Monthly Archives: July 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixAs a huge Harry Potter fan, I was predestined to be disappointed with the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. That this was the longest book coupled with the fact that it had less of a tangible plot than any of the other books made it a difficult episode to film. David Yates mastered the psychological aspects of Harry’s coming of age, but unfortunately he failed to craft a cohesive story out of the parts of the book that actually had a plot. The whole film moved at a breakneck pace that it was impossible to absorb everything that was happening even for someone well-seasoned with the plotline. Why were there dementors in Surrey any way? Why was Dumbledore avoiding Harry throughout the whole movie? Did Sirius really die? Most importantly, the fifth chapter of the series had two purposes: to show Harry as an emotional youth and to introduce the prophecy that would define the rest of the series. As mentioned earlier, the former goal was met with astounding deft as Radcliffe earns his title as an actor. In one film, he believably portrays anger, love, friendship and grief. However, the focus on the prophecy is practically non-existent and without it, the movie has no plot other than evading Dolores Umbridge (brilliantly portrayed by Imelda Staunton). The gravity of the prophecy, including who made it, how Voldemort interpreted it, and what it means for Harry’s future is left virtually unexplored. A common trend among all of the Harry Potter movies, the director greatly abbreviates the expository scene at the end of every book in which Dumbledore explains everything to Harry. Generally, in a visual medium, it is indeed better to show something rather than have a character tell it, but one way or the other, the message never reached the audience. Finally, one pivotal plot change is that Harry never hears the full prophecy from Dumbledore where he is told that Voldemort marked him as his equal, thus creating his own enemy. These are all subtle plot points, but the subtlety is what added to the magical allure of the novels, not the sheer force of plot points succeeding one another.