Quick-Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Screened at Cinépolis; ??? Viewing

Noticeably more dilated than its underwhelming predecessor, the fifth year of cinema’s detour into Hogwarts smartly chooses to utilize a majority of its runtime to progress the soon-to-be war against good and evil, despite how flagrant it can get at times with its constant emotional efforts. Order of the Phoenix features keen undertones of how archetypal religious organizations implemented abusive methods to achieve order and even comments on the basics of political corruption. Using this background, the movie sets forth a classic coming-of-age, rebellion narrative where the students must learn to collectively flourish despite circumstances surrounding the newly manipulated school-grounds, all while The Dark Lord is at large, hiding his existence amongst the frightened Ministry of Magic.

The focal point of Year 5 whirls itself into a deeper dive at Harry Potter’s feelings of being cut off from those who surround him as serious affairs begin to spiral closer and closer to the foregrounds of the narrative; that moment where he bursts into anger at Dumbledore is genuinely one of my favorite acting bits from Radcliffe in this entire franchise and is a prime example of exactly what I’m talking about. Harry’s decisions are beginning to furthermore feel more consequential in this entry than in the previous outings; an awareness has been wistfully given to Potter as he begins to realize that those closest to him are now at the risk of fatality because of his connection with Voldemort. 

Not only does Potter get the sufficient arc treatment, however, even Sirius Black and a tad bit of Snape and Neville Longbottom get developed to remarkable extents. And, of course, an Order of the Phoenix review can’t not include a shoutout to Imelda Staunton who is soooooo good as the notorious Dolores Umbridge — she is imposing in every scene she gets, particularly, the unnerving “I must not tell lies” punishment. David Yates is certainly an improvement over Mike Newell in the leadership chair, and it’s no secret that he develops qualitatively as he steadily becomes the trademark director for this series, but I don’t think his talent had come full circle yet in Order of the Phoenix; a lot of the eccentric editing seems to be doing the work for him here. 

Ultimately, the explosive finale of this installment that’s decorated with eye-absorbing set pieces and creative action spectacles does somewhat pay off given the steady build-up set beforehand, even as cheesy as it is overall with what it attempts thematically — especially considering I still don’t truly grasp the psychology of Voledmort’s character and history with his peers; we’re already at the fifth movie in this saga and I don’t understand how the filmmakers expected the cringy “you‘ll never know friendship or love” line to actually hit in an effective way when us as the audience still doesn’t know who The Dark Lord is to that intimate of a degree.

These drawbacks aren’t too serious, however. The overall contribution of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is one that enhances the story forward at a recognizably grand size while furthermore slapping this franchise back on track, so, I approve of it! 

Verdict: B-

Harry Potter Ranked

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is now playing in select theaters.

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