16 July, 2007

movie review: harry potter & the order of the phoenix

well, perse and i saw the latest harry potter flick on friday. easily the worst of the films so far. actually, it was god-awful. based on the mediocre reviews, we'd lowered our expectations and were still disappointed in the movie. it's almost amusing: with one of the weakest books (azkaban), they produced the strongest film. yet handed, perhaps, the strongest and richest of the books, they've managed to produce a rushed, confused and sloppy debacle.

how? with a brutalized script and even worse editing. the acting is what's you've come to expect: harry (radcliffe) is servicable, ron (grint) is good as comic relief and hermoine (watson) still believes that talking loudly and swiftly is the way to convey emotion. the adult supporting staff is still strong. it is the story itself that has been bastardized. if you haven't read the book, you'll not be able to make sense of anything. even if you have, you might still be scratching your head. the writer, director, editor and, i presume, producers managed to not only cut out all the threads of character development that bind the plot together; they also managed to focus on the wrong points of the plot.

anyway, some SPOILERS:

opening, along with the entire movie, actually, is rushed. but you aren't told that harry is being constantly protected by the order of the phoenix. nor do you get the scene where harry's aunt gets the howler after his uncle threatens to kick him out. it's small, but vital and would have taken just a few more minutes.

you never get a sense of how cut off harry feels. you don't get much of a sense of how scared he is that he'll be tossed out of school. how he feels that dumbledore is ignoring him, or angry with him. anything related to school is thrown out. ron and hermoine made prefects? gone. harry trying to have a relationship with cho? glossed over and then twisted. the slowly building rebellion against umbridge? happens in an instant and focuses only on the weasely twins. the conflict between umbridge and the hogwarts staff is near absent. especially between mcgonnagal and umbridge. my god, you've got maggie smith playing her! woefully under used. the importance of the exams (OWLs)is never made clear, or how ridiculous it is that harry's class isn't going to be allowed to practice spells they'll have to perform on them. that's part of the reason they start the damn DA. the actual Order of the Phoenix is an afterthought. you see a small snap of them, then poof! gone till the ending.

and ah, that last battle with the death-eaters. terrible. so poorly done. oh, sure the cgi is okay. but there is no tension. no conflict. no danger. you actually feel these vicious, murderous dark wizards are going easy on harry and friends, cause they are kids. you actually feel like malfoy would just let them go if harry hands him the prophecy. ridiculous.

order of the phoenix is one of the best of the books. the film version is a debacle.


Grant Miller said...

Thanks. My entire knowledge of Harry Potter books and films comes from bloggers. Bloggers like you!

Claude Scales said...

Liz's comment just after we left the theater was something like (I can't call on her to correct me, as we just delivered her to camp in Maine): "They messed up the story, but the presentation was still artistically effective."

One thing I got from it was that the director seems to hate cats. Even Crookshanks' one scene shows him being naughty.

Andres Carl Sena said...

dude, harry potter rocks.

twiffer said...

grant: well, you'll appreciate this tidbit.

claude: sure, the cgi was good. though used poorly in the climatic scene. they way the handled the decrees at hogwarts was nicely done and the giant banner of fudge at the ministry was a very, very nice touch. not enough to overcome the script and editing though. maybe there is a semi-decent director's cut waiting for dvd.

andres: yes. that's what made this movie suck so damn much.