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Overall Rating
3.88

Awesome38.3%
Worth A Look: 37.23%
Average: 7.45%
Pretty Bad: 8.51%
Total Crap: 8.51%

7 reviews, 52 user ratings


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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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by EricDSnider

"Streamlined, efficient, and loads of fun."
4 stars

At a mere two hours and 18 minutes, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is the shortest film in the series -- no small feat, considering the book it's based on is the longest. Subplots have been cut, and some fans will surely be shocked and appalled, but they needn't be. Streamlined though the film may be, the important thing is that it doesn't feel streamlined. It feels like an exciting and fast-paced fantasy adventure -- which is exactly what it's supposed to feel like.

British TV director David Yates is the latest man to walk through the series' revolving door (he'll do "Half-Blood Prince," too), and he brings with him an admirable work ethic. Chris Columbus' first two entries were rambly, and Alfonso Cuaron and Mike Newell had a great deal of fun putting their own imprimaturs on Nos. 3 and 4. If Yates has an identifying mark to his directorial style, I missed it. He's a for-hire director who gets the job done with the appropriate levels of humor, energy, and thrills, but without a lot of time-wasting foolishness in between. Get in, get 'r done, and get out.

And it works. As satisfying as it was to see someone like Cuaron make a movie that was unquestionably "his," I realize now that it's also a pleasure to see someone make a movie in a serviceable, cheerfully anonymous style. Yates, working from an adaptation by new-to-the-series Michael Goldenberg ("Peter Pan"), does just that. The movie works the way a Harry Potter movie ought to. It's not perfect -- a few ends remain loose, a few characters get shafted -- but it's very good.

This episode finds Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) more sullen and tormented than usual. Dreams of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) plague his sleep. Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy), the head of the Ministry of Magic, has spent the summer planting stories in the Daily Prophet that paint Harry as a liar for proclaiming Voldemort's return. "All is well!" cry the headlines. Fudge has staked his career on the false pretense that the wizarding community has nothing to worry about.

To that end, he sends Hogwarts a new Ministry-approved Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. She is Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), a deliciously sweet-seeming little woman clad in pink and always wearing a smile on her plump, grandmotherly face. She is, as you might expect, evil incarnate, albeit a kind of evil Harry has never dealt with before. She earnestly believes the party line that Voldemort is gone and Harry is a liar. It's her devotion to goodness that has made her a villain and a zealot. When she turns Hogwarts into a police state, abolishing all extracurricular gatherings and encouraging students to rat on one another, she seems to be doing it out of a genuine (though misguided) desire for law and order.

Part of her campaign is to stop teaching any actual defensive spells in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Everything she teaches is theoretical. After all, since Voldemort is no threat, why on earth would you ever need to use a defensive spell in real life?

Since Harry, Ron (Rubert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) know the truth -- that Voldemort is out there and rapidly recruiting his followers -- they assemble an underground group called Dumbledore's Army. Under Harry's instruction, these students practice defense against the dark arts in secret, preparing for the battle that the Ministry says will never happen.

As usual, the adults are the most entertaining figures in the film. Imelda Staunton is a gleefully wicked addition as Umbridge, and Alan Rickman continues to steal every scene he's in -- often with no more than a raised eyebrow -- as Professor Snape.

But the kids are doing well, too, with Daniel Radcliffe really coming into his own as an actor in this installment. A brief flashback to the previous film reminds us how much he's matured just since then, and he plays Harry's conflicting emotions with impressive range. A significant part of this film's climax deals entirely with Harry's internal struggles, and Radcliffe pulls it off with great maturity.

As I write this, the world is once again experiencing a bout of Potter-mania, with the final book in the series due just 10 days after this film opens. Most of us are probably more excited for that book than we are for this movie, since the book is an unknown commodity and the movie is merely a reenactment of stuff we've already read. But as an appetizer for what's to come -- and a reminder of how magical and entertaining the Harry Potter universe is -- "Order of the Phoenix" satisfies.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=16219&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/11/07 07:56:55
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User Comments

