Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

potterphoenix_guide_1184800419.jpg (590×396)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Gambon, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, David Thewlis, Helena Bonham Carter,Evanna Lynch and Imelda Staunton.

After Voldemort's return, Harry is haunted by his demons and no one accepts his parables of the dark lords return to be true. The Ministry of Magic out of fear begin to take over Hogwarts. 

While all the films generally focus on Harry Potter, the fifth year tends to dwell more into a darker place in his life. With the loss of a student by the hands of his enemy, he has been reduced to a liar. His own classmates discard him as an individual out for fame and blame him for the death of Cedric. Fear takes over the soul and makes it believe what it wants to rather than seek reason. All part of Voldemort's plan, which gives him far more control then ever in his wildest dreams.

The first taste of his power is where he sends two Dementors to attack Harry, forcing him to use his magic and maybe eliminate Hogwarts from the equation. Unexpectedly we see Potter protect Dudley from the Dementor, when at one point it seemed like he hesitated. Maybe others wouldn't see what I saw but that's my opinion. Though it's the character's duty to protect those in danger, nice to see he cares somewhat for his cousin. 

As later, the Order of the Phoenix makes its introduction to take Harry for asylum. This scene displays a very interesting form of magic, where their secret headquarters appears from the walls of a neighboring building like a the prison chest that held Moody confined. Another interesting character would be the servant of Black manor, Kreacher who doesn't seem to be as lovable as Dobbey but obeys commands. His mumbling against the people living in the house hints us that Black's life in his family must have been filled with drama and dysfunction. The Phoenixmembers were founded by Dumbledore to counter the dark forces of Slytherin's heir and harry feels as if he should fight with them, but as usual, he's shielded for his protection. This presents a problem in our hero's character development. He's the supposed prophecy to defeat Voldemort yet is still treated as a child and not recognized. Truthfully he does have much to learn, but it makes him feel further shadowed from everyone else. Keeping Harry in the dark go on the entire film until the long awaited climax. 

The newest addition to the fifth year at Hogwarts if Dolores Umbridge. If you thought Voldemort was evil, you haven't' seen anything yet. Then again, I never thought I'd see a character on screen in the franchise that made me blurt out "Avada Kedavra" in the auditorium. Vile, vindictive, sinister, malevolent, demonic, diabolic, diabolical, fiendish, hellish, infernal, satanic, unholy...I could go on, but it basically sums up the character throughout the film, and she does it with a smile on her face. The one scene when she waits for Harry in detention, and the camera records her facial expression when she hears a knock is a perfect example of how much I dislike this woman. Then again, it's the level of hate I have for Umbridge that represents how amazingly well executed Imelda portrayed this woman. Interestingly enough is her first name. Dolores translate to English as "pain". in the movie it is basically her signature to steer her points across. 

Potter's leadership grows as he takes on the responsibility as a teacher to the students who feel the need to prepare themselves against Voldemort's followers. Something that I like also with the all the darkness that has separated him from them. More obstacles for Voldemort to fear. And i don't use the word "fear" lightly. if he were so powerful he wound't feel the need to worry about the people around his enemy. it is fear that overruns the Ministry causing the shift in control of Hogwarts, and why the dark lords feels then need to have harry alone, without threats. 

Despite her strange personality, if Harry needed to befriend someone who understood his feelings and pain, it would be Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch). Experience death as well (her mother), Harry manages to act normal around her even if she isn't. Sort of like the voice of reason when you least expect it. 

Severus Snape makes an appearance, like all the other films, but here he serves a greater purpose than just being a poster boy. Helping Potter without caring is interesting, but we see here a glimpse at Snapes past as a student and why his dislike for Harry is thick as blood. But we don't get anynore out of that. No description from the man himself, not even an outburst. 

We conclude with two major climactic battles that shift the course of the story for young Potter. The first would be the Order of the Phoenixprotecting the kids against the Death Eaters. We are treated to an almost father and son interaction were Sirius Black and Harry Potter fight together to defeat Lucius and crew. but at the last second in certain victory, the demonically crazed Bellatrix unleashes the blow that kills Black. The protagonist's breaking point is shattered and his rage grows enough to seek vengeance but doesn't succ*mb to killing her, and is left at the mercy of Voldemort, which brings the second battle: Voldemort vs Dumbledore. Master vs Apprentice. Student vs Teacher. There is something about this theme that has taken the world by storm as epic confrontations. Notable examples would be Darth Vader vs Obi-Wan Kenobi: I'd mention others but they don't seem to come up. But it is this type of confrontation that makes it almost poetic. Has the student surpassed the teacher? Will the master do what he never wishes to accomplish? Must a mentor destroy what he feared all along? 

On a funny observation,the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore marks the birth of Tom's "NYAAAAH!!".

The Actors:

Danielle Radcliffe: Does an amazing job at Playing the haunted child. The scene where his mind is being attacked causing him physical pain was beautifully done. A clear example that with each passing film, his skills as an actor increase considerably. 

Helena Bonham Carter: Odd she'd be acting as a mental patient here when you would expect her to do it in Burton's films. Either way, she brings Bellatrix Estrange to life like a rotten black rose, but as an amazing antagonist to Voldemort's army. 

Imelda Staunton: As I said, she brings life to the character's villainous nature marvelously. 

Jason Issacs: We all know he has talent when it comes to be playing theevil role. Attempting to manipulate Radcliffe's character to submitting the prophecy was truly an achievement in his career with this franchise. When he starts talking I simply go into a trance. His characters get a smooth feel even if they are the bad guys. 

Evanna Lynch: I couldn't help but smile each and every time she came on screen. Her character simply made the film more enjoyable, especially when she talked about the "Nargles". 

The Visuals:

The battle between the headmaster and student had great visual effects. The cinematography through the movie's dark tone really made it for me. The costume selection was perfect and the halls of the Ministry divine.

The Bad:

The relationship between Harry and Cho was too awkward and not well developed. I've heard they have more interactions in the book. A few plot holes here and there. Harry's father tormenting Snape wasn't explained to detail, forcing me to guess. Hard to believe Rowling approved of the script with many questions. What about the Veil? What about Padfoot? why did Black refer to Harry as James? was it because he reminded him of James Potter or because of Harry's middle name? And why didn't Voldemort get wet?


A darker chapter, vile antagonists and a prophecy yet to be told. 


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