Harry Potter takes on the evil forces of Lord Voldemort in the Order of the Phoenix.
Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix is the fifth film in the series and is noteworthy for a number of changes. In this film we now see Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends at the Hogwarts School as a lot older, very much in their teens. For the first time, we really see Harry linked to the modern era, wearing jeans and black low cut chucks during his leisure time, instead of always dressed up in his school uniform. The film is much darker in tone than some of the previous films in the series, and tends to focus primary on Harry, to the exclusion of his two best friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) as equal partners in the story line. As seems to be the form of these stories, we start in summer break from school, with Harry staying with his Aunt Petunia (Fiona Shaw) and Uncle Vernon Dursley (Richard Griffiths) and their son Dudley (Harry Melling). This reviewer is convinced that author J. K. Rowling must have watched Monty Python’s “Most Obnoxious Family” bits to come of with this group of people. Why Harry would ever want to return to their home is one of the inexplicable parts of the story line, but it always works as a set up for starting the main action. Usually Harry is somehow provoked by their obvious dislike for him into commiting some breach of the conduct code set by the Ministry of Magic. In this film, Dudley and his friends, along with Harry, who is still depressed over the death of his friend Cedric in the previous story, are at a playground near their house when dark clouds quickly gather overhead. Harry quickly realizes that this is the start of some supernatural attack, and when everyuone scatters, he and Dudley seek refuge in a nearby underpass. Two ghostly Dementers fly in and attack them, trying to suck out their life forces. The only way Harry can defend himself is to use his wand and shout out some magic words that send the Dementers reeling. When Harry brings back the stunned Dudley to their house, he is of course blamed for what happened. This is further complicated by a swiftly arriving missive from the Ministrry of Magic demanding that Harry appear before a court of inquisition due to his use of magic in public.
Harry, Hermoine, Ron, and the other students on his team prepare to take on the evil forces of Voldemort.
Luckily for Harry, some of his supporters led by Professor Moody (Brendan Gleeson) arrive and whisk him away on broomsticks to the Order of Phoenix headquarters in London. Here Harry meets up again with Ron and his family, Hermione, and Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) who help prepare him for his hearing. Harry’s statements that there are evil forces loose offend the leadership of the Ministry of Magic, and they constantly make accusations against Harry in their newspaper. Eventually Harry is cleared of wrong-doing, but this incident turns out to be only one in a series of bad incidents that will plague Harry. When Harry and his friends return to the Hogwarts School, things are different for him. No longer are things light and fun, as he constantly is haunted by dreams and visions sent from his arch-enemy Lort Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Due to the bad publicity that Harry received due to his hearing before the magic court, many of his former friends and acquaintances are keeping their distance. Worst of all, the Ministry of Magic has sent a bureacrat Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) to reform the school, and particularly to keep Harry in line. Dolores starts by taking over the dark arts classes, and then eventually takes control over the entire school from Headmaster Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), even dismissing faculty who she considers weak, and installing a very restrictive code of conduct on the students.
Sirius Black points out to Harry where the attack is coming from.
Professor Umbridge’s strict rules prohibit the students from gathering in any sort of group without her approval. Harry knows that his fellow students must be trained in the dark arts in order to have any chance against the coming attack from Lord Voldemort. The only way that this can be done is to defy her rules and meet in secret. Harry is able to enlists the help of Ron and Hermione, of course, but also others like Cho Chang (Katie Leung), Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright). Despite the efforts of Umbridge and her student lackeys to stop them, the training sessions go on and Harry is able to put together a force ready to go for the final showdown with the forces of Voldemort. Just like the opening scene with Harry’s “family”, you can always look forward to a great final clash of good vs. evil magic, filled with special effects, and some interesting twists and turns of the plot. Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix doestn’t disappoint you in that regard, as the final half hour prresents the inevitable confrontation in the Ministry of Magic between Harry, his school friends, and his allies Sirius Black and Headmaster Dumbledore and the dark forces of Lord Voldemort.
An exhausted Harry recovering from his battle with Lord Voldemort.
The Harry Potter series of films has shown some development over the past few years. No longer just products of the phenomenon of the wildly successful books, the movies have evolved from just relatively faithful transciriptions of Rowlings stories of magic, to message movies that present the audience with ideas of political and social signficance. While the films’ creators would probably deny it, the viewer can see that the film’s depictions of government bureaucracy in the form of the Ministry of Magic, its tabloid press, the takeover of the Hogwarts School of Wizardry in a very fascist manner, the brief look at British midddle class society as depicted by the Dursley family, and its overall concept of good versus evil are making important statements about peoples’ attitudes and the use of power to the film’s audience. Just as the success of the books has re-introduced the importance and joy of reading to a new generation, the films are making important points to audiences who mostly come for special effects and action sequences. These messages seem to be the more important emphasis of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix than its simple and somewhat predictable story line. The films series is also notable for the development of Daniel Radcliffe as an actor. He has shown us a number of times now that he has what it takes to carry a film like this, and this fifth installment is especially focused on the character of Harry, pretty much to the exclusion of all of the other characters. Along with Radcliffe’s work, there are the wonderful cameo appearances of so many great British character actors, led by Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, Gary Oldman, and in this film Imelda Stanton and Helen Bonham Carter. The ominous nature of the story line continually returns us to the inner conflicts within Harry Potter himself, so instead of the lightness and fun of the first couple of movies, we are constantly focused on the dark side of the magic world. Harry Potter has reached his coming of age in this film. Will his future be one of happiness and fun or will he continually be embroiled in an epic crisis of good versus evil?
Harry and his friends are suspended in midair.
At the opening of the film Harry is at a playground, and we first see his shadow and his chucks.
The best chucks scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the opening scene, when we see Harry wearing black low cut chucks for the first time and realize that Harry is another chucks guy. Daniel Radcliffe is seen wearing them throughout the film (except when wearing his formal school uniform) and in all of the best action sequences. The presence of chucks in the film gives an indication for the first time that the stories are meant to be in modern times.
When the Dementors attack Harry, the camera focuses on his chucks as he is being lifted up the wall of the underpass.
We also see fellow student Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) wearing plaid high tops. There is a great shot at the end of the film, when she is looking for missing things that were taken from her, and we see her pair of chucks hanging from one of the arches at the Hogwarts School.
Luna’s chucks are hanging from the rafters.
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