Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

In theaters Jul 13, 2007.

Teaser/Trailer here:


Daniel Radcliffe is starting to look like Joaquin Phoenix almost. This should be an interesting adaptation, considering the source material had some heavy political undertones.

That trailer needs a little more Hermionie.

Seems odd that it focused so much on London. I know that’s where the Ministry is and where the Order is also but placing such a timeless story in a modern setting is jarring.

Wow, we have a nice interesting thread about the book in this case, but almost no discussion about the movie.

I guess I’ll get us started. I didn’t get through the whole movie last night, but observations from the first half:

I don’t know David Yates as a director, but it looks like with this movie he took over the whole Harry Potter franchise. He directed this one, and the next 3 Harry Potter movies, and then the first two Fantastic Beast movies, and he’s set to direct 3 more Fantastic Beast movies according to imdb.

But as you watch this movie, you can kind of see why he got the gig seemingly permanently. The visuals, sound, editing, camera angles, action scenes, the whole hog is so sharp in this movie. The movie opens so unconventionally in a London suburb that looks nothing like the London we’ve seen in the Harry Potter movies before this. There’s a sense of realism infused into the scene that contrasts so nicely with what we’re used to at Hogwarts. As Harry and his wretched cousin run from the Dementors in the fantastic opening action sequence, we get shots like a close-up of a malfunctioning light that’s flickering on and off in the tunnel where they are taking shelter from a storm. The camera really lingers when it needs to linger, and at other times, you get a sharp cut accompanied by a sound cue and a close-up of Harry.

More than any of the movies in the series so far, this one is sharply focused on Harry’s state of mind, and the editing is just so good. Just to give another example, Harry, Ron and Hermoine have a short discussion in their home room at Griffendor, and then the camera leaves the room through the window, and the snow flakes outside form the shape of Voldemort’s face as we fly through them, and then we look down upon Hogwarts from above as we transition to a point later in the semester.

Another favorite scene of mine is when Harry is heading back to Hogwarts, and we’re back to the train station. Once again the scene is super focused on Harry, as the camera tilts slightly to keep us off-balanced like Harry. The scene then goes into slight slow motion as well, adding to the audience unease. What’s out of place here? Lots of kids getting on the train. Is this platform 9 and 3/4 already or this a muggle platform? Also, holy shit, Voldemort is standing there. Sound cue, sharp edit to Harry sitting in the window seat of the train looking out, once again a super close up on Harry from outside the train.

I love this stuff, and the movie is full of it. Once again, these are not narrative techniques by JK Rowling, but visual and audio flourishes unique to the movie where David Yates is helping the audience experience the emotional tones that we get from the book, but in this different medium. And he’s really good at it.

It’s almost a shame that David Yates looks like he’s stuck doing Harry Potter universe stuff forever. I’d love to see how he would make other movies as well.

You could watch Tarzan? To mixed results.

I think I’ve already seen at least 4 versions of Tarzan, and never enjoyed any of them. It baffles me why that character is popular and keeps getting remade over and over.

I don’t think he’s very popular anymore; my dad was a huge fan and had most comics and novels from over the eras, and the appeal is obvious for the time it was written, less so now.

But where the early films fell flat with the neanderthal “me Tarzan, you Jane” vibe, Yates’ version suffers from a too civilized approach: not only is the film overly Euro-centric in its empire building plot, Tarzan himself is a simple stoic statue that exhibits non of the animal primacy that should be simmering under the hood.

There is a huge undercurrent of magic and mystery in the Tarzan mythos, from mystical jungle shamans to lost ancient empires that oddly, Yates doesn’t even try to address… his version of Opar is a rocky waterfall and simple tribesman that hang out there. Possibly, he was wary of falling into familiar Potter themes? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t blame it on Skaarsgaard who I’ve seen play looser and much more interesting characters.

Just a note on the size of the kid who plays Harry’s muggle cousin. Dude grew BIG. He’s a giant of a young man in this movie. That’s something I never really came to terms with in the books. The author can update descriptions of people, but they always get stuck as how I first picture them. And in this case, I saw the first movie before reading the books, so I was always picturing these actors, unless the little illustrations were quite different. But it never occurred to me that these teenagers would grow so big.

Yep! Same for the actor who plays Neville.

This is probably my least favorite movie/book in the series. Still watchable/readable, but not as good as the others.

I kind of hate five and seven, but love the rest enough that the series remains one of my all time favorites

Interesting. I liked five quite a bit, but tend to skip the second (and sometimes the first) when re-reading. Three is still far and away my favorite.

Did you skip the 4th movie (Goblet of Fire)?

