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July 17, 2007 > Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Movie Review

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Movie Review

By Susana Nunez

Harry and his friends have returned for their fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry only to find that Harry's encounter with Lord Voldemort has been the talk of the town since the end of their last school year. Many in the wizard community have begun to doubt that Harry dueled Lord Voldemort and even question the events that led to the death of Cedric Diggory. The start of the school year is already looking bleak for Harry, but on top of that, the Ministry of Magic has decided to crack down on Hogwarts.

The Ministry has sent one of their own - Professor Dolores Umbridge - to the school and appoints her as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. The school is now running on a tight shift and loses the liveliness that once filled its halls. What's more, Lord Voldemort is rumored to have returned, and if Professor Umbridge has her way, the students won't be prepared to fight back. Her emphasis on theory and academia leave no time for practicing actual magic. However, Harry and his friends are determined to prepare themselves for the ultimate battle, even if it means defying the school and Ministry of Magic.

The latest installment of Harry Potter introduces audiences not only to a new colorful and malicious character, Professor Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) but to a new, more mature Harry (Daniel Radcliffe). Although Harry has always had to prove himself in each new adventure, in this fifth year at Hogwarts, he truly grows up; through moments of frustration when his dignity is questioned and struggles to find out what his role is in connection to Lord Voldemort. Harry also learns how to accept the help of his friends, and in turn, leads them to become better, more skillful wizards.

As opposed to previous Harry Potter films in the popular series, the Order of the Phoenix has a more serious overtone as it introduces the political side of the magic world. This helps to enhance the growth of the characters, now dealing with a much more complex world than when they first began their adventure at Hogwarts. However, because of this, the film lacks some of the delight and fantastic elements many fans have come to expect. Sure there's magic in the film, but there's nothing really magical about the film - this time its borderline mild. Harry is a serious character now, and it will probably take audiences time to get use to this new Harry and let go of his more exciting childhood persona.

Fans of the series should definitely make time to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, just for the sake of seeing the characters grow. But don't be surprised if, at times, you get just a bit bored.

Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images
Directed by David Yates

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