Movie Reviews: Harry Potter

Grade: B-

The newest movie based off of J.K Rowling’s billion dollar series, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” serves an appetizer to its starving fans and leaves them waiting patiently for their meal, which will probably come with the release of the final book.

Once the first two introductory movies were out the way, the series really took off with both “The Prisoner of Azkaban” and “The Goblet of Fire” which could almost stand alone and still be entertaining. Toward the overall plot line they did not provide much, except to introduce a few more disposable characters and heighten the tension between good and evil, but they still were a lot of fun to watch. With the fifth in the series finally released, the story definitely leans on the last movie and pushes you toward the next.

In the beginning, Potter is pissed. Angry with teenage angst and that few will believe him when he says Lord Voldemort is back in town, he is quick to shout and wave his wand at those who oppose him. Worst of all, the derby hat wearing Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, is fearful of the fear of Voldemort so he denies this to himself and tells lies to the newspapers, making Potter look a bit crazy. Only after the impossible-not-to-hate Dolores Umbridge unifies (some of) the class do people start to believe that Harry is no liar. Once unified by their necessary disobedience, all that is left is to teach themselves how to defend against the murderous Voldemort.

Potter starts this one out as an angry, rebellious, go-it-alone teenager and really grows into the man he will become. In a lot of ways, it is simply the bridge that connects Harry’s joyous youth from the previous movies to his upcoming adult responsibilities in the final two which will, hopefully, provide a favorable end to all of the escalating action.

It begins to really build up during the training sessions, where Harry takes over the class and progressively teaches them to become better wizards. Unfortunately, the build up does not amount to much in the end. It only builds up to the movies to come, and the climax that does happen, which is the death of a prominent character, is over quickly with not a lot of fuss made about it. However, the showdown at the end is, like in all of the Potters, a fantastic display of visual effects, and if you’re lucky enough to get to an IMAX theater, you can watch that part in 3-D. Also, Harry shares his first on-screen kiss (not in 3-D), which is sloppy and “wet” and made me feel awkward just watching it, but it will probably be the most memorable thing to come from this movie.

Although the story contains the most development for the title character so far, this movie overall, though it keeps itself way above the first two films, is not quite as enjoyable as the fourth and definitely not as well-made as the third. “The Order of the Phoenix” is a necessary transition for Harry, but it leaves the audience unfed. Even so, it is a good time at the movies.