Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

A couple of years after the last film came out we have the next installment of the Daniel Radcli...er...Harry Potter movies, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Let's get this out of the way--I LOVED THIS MOVIE! The trio can really act these days (particularly Emma Watson and Radcliffe), and the movie was a visual and comedic delight. From the first scene on, we're in the land of tasteful CGI--From the first scene's dementor attack throught he climactic battle between Voldemort and Dumbledoor, it's a wizard's world, and wonder abounds.

It's also a claustrophobic, small world--the visual language of this movie turns the expansive, bright world of the earlier movies inside out. Bravo! Here most scenes are at night, and daylight exteriors are shot tight against the actors. This is an intimate story about Harry as a young adult, filled with guilt about Cedric's death the previous term. He's increasingly isolated, and he feels the evil within him rising.

Amid all that, we find delightful asides and comedy--Harry's burgeoning relationship with Cho, Hermione and Ron's teasing, "Dumbledoor's Army," and the room of requirement. This is the third act, and it provides enough of a relief to pick-up the story and get us involved with the actors again. No longer the kids from "The Sorcerer's Stone," they're an interesting lot now. Even Neville Longbottom is deep in this story.

Great fun, and worth seeing in a theatre. It's the noir Harry Potter, and it makes me eager to read "The Deathly Hallows" to find out how this all ends.

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