7/26/09 David Worst of the series 3 stars
7/14/09 cody this movie is another good fllim in the harry potter series, that teacher is a butt!!! 4 stars
10/27/08 Michael M Yates creates an emotional connection with the audience when none of the previos flims did. 4 stars
10/26/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
9/01/08 Samantha Pruitt could have been longer, but still great, helens bonham carter was awesome! 5 stars
5/14/08 PAUL SHORTT AN EXERCISE IN PATIENCE AND LOYALTY, AT LEAST FOR FANS OF THE PAST TWO FILMS 2 stars
5/05/08 Franklin D Roosevelt Great movie 5 stars
4/26/08 Tyler Sciortino Some dodgy effects and a half-hour too short, but a great thrill with pitch-black darkness. 4 stars
3/21/08 Soph Very rushed; I almost expected Harry and co to start talking in squirrel voices. 2 stars
1/18/08 X Wang Yes, there are differences from the book - but still a very entertaining movie 4 stars
12/13/07 ES Enjoyable for a kid's movie 4 stars
11/15/07 Awesome People who only watch the movies will never get the whole story of the movie. 5 stars
11/15/07 PIMP It's the best one of all times 5 stars
11/07/07 Mohammad nawaz harry potter is great novel 4 stars
9/30/07 pamela ruvalcaba the movie is very good, i like daniel radcliffe 5 stars
9/08/07 pete total crap nothing like the book,totaly lost until I read the book great acting and effects 2 stars
8/27/07 Dan Leaves out key points from the book, and i have a fealing this movie ment to be longer. 2 stars
8/22/07 dude!!! this was a awsome movie but you need to read the book to get it 5 stars
8/21/07 SGlassman Worst movie. No character development which is important later on. 1 stars
8/17/07 Lilly potter Please get another director. Someone with imagination. 2 stars
8/13/07 U Don't Wanna Know This movie a few great effects, but thats all, if you havent read the book u're lost. 1 stars
8/12/07 Gurdeep People have to realize that books are one thing and movies another, I think it was great!! 5 stars
8/11/07 Kaitlin extremely disappointing! the acting was good but the film was nothing like the book. 1 stars
8/10/07 David's Sister It's totally gutted the masterful plot and character development. 1 stars
8/09/07 Neila Very disappointed ,worst hp ever 1 stars
7/31/07 Riktor Worst Film so far, Completly not like the book at all, Remove David yates Plz. 3 stars
7/29/07 sue the best one i have seen - dark and dangerous just like all good thrillers 5 stars
7/28/07 Navin R Whoo ,big letdown .This film stank 1 stars
7/27/07 Bitchflaps The worst Harry Potter film yet. I pray David Yates doesn't screw the next one up. 2 stars
7/26/07 sunny the best movie ever 5 stars
7/23/07 C Note Easily best of the series; Harry finally takes charge instead of being led around 5 stars
7/21/07 Randy This was nothing like the book! So many plot changes, it's unbelievable! 2 stars
7/20/07 Janet If you read the book, you hated the movie! They should have made it longer !!! 1 stars
7/19/07 miss elliott bloody brilliant 5 stars
7/19/07 Jake B Not a fan of the books, but this is a great instalment of a great FILM series 5 stars
7/18/07 melissa great movie..the battle and rebellion : really interesting..acting n effects : great 4 stars
7/18/07 Austin Wertman terrible 1 stars
7/18/07 orpy ho hum 3 stars
7/17/07 pin Entertaining yet, flat. Adaptation a bit superficial. They lost the story for the details. 3 stars
7/17/07 NeoMalfoy After the letdown of Goblet this was a releif best Potter adaption yet! 5 stars
7/17/07 SteveM A lot lot better than I thought it was going to be 5 stars
7/15/07 R K Felt let down. Effects / characters /acting great. Story line sucks and predictable. 3 stars
7/15/07 Jed Not flawless but it was entertaining 4 stars
7/15/07 Dark Enchantress it was good, im not a big harry potter fan, bit i enjoyed the movie 4 stars
7/15/07 KingNeutron Highly recommended - I see parallels of this film in my own life. 5 stars
7/14/07 Sourav Good one to watch...better than most of the other Harry Potter films expect maybe the 1st 1 5 stars
7/14/07 sarah not so good 2 stars
7/14/07 Matthew Extremely well done, the best of the Harry Potter movies 5 stars
7/14/07 Ole Man Bourbon Much better than the others I've seen--Order was suspenseful and even interesting at times. 4 stars
7/13/07 Adrian A perfect adaptiation of the most expository book in the series. 5 stars
7/12/07 Hello Stranger harry is completely tortured by the end of the film. no smiles. no action for 3/4 of film. 3 stars
7/12/07 Stacy Acting, casting, mood -- great as always. The adaptation this time seemed messy, though. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Jul-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 11-Dec-2007

UK
  12-Jul-2007 (12A)

Australia
  11-Jul-2007 (M)




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