I've just seen Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the 3rd time. As a Harry Potter fan it was necessary to see it on opening day. We tried to make the midnight showing, but I was on the telephone for too long to get to Jackson on time to see the movie. Instead we saw it at 4:30 the next day. We saw it again on Saturday and then today, which is Tuesday. So the movie has been out less than week and I've seen it 3 times. That is a personal record! I like the movie.
I don't want to give away the story any more than necessary...so if you have not seen HP5, there might be some spoilers in the information below. If you read on...be aware of that!
Order of the Phoenix, the book, is the longest one in the series to date...yet this is the shortest movie. To make the movie so short, a lot of the book is cut out. There are no quidditch scenes, Harry's disasterous date with Cho is gone, Luna's character is not well developed, the rivalry that exists between Slytherin and Griffindor is gone...and the list goes on. So, while the book and movie are different, they start and end at the same place. I believe that this movie is simpler than the other four. There are no subplots, because they have been removed. Umbridge is still Umbridge...and if you disliked her in the book, you will dislike her more in the movie. I'm beginning to like Michael Gambon's portrayal of Dumbledore, but he really cannot replace the first Dumbledore played by Richard Harris. I don't think Michael Gambon shows the same "love" for Harry that Richard Harris showed. He does not have the same sparkle in his eyes...and his wardrobe is far too boring. Richard Harris had several fancy robes while Gambon wears the same blue one all the time.
The characters are growing up. The round faced kid who played the 11 year old Harry Potter has been replaced with an angular teen. Hermione is turning out to be a pretty young woman. Ron is taller and just as ugly as ever. Not only have the kids grown up, you can see the adult characters have aged too since first blush. Vernon has gained a hundred pounds; Lucius Malfoy is not as "slick" looking as he was; and Mr. Weasley looks more tired and weary. It could be just make-up, but it's convincing.
Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint have improved their acting skills, while Emma Watson has not. She does better when she recites a defintion from memory then when she has a conversation with a friend. Toward the end of the movie, she was acting better. Daniel and Rupert were in better form than Emma. All three say that they do not need to work another day as they have made enough money from the HP movies. To that end, I hope the money and fame does not wreck their lives.
I do not know if the movie works as a "stand alone" movie or not. I've read the book and heard the CDs far too many times to know. I do know that the movie does work for me. It's filled with action. It's dark, but not as dark as the book. It sets the stage well for HP 6. I wonder when that will be released. I've read that it is in production and the "kids" have been signed on to star in the last 2 movies.
To that end, Book 7 of the series comes out on the 20th of July. I will be awaiting the book from Amazon.com with mixed emotions. I ordered it the first possible ordering day to be delivered to my house on the 20th. The story and the characters are alive in my head and while I want to find out what happens to story and to them, I am saddened that I will not read another NEW Harry Potter story. The continuing adventures will be missed by me and by a lot of avid fans. To get ready for the new book, I re-listened to HP6. When the book arrives, I'm turning off the phone, disconnecting from the Internet and my husband and I are going to read it to each other until we are too hoarse to talk. We'll go to bed and wake up early the next day and start reading again until we are finished. We read HP6 in a day and half. I wonder how long it will take us to read HP 7?