It is strange that when Freeform does their Harry Potter marathon’s they often (I am assuming for time reasons) skip this movie.

I really enjoyed Order of the Phoenix, the book. It wasn’t as good as Goblet of Fire, which is still my second favorite book because of the whole ball and everything surrounding it. From Ron & Harry’s nervousness in asking someone out, to the awkwardness and their lameness in the dance itself, where they both ignored their dates for the most part, and instead chose to sit there and feel sorry for themselves. I don’t know, it’s just my second favorite moment in the series. And the movie depicted it beautifully.

As for the Order of the Phoenix book, I really thought it did a wonderful job in creating this new world. The ending of Goblet of Fire (4) was just so shocking and it changed everything, but book 5 really showed that, and illustrated how things had changed, both in and out of Hogwarts. And I just absolutely loved that Harry actually got to use his experience in fights from Book 2,3,4 to teach his fellow students in Book 5, and they actually got to use that training later in the book.

The movie also does a great job with the teaching lessons that Harry gave to his fellow students. They could have boiled it down to a simple montage, but they did a more complex montage, where outside the hidden room you have the groundskeeper trying to find a way into their room, and meanwhile the scenes inside the training room are more detailed, giving us individual moments where he’s teaching Neville, and teaching Luna and teaching Choi, and teaching Ginny, and teaching that young kid.

As for later, when they actually used the magic, I’m not at that part of the movie yet in this re-watch, but from the original theatrical release, I remember that being very well implemented as well.

One of the reasons I really appreciated the movie is that after the bullshit ending of Book 6, I just rolled my eyes and wanted nothing to do with Harry Potter for a while. The idea that Rowling actually had Harry believe that Snape was capable of being so evil after he was wrong about Snape in book 1, wrong about Snape in Book 2, wrong about Snape in Book 4, and actually taught useful skills by Snape in Book 5 to protect himself from Voldemort. The fact that his suspicions once again went to Snape in Book 6 was just the biggest bullshit in the book series. And then to have that ending, where Snape kills Dumbledore was just the biggest insult to the reader, I felt. And then to end the book there at a Cliff hanger and make us wait years for book 7?

Yeah, so I was done. But back to the reason why I loved this movie’s timing. Book 7 finally came out, and as much as I hated Book 6, there was no way I wasn’t going to buy Book 7 on day 1 and get back in there. But guess what? I read multiple chapters and I’d really expunged so many of these characters from my mind after Book 6. Who was Cirius Black? Luna? Some other crazy lady who was always with Harry? Anyway, there were so many characters who had no background explained at the beginning of Book 7, I went online and asked for help, and a helpful soul told me, listen, it’s hard to explain who these people are, but Order of the Phoenix just came out in the theater last weekend, why don’t you go watch it, and most of the people you’re asking about are in the movie.

So that’s what I did, and when I came home from watching this movie, I knew exactly who everyone was, and I really dived back into Book 7 with gusto. Book 7 is definitely my favorite book. But I’m going to save my commentary on that when I get to the movie. The truth is that Order of the Phoenix is the last movie I’ve seen in the series. So on this “re-watch” of the whole series, I’ll actually be seeing Half Blood Prince (6) and Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 for the first time. I’m almost there.

In terms of books, I think I go something like 1 > 4 > 3 > 2 > 6 > 5 > 7. The movies sort of all fluff together for me. 3 might be my favorite flick, I suppose, but they mostly follow book order because, in the end, it’s the story that is the reason they exist at all, and the story just got steadily worse after Book 4 for me.

The quaint, singsong innocent wonder of the early books is what drew me in and enthralled me so much, and as the prose nosedived and the plot grew darker and more complex, a lot of what I loved about the series faltered. That said, the core relationship among the trio held my interest until Book 7’s interminable forest-wandering. By that point, I just checked out entire.

Makes sense. I began with the first book, as one tends to do, but it didn’t do much for me at the time and I didn’t continue with the series until I saw the third movie in the theater. I think the darker visual style and more standalone story really hooked me in and it motivated me to return to the series.

Until basically the moment Snape dies Harry believes he is evil, despite some of what has occurred. Dumbledore tells Harry he is wrong, but I guess because he really doesn’t trust Harry he never tells him why he is wrong.

I think it takes Snapes death, with the memory sequence, for Harry to finally realize what made Snape tick, and why he was so important in his life.

I read the first book to my oldest daughter, then about 1/3 thru book 2 she said she wanted to read it herself. As a result I ended up reading them all after she finished reading them. As books (and movies) I enjoyed every minute with them. Sure, there are some parts that went on too long, there was stuff you just didn’t need, but imagine kids reading books of that size.