Movie Name: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Studio: Heyday Films
Release Date(s): July 3, 2007 (Premiere)/July 11, 2007 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Lord Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes) is back, but the Wizarding World is divided if Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is telling the truth or fabricating the encounter. With the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy) cracking down on Harry and appointing Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) to Hogwarts to keep an eye on Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), Harry questions if he should keep his friends close or act on his own to protect them. Fortunately, Harry’s godfather Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) and the Order of the Phoenix have Harry’s back…and Harry might need his friends more than he thought.
Directed by David Yates, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth film in the Harry Potter series. Based on the 2003 novel by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix follows Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire from 2005. The film was released to one of the biggest openings of all time and received largely positive reviews.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix begins the dark fall from the first films. The end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire brought the return of Voldemort, and now “it’s on”. Viewers will either like this or dislike the dark turn…I think it rather works.
The story is dark…quite dark. It introduces two of the best villains of Harry Potter in Delores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange. They fit the story well which goes from a fun series to a series where suddenly every character is in danger. Things like Quidditch have been cut and instead most of the darkness have been left in. The movie’s final involves Sirius’ death and a continuing darkness that proceeds through most of the movies.
The cast remains a high point of the series as a whole. The young actors have grown into good young actors and the series continues to add good English actors to the cast. Imelda Staunton is a scene stealer as Dolores Umbridge, and I think possibly one of the best Harry Potter villains in her cool coldness. Helena Bonham Carter is the flipside as the over the top Bellatrix and she even ruptured Matthew Lewis’ eardrum when she was holding Neville hostage.
Visually, the movies also remain strong (and we finally get to see an all-out magic fight). The first two films of the series were pretty weak by playing up the fantasy and kid aspect, but the movies have looked great since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (which I still feel is the strongest of the films and books).
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a solid entry in the Harry Potter series. The movies continue to be strong but the darkness is taking over the fun. I like darkness and I enjoy it, but it can be somewhat unbalanced while still attempting fun. This becomes a larger problem in the next film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince which was released in 2009 and took a slightly lighter tone.