Saturday, July 14, 2007

NEW REVIEW! HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX.

You've waited, and now I shall deliver!

After his fourth traumatic year at Hogwarts that ended with a showdown with the franchise’s very own Mr Bad, Lord Voldemort, it doesn’t seem too much for Harry Potter to be asking for a peaceful Summer. However, he doesn’t get such a wish – from the opening scene in which Harry and his despised cousin Dudley have close encounters of the life-threatening kind with two dementors in an underground passage, it is clear that Voldemort has unfinished business with the scarred lad, and that he has every intention of finishing it. Plus, nearly everyone in Harry’s school believe him to be a liar, Professor Dumbledore refuses to look him in the eye, his friends don’t understand him, and, on top of that, Harry must grapple with the skills required in mastering his first kiss. My, my, aren’t teenage lives complicated?!

A word of warning. This is not a film for the uninitiated. If “patronum”, “Avada Kedavra” and “ministry of Magic” sound like code to you, then best avoid watching this. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix makes no attempt to guide the newbies along the story (and rightly so, because any attempt at that would detract from the film and patronize its viewers). To fully comprehend the plot, you must have seen the four previous films as well as read the book from which this film is based.

The film itself is a wonderful jumble of goods, bads, and uglies. There is plenty to enjoy here, starting with the flawless turn from Imelda Staunton as the sadistic Dolores Umbridge. The woman who we are so used to seeing in roles as the sweet old lady, whether it be in Shakespeare in Love, or her Oscar-nominated turn in Vera Drake, her performance here is a shock and a half. Kitted out from head to toe in pink and sporting a sugary air, we soon find that Umbridge, whose methods of punishment include using quills that protract blood on her students, is anything but sweet. Staunton captures Umbridge’s ruthless oiliness perfectly; never before has evil been such fun to watch.

Rupert Grint is also a joy. His ginger hair, large blue eyes, bumbling demeanour and spot-on comedy timing make him the true star of the show, and every scene that he features in benefits as a result of his appearance. Simply put, he is Godly. Sadly, the other two teen stars are nowhere near as good as Grint; Radcliffe, who gave an adequate performance in the West End’s Equus, is back to his shoddy self here with an array of overreaching facial expressions and laughable deliveries of his lines. He is most embarrassing of all in the lead-up to kissing Cho Chang, in which everyone in my cinema was collapsing with laughter at his “performance.” But it gets even worst, for Emma Watson, aspiring Cambridge student, World Peace Representative (probably) and general object of annoyance to average, frumpy teenage girls such as myself, gave a performance that was so awful, it damn near lost me the will to live. She just couldn’t portray any of her emotions convincingly, and just settled for saying the lines that were written for her. Whereas Hermione was one of my favourite characters in the book due to her kindness, knowledge and appreciation for others’ feelings, Emma’s presentation of Hermione makes her insufferable and punch-worthy. It ain’t good.

The two “actors” aside, my main other foible with this film was how it cut/altered some very important details of the book. For example, in the book, it is Kreacher who betrays Sirius and puts him in danger. The appearance of Snape’s past as a hated and bullied student is also poorly put together and left to linger rather than properly dealt with. The Cho Chang storyline is pitiful, whereas in the book, we had been led to see that she wasn’t all that she had cracked up to be as a person, in the film, she is the sketchiest of sketches and written off practically before she has begun. In terms of 2007 releases, only Pirates of the Caribbean III had more plotholes than this.

That said, I had a huge amount of fun in the 2 and a half hours that this film played, with three newcomers to this movie, Yates (director), Michael Goldenberg (screenwriter) and Hooper (composer). The direction was apt, not perfect, but acceptable. The score was acceptable. The visual effects were stunning, especially in the climactic finale between Dumbeldore’s Army and Voldemort's Deatheaters, led by Jason Isaacs, where an entire storeroom containing shelved globes containing prophecies, one of which concerns Harry.

It is here that Helena Bonham Carter emerges as Bellatrix Lestrange, one of the final and greatest joys of the film. Laughing manically and sporting long hair greasier than a Professor Snape-Cristiano Ronaldo mixup, she makes the most of her limited screentime to deliver one of the best performances in all the Harry Potter movies. Utterly haunting.

The most laughable of kissing scenes.

Thus, verily I say, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a worthwhile outing. If you can put up with the abomination commonly known as “Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson trying to act”, as well as the slightly pretentious over-editing of Harry’s dream sequences, not to mention the ten thousand odd plotholes, then you should venture out to the cinema to see this. Not capital filmmaking, but, as I’m yet to see Ratatouille and The Simpsons movie, about as good as you’ll get this Summer from the cinema.

B+.



P.S. Anyone wanna be a darling and translate this for me?

26 comments:

Luke said...

Yay! I get the first comment on a fantastic post. I've been waiting for you to review another film for ages!

I'm really excited about seeing this now, although it won't be until next Saturday. :( But you leave Emma Watson alone!

Oh, and I absolutely can't wait for Ratatouille.

Emma said...

Thanks for saying it was fantastic, I thought I dissed it a bit too much to give it a B+ though.

And I think we all know that I'm really insulting Emma 'cos I'm jealous. :p

I saw the trailer to Ratatouille today. *really* can't wait.

