Monday, July 16, 2007


I’ve seen all the Harry Potter films so far, with my nine-year-old, and I still had trouble figuring out some of what was going on in the latest—HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX.

For one thing, the actual “Order of the Phoenix” looked like it should have been the central idea of the film, and wanted to be, but was lost in way too many extraneous or truncated scenes.

I haven’t read the books but know that those who have were terribly disappointed in this latest adaptation, and I can see why. There were several possible plots inherent in the story, even as it appeared on screen, but were never fleshed out or followed through on, or if they were it was done so choppily or abruptly, that there was no emotional impact (like the major student betrayal in the flick).

Though it wasn’t a bad movie for my nine-year-old and his friends, even the ones who had read the book, because the screen was so busy with attempts to cram in as many plot points as possible, their eyes were filled with images that seemed to satisfy them.

I’ve read criticism of the special effects, but they seemed to me as good as the usual for this series. What didn’t seem as good as usual was the use of the adult actors in the character roles.

The usual great British talent used for these films was given short shrift, with very few of them having more than a scene or two to do any real acting, and even then they seemed to have been directed to make their characters even more two dimensional than they originally were, with the exception of Imelda Tauton in the role of Dumbledore’s new nemesis.

I don’t particularly like Michael Gambon, so since he took over the role of Dumbledore, I’ve been aware of how much I miss Richard Harris. And poor Helena Bonham Carter seemed to be wasted entirely on a role so obvious and unsubtle it made clear how much she was misdirected.

The writers and the director are to blame here. But in the end, I have to admit, the movie kept me engaged, even if critically, so that the time sped by pretty quickly and I can’t say it felt wasted. I enjoyed much of the spectacle and seeing these young actors growing up before our eyes (it’s like a more condensed fantasy version of that “7-up” documentary film series on real British children).

But I have to say, I can’t imagine by the time the films are completed that these “kids” aren’t all going to seem a little old for the roles. But it’ll be fun to see if that will turn out to be true or not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Though you haven't read the books, everything you've typed is quite right. My younger siblings and I (ages 20, 17, 14, 9) were very dissapointed with the film. This was also the longest book, as it was the size of a dictionary. As they say, "The book is always better."