Yes Potter fans, the most awaited moment of the year is here (unless you’re looking forward to the book release more). David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hit cinemas across the globe on 11th of July.
Where to begin when speaking about one of the most awaited and talked about releases of 2007? When you have a script of such high calibre, direction of such high calibre, art direction, soundtrack, special effects and last but not least the performances are of such high calibre that it’s impossible to sum the experience up.
Let’s begin with the story in a nutshell. Once again Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his 5th year. However Hogwarts is not the same. With the return of Voldermort, life in the magical world is not so pleasant. Constant fear surrounds everyone that hears of the possible return of the Dark Lord and worst of all Harry Potter himself doesn’t know what to do now that he has seen with his very own eyes the return of He Who Must Not Be Named.
A group of witches and wizards are re-formed to prepare for what is going to be one hell of a war. 14 years ago the same Order of the Phoenix was formed and together they had fought the Dark Lord. Back then the Order consisted of quite familiar personalities such as Harry’s parents, Neville Longbottom’s parents and all of Harry’s Dad’s best friends.
Harry battles the previously introduced Dementors in the muggle (human) world and therefore is charged by the Ministry of Magic for practicing magic outside the school. Thus begins Harry’s journey in his 5th year. He is immediately taken under the wings of the Order however no information about what is happening is disclosed to Harry.
Hogwarts is no longer under the caring watch of Albus Dumbledore. With the Daily Prophet (newspaper in the magical world) spreading outrageous rumours about Harry Potter’s lies regarding the return of the Dark Lord and how Dumbledore is not fit to be in the role of Headmaster. With a new headmaster and a new Defence Against The Dark arts teacher, students are terrified of how they will ever learn to defend themselves against the dark arts, especially when this knowledge is in high demand with the return of the Dark Lord.
Thus the DA is formed. Harry Potter, with his duelling and defence against the dark arts expertise, tutors a group of students on the necessary magical tools needed when faced with dark arts.
The rest of the movie takes you through the journey of Harry Potter in his 5th year as he battles a irritating Headmaster, emotional dilemmas, social issues and ofcourse once again embarks on a mission where Good is to win over Evil.
A brand new director, David Yates, brings his own interpretation of Harry Potter, one of the best selling novels across the globe. Millions of fans with unlimited imagination have imagined each page of this novel since the day it was released. To be the director of Harry Potter and to bring those pages into life is probably one of the hardest tasks any maker will face in cinema. The job only gets harder when you have billions of fans who will watch each scene with extreme amounts of scrutiny, absolutely ready to pounce on the smallest mishap. David Yates manages to bring on one of the most memorable Potter movies onto celluloid.
Each Potter movie till date only seems to be getting less “childish” and more serious and to the verge of highly intelligent cinema. No longer are these movies a depiction of children’s novel, like it is usually stereotyped (even though HP is read by all ages). The makers and the actors only seem to be getting more and more serious of their job.
In the Order of the Phoenix there are some scenes that have been fantastically brought onto screen and deserve special mentioning.
Firstly there is the opening scene in the dementor attack. This scene is so realistically shot and from the very start the audiences get the feel of how dark and full of fear Harry’s year is about to be.
Secondly is the freeing of Fred and George. One imagined the scene to be extravagant, however, what comes up on screen is perhaps beyond anyone’s imagination.
Last but not the least, the climax and duelling that takes place. It was most likely impossible for fans to imagine the depiction of a duel. It’s not something we’ve seen in real life such as gun fights of hand combat. The special effects are marvelous and the feel brought to the final climax simply adds to a mind-blowing ending.
Two characterisations also stand out throughout the movie.
Firstly it is Dolores Umbridge. With the entry of this character the audiences are able to feel strong amounts of hatred for her. J K Rowling spent considerable amount of time describing this character in the novel and David Yates and the team have made full use of this description in getting the character absolutely up to standard. The performance of course only adds to the fantastic characterisation of Dolores Umbridge.
Secondly it is Luna Lovegood that is one of the other highlights of the movie. The actress herself is to be admired for her work. The maker has absolutely explored every scene that this character is mentioned in the novel. One that hasn’t read the novel would absolutely be able to understand the importance of Luna and of course her relationship with Harry. Perhaps in the coming novel J K will explain why she had spent such considerable amounts of time making this character stand out.
Performance wise, each and ever actor in the whole cast has grown immensely since the last movie. And one only has to go back and watch the first installment of the novel to witness the huge growth as actors that has occurred in Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. Daniel Radcliffe especially needs to be commended for his work in the climax. The scene was quite obviously tougher than a death scene as it required him to be possessed by Dark Lord and fight a mind invasion. Not a common sight at all. However the actor managed the scene amazingly and it clearly showed his growth as an actor. Even if the Harry Potter series will end one day, Daniel Radcliffe surely has a bright future in cinema.
A few scenes were cleverly edited out from the novel. Characterisation of Tonks and other members of the Order were left undiscovered. Also the history of the Black house wasn’t explored in as much detail as in the book. A few other minor factors were left out. However not anything highly influential was left out which is very hard task for a screenplay writer when creating the screenplay of Harry Potter. The books are in such detail and to sum it up in few hours of film is not an easy task.
On the whole, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will most likely rise to the expectations of most fans. Some may be disappointed with minor details not being taken into account but most will be impressed. A definite must watch for this summer. HP as always looks like it will have a very successful run in cinemas across the globe as fans rush to catch their favourite wizard in the fight of good versus evil.