We saw “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” last weekend, but then I was so busy rereading the books in preparation for book #7 that I got mixed up about what had been in the movie. So we saw the movie again today, and now I can write that , Yes, it is worth seeing. Which worries me a bit, because apparently that critic in “Time” also liked the movie. Oh well — even a broken clock is right once or twice a day.
Will say this and get it over with — the book is better. However, that is the limitation of movies . . . they can only be so long, and you never get quite the detail you can in a book. Considering the book is 870 pages (the longest in the series), they did a pretty good job of cutting things down to make a movie just over two hours long. They also did a good job of making sure their rearranged versions of events still stuck to the necessary outline and flavor of the story. Fred and George’s departure from Hogwarts is still a wonderful celebration, Harry and Cho still get together (and split up), and the last scene with Delores Umbridge . . . well, I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen the movie, so I’ll just say a lot of detail is missing, but it is still satisfying.
Having written that, I can also say the movie is very good. This is a story that is driven by its characters, and the actors do an outstanding job. While it is obvious Daniel Radcliffe and cohort are now older than the characters they are portraying, they do such a good job that you don’t mind. Gary Oldman returns as Sirius Black; he makes long, curly hair on guys look GOOD again. 🙂 He helps us understand how Sirius is both flawed and someone for Harry to admire, and does it very well. Helena Bonham Carter shows up as the Death Eater, Bellatrix Lestrange. I had always pictured that character more like Angelica Houston, but Bonham Carter does such a fey, deranged character — she’s very good. I am also pleased with Evanna Lynch playing the part of Luna Lovegood (blonde girl, third from the right in the photo above). She does an excellent job of making Luna spacey, out of the range called “normative,” but still quite appealing. The most pleasant surprise among the new characters was Imelda Stuanton as Delores Umbridge — Stuanton REALLY makes this character come alive. You hated her in the book, and now you will have a clearer focus of how horrible she is after watching the movie.
The movie is rated PG-13. Be aware, as the characters get older, so does their focus audience, so you may want to think twice about bringing smaller children along until you’ve seen the movie yourself. It was very much worth seeing a second time. Think I’ll give this one a 4.9.