Both directed by David Yates
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released in 2007, the same year as the final Harry Potter book, and featured a third, and final, change in director in the series.
Being the film adaptation of the longest book of the series, naturally, this movie should be one of the longest in the movie series, but ironically it’s one of the shortest. I’ll touch upon this later.
As far as it goes for being a movie, it’s actually not that bad, and is certainly better than the awful ‘adaptation’ that was the Goblet of Fire. However, it still isn’t exactly faithful, and I’ll get to that later too.
The movie does do a good job of highlighting the mindset of Harry, and how that effects the people around him as well, and the way Dumbledore’s Army was used was excellent, making for some proper fun when watching.
The reason for Dumbledore’s Army ever forming, of course, is Dolores Umbridge, and Imelda Staunton is pure evil in this film, and an absolute delight to watch (not in a good way, of course). The accuracy of this portrayal rivals any in the history of movie adaptations, in my opinion.
The craziest thing about all the Harry Potter movies is the quality of the cast, and this one is filled with star-studded names. Gary Oldman, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Richard Griffiths, Helena Bonham Carter’s introduction as Bellatrix Lestrange (simple perfect), Ralph Fiennes, David Thewlis, Robbie Coltrane, David Bradley, Warwick Davis and Julie Walters to only name a few, and that isn’t even mentioning the three that play Harry, Ron and Hermione! Acting is one aspect that this movie does not lack in, and a lot of that is because of the stellar cast.
Now that all of those positives are out of the way, let me get to my main issue with this movie, and that would be the third act. The sequence in the Ministry of Magic in the book is astounding, and a lot of that is because of the series of events that take place. One by one, all of the members of Dumbledore’s Army, except for Neville and Harry, get taken out, and some even in comical ways, like Ron being wrapped in brains, and then Harry and Neville getting isolated by the rest of the Death Eaters. I’ve already mentioned that the run time, in comparison to the rest of the movies, is short, so I feel like this could have been affordable.
Even that isn’t the main problem I have though. My main problem is Neville Longbottom. Since he was only one who survived with Harry, it makes him out to be much better than any of the previous movies did, and even so, when he got battered, bruised and on the verge of being killed, he still pleaded to Harry to not give the crystal ball in,, despite the fact that he’d likely die. This section of the whole book series is one of my very favourites because of what it did for Neville, and I would have greatly appreciated it if the movie did it justice too. It made Neville Longbottom braver than he was ever made out to be, and truly showed everyone that he’s a true Gryffindor. It may seem like a small thing, but when it comes to making characters really great, this should have been focused on.
So, what were two great acts were succeeded by a lackluster third, but even as such, it wasn’t something really bad.
On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: MIHIR
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is my favourite Harry Potter book, and I really do wish I could say the same about the movie.
The thing that this movie got utterly wrong were its priorities. The book, although it was flexible and had quite a load of subplots, was mainly about discovering Lord Voldemort’s past and identifying what it would take to bring him down, for good, and also about the strange behaviour of Draco Malfoy. This was complemented by teenage romance, a mysterious plot about an old Potions book, and quite a few other things going on around other characters. All of this is fine in a book, because a lot more can be put in than with a movie.
The movie, though, mixed up its priorities, and focused too much on the romance. While it was actually an important part of the book, it was nowhere near as important as the two main stories, as well as the Potions book saga, which eventually would make sense with respect to the main story.
An example of what I mean is, the very first memory that Albus Dumbledore shows Harry in the book is missing from the movie, and really, for the sake of the whole series, that memory was very important, because it touched on Lord Voldemort’s parenthood, and the origin of one of his Horcruxes. It baffles me how this wasn’t in the script for the movie.
There were good things about the movie, no doubt about it. Jim Broadbent’s portrayal of Horace Slughorn, for instance, was sublime, and the way Ron’s and Hermione’s characters were handled was pretty good, as was the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore. But what could have been a great movie was toned down because it focused on things that it really shouldn’t have focused on, and that’s disappointing to me. And also, regarding the whole scene where The Burrow gets burned down… Why? It wasn’t in the book, and all it really told me was that the movie was desperate for something exciting.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: MIHIR