Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson,
Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon

Rated: PG-13 
Reviewed by: Chris  
Release date: July 13, 2007 Released by: Warner Brothers

Harry, (Daniel Radcliff) has grown into a teen as the fifth film in the series opens at home during the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry's summer break.

When he returns to school, much has changed and not for the better. The Ministry of Magic has installed a controlling and strict new teacher (Imelda Staunton) who is eager to take over for the fatherly Headmaster, Dumbledor. She's full of rules which are displayed on plaques in a huge hall for each student to obey. If not followed the punishment can be severe, and young Potter appears to be in her targeted sights as he resists the changes.

Harry's two friends, Hermoine (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) also return, along with most of the cast from the earlier films. The kids have grown and some of the personalities have changed, Hermoine's personality has softened and Ron has developed his level of courage.

Although younger kids are drawn to the J.K. Rowlings novels and the movies based on them, this one in particular directed by David Yates, earns its PG-13 rating for a story that has darker and more ominous look.

While the earlier chapters of Harry's exploits had a bit of fun mixed with the darker scenes, we usually see scenes with villains broken up with some whimsy now and then. The schoolroom pranks in the earlier films made the more violent scenes softer and easier to take.

A couple of times the lighting is so low that Harry and his friends are difficult to see as they fly their brooms during nighttime scenes. Even the meeting with Hagrid's giant brother in a forest cave like setting is so dark we have to strain to make out his appearance.

Evil Voldermort is again Harry's tormenter who in a climatic fight is fiery and quite intense rather than imaginative and spectacular.

However, whether it's the students being threatened, or Harry's graphic and scary nightmares or Voldermont's menacing intensiveness which are part of the theme, I prefer more magical fun and play between the dark somewhat frightening scenes.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix B B- B B B- B   B

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