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Sunday, July 15, 2007

REVIEIW : Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Ever since his encounter with Voldermort in the last film, The Goblet of Fire , life has never been the same for the boy wizard.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (drama)
Cast : Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Direction : David Yates

What's happening to me? yells Potter, sending the avuncular Dumbledore and his faithful friends, Ron and Hermione into a tizzy. Why am I always angry? I feel I'm turning BAD!, he exclaims, setting the undertone for his fifth year at Hogwarts. Ever since his encounter with Voldermort in the last film, The Goblet of Fire , life has never been the same for the boy wizard. He not only lost his friend in the last episode, but also his boyishness. Welcome to Harry, the harried teen, who knows it's not going to be easy any more. No more quidditch, no more carefree wanderings with Hagrid, no bindaas buddy business with Ron and Hermione and no private concerns of problems at Privet Drive. Family problems are hardly the concern now when the entire wizard world is threatened by You Know Who and his horrid army. Harry knows his destiny: it's either him or Voldermort in the epic battle of good against evil, and he doesn't need the prophecy to tell him so...

So what do we have here? A darker, more grim, quite bleak vision of the world we have come to know so well. There is no fun left in the corridors of Hogwarts as the young wizards and witches try to empower themselves for the grand battle that lies ahead. And the fact that the friendly Professor Dumbledore has been ousted by the venal new head, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) only adds to the young students' woes. Professor Umbridge is the stuff nightmares are made of. Despite her powder pink attire and her room full of kitties, she is a regular terror who tortures the students with painful tasks and a rigid discipline. More importantly, she fails to tutor them in the defense against the dark arts, leaving the students to form a covert student's body, the Dumbledore Army, which holds secret classes under the tutelage of who else, but Harry.

It's virtually a divide between the believers and the non-believers: those who believe Harry when he tells them that Voldermort is back and those who brand him a liar. The film has its usual fare of charms, spells and special effects, but the tenor is menacing throughout, with the evil Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes) making intermittent appearances (too short) to thrill and scare. Harry, plagued by chilling nightmares, is allowed just one fun moment, a momentary kiss with Cho Cheung. But the romance is short-lived too, as death steals away another of his loved ones.

The film may not be as enticing as the Goblet of Fire, but nevertheless, it sets the tone for the Final Encounter. Ironically, most of the favourite Potter characters have little to do here, including the rumbustious Ron and the affable Hagrid. The scene-stealer in this film is undoubtedly Dolores, the devilish new teacher who puts up a scintillating show of meanness. Get ready for the Deathly Hallows and the Harry Howdunnit!


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