Voldemort is back. But even with the backing of Prof. Dumbledore, Harry Potter cannot convince people of the danger.
Perhaps now he and his friends must take action to defend themselves. Perhaps they need to form an army?
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is having a miserable, lonely summer break. Even this gets worse though when it is briefly interupted as he and Dudley Dursley (Harry Melling) are attacked by Dementors. Surviving the attack only through Harry’s use of magic, the two return home only to find that Harry is to be expelled from Hogwart’s for a serious breach of the prohibition on underage magic.
However, that sentence is revoked and a trial takes place instead. Before that Harry meets up with his friends, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) at the enchanted home of Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), Harry’s Godfather. Harry obviously looks up to the rather roguish, charasmatic Sirius, a fact that rather worries those who have been helping Harry so far.
Harry learns that his adult friends are the surviving members of the Order of the Pheonix. The Order was formed to resist Voldemort in the first battles fourteen years earlier.
As Harry is acquited in a dramatic trial, mainly due to the influence of Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), he must prepare for another year at Hogwart’s.
Yet another change of Defence Against the Dark Arts tutor, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) heralds more radicle changes at the school. It seems clear to Harry and his friends that the Ministry of Magic – who directly appointed Umbridge – is not only meddling in Hogwart’s affairs but is also coming under the quite influence of dark forces.
As Umbridge refuses to teach the pupils any magic except theory, Harry and his friends form a secret society which they call Dumbledore’s Army. This only escallates the Ministry’s involvement however and things only get worse.
Harry soon learns two things:
- There seems to be a diretct link between him and Voldemort allowing Harry to see some of what the Dark Lord sees.
- There is a prophesy related to Harry and Voldemort at the Ministry of Magic, Dept. of Mysteries.
A dark, dangerous and ultimately disasterous plan is formed by Dumbledore’s Army.
If the mood has slowly been getting darker in the last few movies, this is the point where the darkness starts to win of the light of innocent youth.
Order of the Pheonix pushes the story forward at decent pace, taking what went before and accelerating as the Death Eaters finally have their leader back.
The effects are excellent once more. My favourite is huge, vast collection of prophesies tumbling down after Ginny (Bonnie Wright) fails to appreciate her own power.
Acting is a step up again for the young cast, and the old cast too. Maggie Smith has a good foil to bumb against as her Prof. McGonagall clashes full on with Prof. Umbridge, played by Imelda Staunton.
That giggle from Umbridge really gives me the creeps.
All the support get to expand their characters in the background. It is harsh to leave anyone out but notable are Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch and Devon Murray as Neville, Luna and Seamus respectively.
New adult support is led of course by Imelda Staunton’s wonderful turn as Umbridge but we also get Tonks, played by Natalia Tena, and the weirdly compelling Helen Bonham Carter as the utterly insane Bellatrix Lestrange.
All those that return boost the story along, and it is nice to see some returning characters like Lupin, Mad Eye and Trelawney. As expected Gary Oldman steals all his scenes!
This movie marks the point at which the adaptations start to play a little with the story as the book is too long to fit everything into the film effectively.
The movie is though extremely effective. It is simply very, very well done.
Things to look out for: “He is not back!“, Dementor’s in the wild, “Justice!“, Nigel returns (Yeah!), “It’s gonns be fine, Nigel.“, trial, “…by happy mistake, I arrived three hours early.“, the Black residence, “He’s really back?“, Room of Requirement, “Five against one. That’s brave.“, Kreecher, “I must not tell lies.“, interupted Quidditch match, “Obviously.“, Dept. of Mysteries, “Nice one, James!“, Ginny’s rather powerful magic, “I may vomit.“, duel at the Ministry, “Something worth fighting for.“, death of a friend, “He’s back!”
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Imelda Staunton, Gary Oldman, Mark Williams, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Griffiths, Maggie Smith, Fiona Shaw, Tom Felton, Alan Rickman, Julie Walters
Rating: very dark, sad and yet exciting story, very highly recommended
Part of “Harry Potter, The Complete 8-Film Collection”