Rating: 3.5 of 5
I didn’t like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I think I will probably the second or third time I see it (on video). Because the things that were done were mostly done well.
I loved the performances. I think obviously the kids are growing up and getting better. But I also think everyone was better in this one which I think is because of the director. I think that may be the only thing I like about the director right now.
I would have liked for it to have been at least another half hour longer. The thing that about the Harry Potter movies isn’t that we want to see a movie, we want to see the books come to life. David Yates just filmed a movie. I didn’t feel immersed in this imaginary world. I wanted some moments to linger and they just came and went so we could get onto the next moment.
I didn’t like the scene at the end with Dumbledore and Harry sitting in some spare corridor in two chairs talking about what happened for 12 minutes. Another one of the nice things about the books is Dumbledore and Harry’s conversations at the end. It’s like, now that we’ve been through all this we’re given a moment to sort things out and take the time to find insight and understanding since most of what we’ve experienced wasn’t what it seemed anyway. I felt the scene was too stark. It should be in the warmth of Dumbledore’s office or in the hospital wing as a contrast to the darkness of everything before it. It was also far too short. I felt short changed.
Now, as my own devil’s advocate – this could have been made brief to intentionally minimize Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship so it doesn’t distract from the potency of Sirius and Harry; strengthening the idea that Sirius is the most important person in Harry’s life or the person who loves him the most. I get that. But I still think there are things that needed to be done in this scene that weren’t done, so it’s still my least favorite scene in the movie.
I didn’t like how they handled the prophecy. I didn’t like Harry hearing it in the prophecy room. I didn’t like the kids not throwing it around to keep it from the Death Eaters. I didn’t like Dumbledore having heard the original prophecy and so being able to tell Harry what it said after it broke. It gave them a nice chance to discuss the prophecy, what it meant and why it was important to Voldemort.
Also, having Harry not hear it in the prophecy room raises the stakes in the battle with the Death Eaters. If Harry has already heard the prophecy, what’s to keep him from just breaking it and them running for their lives? Sure the Death Eaters will try to kill them – but they’re doing that already and it would ensure that Voldemort never got a hold of it. If no one has heard it then it has value to both sides and they have something to fight over.
Especially because (and I’m pretty sure this is from Half-Blood Prince) there’s a whole wrinkle about Snape having also overheard a portion of the prophecy. The director of Half-Blood Prince is going to have to now deal with what Yates left out. ETA: Well, since Yates directed both it’s really his own problem to work out.
I also didn’t like the battle at the ministry before Voldemort showed up. For starters it was too short. I didn’t miss all the different rooms so much. I missed seeing the kids fighting against the Death Eaters more, doing some damage but mostly losing. I missed seeing the kids get hurt because then it wasn’t just a threat of violence from the Death Eaters – it was an actual dangerous situation. If we had delved more into the battle it would have been more satisfying when the Order showed up. And I would have liked to have seen more of the battle with the Order and the Death Eaters. I don’t think I saw a single frame of Tonks fighting anyone. Or Lupin. I wanted more.
(again as my own devil’s advocate that’s probably a budgetary thing since elongating that fight with its cgi would be pretty expensive).
Isn’t this the book where Aunt Petunia gets a letter from Dumbledore reminding her why he’s lived with them for so long? Or Harry learns why he has to go back each year? Because I missed that.
Overall, because it deviated so much from the book that’s all I can think about right now. But, except for the scene with Harry and Dumbledore at the end, what they did include all worked really well. The performances were the strongest across the board. It looked good. The montages of Umbridge taking over and Harry training the D.A. worked really well and moved the story along. I’m sure I’ll like it more once I come to terms will all the things I didn’t like.