schemes and other distinct features of Rowlings comprehensive world. Through the fine work of newcomer David Yates, this entry profits more from this said level of detail then any of the previous films, making The Order of the Phoenix a more intricate and accomplished film - especially concerning the plotting. This also brings Potter closer to reality, as Yates is able to portray wizards and magic not only as filmatic set pieces, but something that we get the feeling is incorporated into an actual, contemporary setting.

Sure, Rowlings story still is neither original nor ingenious, but that doesn't matter as much when you've got a well-crafted script turned into a rhythmic, cleverly paced film such as The Order of the Phoenix . More importantly, the title character is finally beginning to develop a personality and a psychological profile besides the basic 'I am the hero, therefore I am good'. There are some really great segments - such as Harry's inner struggle and the subsequent delve into the past that he shares with Snape, a fine early scene at the Black residence, or most scenes involving Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort (even though the final one has Gandalf vs. Saruman written all over it). And not to forget Harry's first kiss, which shows another valuable aspect of this film, the coming off age story, as our main characters are all getting close adulthood.

It must be a pleasure for the fans (not to mention the producers) to see that young Mr. Radcliffe is looking his part more than ever, and is growing along with his tasks. And Rupert Grint shows yet again that he's a real find in his role as Ron. Emma Watson isn't quite of the same calibre, but the filmmakers are mostly able to cover up her self-conscious and overly precocious act. As for the more renowned performers, both Fiennes, Bonham Carter and Oldman bring that little extra piece of flamboyance to their parts. Not to mention Imelda Staunton, who is delightful in a role as far away from her Vera Drake three years ago that her name should become an antonym to typecasting. Unfortunately, the film's potentially greatest asset, Gary Oldman, is underused and given mostly flat lines. The Sirius Black part, which is reportedly one of the most interesting aspects in the book, is not given the required weight during the course of The Order of the Phoenix, which is a pity, because it would have provided a much more potent foundation for the ending. Still, this doesn't change the fact that, with The Order of the Phoenix, the Harry Potter series is finally beginning to look interesting.

Copyright © 13.7.2007 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang