Friday, July 20, 2007

Review: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (NO SPOILERS)

Even in Asia, I managed to watch OOTP in English, yay!

For me, the Harry Potter movies have never managed to bring the magic of the books onto the big screen and OOTP was no different. In terms of the plot, as usual, a ton of detail was cut out as more than seven hundred pages was squeezed into about two hours of screen time. Many things were changed to simplify the plot in order to shorten the movie. It wasn't cut down to the point of GOF where the movie did not have a complete plot and was more of a bunch of scenes from the movie stuck together as a companion for fans of the book. At the same time, however, there was so much cut out of OOTP that the magic of Hogwarts: the students, everyday life, Harry's interaction with his friends, etc. The main plot of the Harry Potter books is of course Harry vs Voldemort, but what makes fans everywhere get sucked in is how we can relate to Harry and through him, "live" at Hogwarts and do magic. In the movie, I just couldn't feel that.

I didn't find any part of the movie particularly boring, but at the same time, there wasn't an emotional high point, this left me with a blank feeling when the movie ended: not good. Those of you who have read the book must think that I'm crazy, but its true. The book is packed with emotion with everything that happens but the way the emotional scenes are presented is so cheesy. It felt like something I've seen in a soap opera or a bad movie. I couldn't feel for Harry the way I felt for him in GOF when Cedric died. "Love conquers all" is the basic theme of all the books, but in the movie it was presented in a very lame way that doesn't allow me to feel the message that is presented on screen. It seems like I've already seen the technique that all these scenes are presented in. I, and movie audiences every where, are tired of melodrama.

I didn't find the acting of the three leads particulary spectacular, I didn't see improvement in terms of acting skills, maybe it was because of the faults in the "emotional" scenes. However, I thought that Imelda Staunton did an excellent job playing Dolores Umbridge, all pink and evil like a piece of poisoned taffy. Her actions fits the description of the book perfectly: evil but pretending to be nice at the same time. She didn't over or under act, she made you hate her, but you feel like you know someone like her in real life, which makes you hate her more.

The costumes were interesting, especially how in certain scenes, charcters seemed to be wearing clothes that the fanfiction reader, writer, and shipper (supporter of certain relationship theories in the HP fandom for those of you who don't know) in me was dying to get a screencap of for banner making purposes of future fanfiction stories. I like the musical score better than the one from GOF, I think I will get the soundtrack once I get the chance.

Overall, I liked it more than GOF, but it still doesn't meet my standards of what a good movie is.

Overall rating: 3/5

I heard somewhere that David Yates is directing the next movie ("Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince"), this worries me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you know what I agree with you. my brother and I saw the movie together and we both loved it at first. it wasn't until we sat to talk about the movie that we realized that too much was cut out. we understand that a 700 page book couldn't fit into a 2 hour movie, but couldn't they at least try to fit some of the details, like the fact that Ron finally makes it onto the quiddish team and that both he and Hermione become prefects, and how the OWLS help direct Harry in the direction of what he would like to do with the rest of his life, like becoming a Auror. I mean they are in a school and they totally cut out all that makes it a school. it might as well taken place in an apartment complex somewhere. here they all are in the fifth year, preparing for life after Hogsworth and nothing, not a mention of the fact that through all this, they still have school work to worry about. that is the great thing about the books, we don't forget that these are teenagers doing school work being clever and facing life while preparing for adulthood.