Anonymous said...

brilliant review. I also thought the whole build up then let down with he Cho storyline was crap.

Emma wasn't really in this movie so much, so I didn't mind her. She was awful in the fourth one, though.

I'd probably give it 6-7/10.

paul haine said...

"Anyone wanna be a darling and translate this for me?"

You mean you aren't content to just stare lovingly into Rupert's oddly-terrifying face?

Emma said...

@ anon: Cool, glad we agree (if I didn't love the franchise so damn much, my rating would be a more objective B = 7/10). How do you rank the child actors in the movie then?

@ Paul: No way! I need to get to know my hubbie a bit better, don't I?

Anonymous said...

1. Rupert
2. Dan
3. Emma

Same as you, I'm guessing?

t.k said...

Umbridge was the best!

Catherine said...

Saw it today. Really liked it overall.

Good points:

1. Most of the actors. Especially the teachers (why doesn't Maggie Smith have more to do?), Luna Lovegood, Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix, the Dursleys and Ron.
2. Visuals. Mmm. Loved the constant Daily Prophet headlines.
3. Sense of darkness.
4. Dolores Umbridge gets her own category! Yeah, she was just hilarious and terrifying.

Bad points
1. Why were they listening to Hard Fi in the common room?
2. Some of the acting. Mainly Harry himself. Radcliffe is just not how I imagined him and that kiss was just hilarious. Also, Hermione's delivery of the line "I'm sure Harry's kissing is more than satisfactory!" was just so stupid. The cinema was in stitches laughing.
3. Ralph Fienne's lack of nose still bugs me.

Yeah, that's it. Can't wait until Book the Seventh. I saw these spoilers online and I really hope they're not true.. :(

Katie said...

Tom Felton... *drools*

Talented, sexy, and a Chelsea fan!

Anonymous said...

I prefer Dan to Tom, and definitely Dan to Rupert.

Helyx said...

I'm glad Umbridge was good, she was a major factor in OotP I wanted to see pulled off well. And Bellatrix too.

(Pretty much used to the level of the mains' performances, and they sound at the usual levels.)

Hmmn. World Peace Represenative? ^__^ Okay, I know you were just being facetious, but the news is that she's signed up with a model agency and will be the new face of Chanel.

Eegah said...

Fantastic review, Em. Agree with almost everything :D

Emma said...

@ Katie: Tom's actually my pick for the second hottest out of all the boys. He's very nice.

@ Helyx: Ugh. I saw her on the cover of Tatler. I hate her! I hate her!

Isn't jealousy an awful thing?

Oh, and I didn't mention this in my review, but Evanna Lynch was *perfect* as Luna.

@ Eegah: Thanks, I love your review too, especially the format with all the questions. :cool:

Beckles said...

Fab review! I think we're agreed on most points, though I don't find Watson and Radcliffe nearly as annoying as you do (but yes, the kissing scene was rather appallingly done).
Staunton was fabulous, I only wish they'd left in more of her confrontations with McGonagall, Maggie Smith was criminally under used in this film.
It's still my favourite of the films though...

Anonymous said...

Emma, I have read the last Harry Potter book, and know how it ends! Reply here if you want me to tell you.

Lisa said...

Yeah, right! Let me guess, Ron and Hermione die, Harry kills himself in order for Voldemort to die, and the "Deathly Hallows" refers to the afterlife where he meets his mummy and daddy?

Anonymous said...

No. Those were just lies some idiot started. I know the real ending.

Emma said...

Lol. I love how some people are so bored.

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

I really want to see this to see how Helena Bonham-Carter is in it.

Kayleigh said...

Awesome review....i saw this film on Saturday...its the 2nd best Potter film so far for me (Prisoner of Azkaban being the best)...i agree with you no Emma WAtson...seriously, where does this woman get her acting tips from, Days of our Lives? She bugged me as always but Evanna Lynch was fantastic....pure and utter Luna...Imelda was my favourite she was exactly how i imagined Umbridge...that fluffy pink aura was scary....not enough Tom Felton though for my taste...lets have more of the sexiest boy in the series please....roll on Half Blood Prince!

Stace said...

Great review. And can't for Saturday!

::|:hearts&&singing:|:: said...

good review= love ur blogg!!!

kristinetta said...

I love all Harry Potter films and books, and, of course, JK Rowling ^^

A really good review!!
I liked the film a lot lol

Kerrie said...

I really agree with your comments on Dan and Emma's acting. Emma is a total joke. All she does is say her lines. Dan is bad too but he's better then Emma at any rate. I don't understand how he was soo great in Equus but terrible in Potter. As a director Yates sucks, he left out way too much. There was no character development at all in this film. No bonds, no emotion. POA is the best potter film by far and probably will always be the best unless they get someone better then Alfonso to direct Deathly Hallows, which I don't think its possible to get someone better then Alfonso, he's just so gerat. The only other person i can think of is Tim Burton but obviously he's not going to do it, he has films coming out the same time as DH :(

watch movies online said...

It is a fabulous movie. Well directed, performed by the co-stars. It is a must watch movie for all type of generations. Dolores Umbridge was just amazing and terrifying. I have seen this movie many times.

custom writing said...

don't know about you gyus, but I dislike it. I just hate him, hate his glasses and his stick!!