Saturday, 11 October 2014

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Part 1

The speed I’m watching the films seems to have caught up with the speed that I’m reading the books now. Even though the last book review I posted was actually Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the last one I actually read (before watching the film of Order of the Phoenix) was conveniently enough Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It meant that the book was still fresh enough in my head for me to remember the salient points, and that I was watching the film as a little refresher before I went on to read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

I’m almost certainly not going to be this organise when it comes to watching/reading the final films and book.

This review is being split into five parts, like most of the others, because I can’t shut up and my bullet points as I watched the film ran to 5,500 words. Roll on NaNo, I hope I can do that every Saturday during November!

In this instalment, Harry and his cousin are attacked by Dementors and Harry is summarily punished for defending himself. We also meet Luna Lovegood and the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Umbridge.

1. This one feels very cinematic in the beginning. It’s all so much darker than the earlier films were, both figuratively and literally.

2. Harry’s at the park and it’s hot. Everything is all sort of parched and brown-looking.

3. Slightly distracting here when you first see Dudley because he’s grown up to look a little bit like someone I actually know. He’s also trying to talk without actually moving his lips too much, Dudley the ventriloquist.

4. Harry doesn’t react well to Dudley’s taunts and suddenly the weather takes a turn for the worse. Dudley’s friends abandon him and Dudley and Harry decide not to hang around either.

5. If anything, the underpass is even less comfortable than the weather outside.

6. It’s all very dramatic with Dudley and Harry being attacked by the Dementors. Everything is kind of choppy, but it works, you get a sense of confusion and being taken unawares.

7. Harry Expecto Patronums the Dementors away and then Mrs Figg shows up. The revelation that she knows about the Wizarding World would be bigger if we’d seen her being a crazy cat lady earlier in the series (like in the books).

8. What is Aunt Petunia wearing?

9. Vernon is not too happy about Dudley’s current state.

10. I’ve just noticed Dudley has a scar of his own on his forehead, interesting. Don’t have too long to dwell on this, however because Harry’s just been expelled from Hogwarts.

11. I do like the bit with Vernon and Petunia sneaking Dudley into the car to take him to hospital.

12. And now Harry’s left in the house alone to have flashbacks about the last film, uh, I mean, before the summer holidays. Except he’s interrupted by a sound downstairs and the key turning in his door. If he’s got a key on this side of the door, how did Vernon lock him in?

13. I love the rescue with Moody, and the introduction to Tonks and Kingsley. When I read the books I can’t help but picture Kingsley as he is in the films.

14. And then there’s a nice bit with flying over London. Very pretty with all the lights and everything. Apparently they’re not too worried about secrecy.

15. Apparently Grimmauld Place is in Albert Square.

16. I love the way all the houses squeeze out of the way, that’s just the way it seems to happen in the book.

17. Grimmauld Place is all dark and dingy, which does make it difficult to see what’s happening on the screen. Also, is Tonks kind of flirting with Harry?!

18. Never really thought about it much before, but there’s something about Sirius and Remus in the doorway that makes me kind of see what all the slash fic writers are talking about.

19. I remember reading somewhere that J.K. Rowling said that Kreacher absolutely had to feature in this film because of his having a bigger role later in the series and that’s why we get that little glimpse of him.

20. Hermione clearly knows more about what’s going on than Harry does. Which is useful because otherwise people who hadn’t read the book wouldn’t really know what was going on. Luckily Harry doesn’t know what’s going on either because he’s been deliberately kept in the dark.

21. Why is the disapparation not explained here? Fred and George just appear from nowhere and nobody bats an eyelid.

22. Love how Ron is just like ‘Hermione, I hate your cat’ when Crookshanks steals the Extending Ear.

23. Also *snorfle* at Mrs Weasley’s ‘whip your wands out’ comment.

24. It is not really a happy dinner. Harry’s got to learn what everyone thinks of him. Poor guy. And then Sirius nearly spills too much and Molly decides enough is enough.

25. I do like Sirius’s little smile when Harry says he wants to join the order. Gary Oldman is perfect as Sirius.

26. Love how baffled Mr Weasley is by public transport. I love these little scenes that show you how the wizarding world interacts with the Muggle one.

27. I will stop gushing soon I promise, but how awesome is the Ministry of Magic?! It’s maybe not exactly as I imagine it as I read the books, but it’s still pretty damn perfect.

28. Siegfried Fudge’s outfit looks kind of funny. His hat is something else!

29. Can’t help but think Harry looks really small and quite young during the whole hearing scene. Makes me definitely sympathise with him, especially because he’s facing all these adults in funny hats looking down at him.

30. Dumbledore is awesome. That is all.

31. Siegfried Fudge does not look impressed at the news there was a witness to the attack. Unfortunately the witness is Mrs Figg who doesn’t really seem to be helping that much.

32. Dumbledore is kind of twisting the whole hearing into a hint of political sparring with Fudge. He’s really the sort of person you would want to defend you if you were in trouble for something, presuming you were in the right obviously, if not I’m sure he’d tell you exactly how things should be and would come up with a fitting punishment too.

33. Poor Harry, completely ignored by Dumbledore.

34. I do wish they hadn’t missed out the celebration afterwards and the prefects stuff. Instead we’re heading straight to the Hogwarts Express.

35. Sirius appears to be wearing nothing but a jacket when he changes from a dog into a person this time. Was that what he was wearing before he left the house or how exactly do clothes work when he transfigures?

36. Harry gets a little vision as he heads for the train. Or maybe it’s a dream because the next minute he’s waking up in a carriage.

37. And here’s Draco and his cronies provoking Harry. Ron actually has to hold him back! Harry’s definitely got the moody, brooding thing going on this year.

38. Oh, and the carriage they’re to ride up to school is apparently pulled by a large undead horse creature which no one else can see. Apart from the reassuringly crazy Luna Lovegood. I love Luna and she really could not be played any better. She’s really perfect.

39. Hagrid is apparently missing from the feast and we get introduced to Umbridge. She’s all pink and frilly. Umbridge is another character who doesn’t look exactly the way I picture her when I read the books, but she is totally perfect in the film. She has a bit of thing for alliteration, doesn’t she?

40. Hermione translates the Umbridge speech for Harry, Ron and the rest of us. The Ministry is Interfering at Hogwarts.

Which is a suitably sinister place to wrap things up for this week.

Next week the kids realise that their Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher is incompetent and so take matters into their own hands. Oh yeah, and there’s snogging!

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