Screen Gems Movie Reviews
with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix July 13, 2007
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images.

In the fifth movie chronicling the adventures of the most famous boy wizard in the world, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" shows us what happens when dire warnings are ignored.

Very few believe Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) when they reveal that evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is back. Both are labeled liars by the Ministry of Magic and the press.

Harry feels cut off from everyone including his closest friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson).

It doesn't help that Voldemort is inside his head. Harry's dreams and visions grow more and more disturbing as the Dark Lord's power grows. Meanwhile wizards including Harry's godfather Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) and "Mad-Eye" Moody (Brendan Gleeson) are reconvening the "Order of the Phoenix" which battled Voldemort during his first campaign of terror.

Back at Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic has installed Delores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) as a new professor charged with teaching students how to defend themselves. But she's much more interested in grabbing power and restoring order than she is the classroom. That leaves Harry and his fellow students to fend for themselves.

"Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix" is a worthy addition to the series. Radcliffe, Grint and Watson continue their growth as actors. The older and more experienced they get the better their performances. The supporting cast is top notch as always, including veterans Oldman, Gambon, Fiennes and Alan Rickman (Severus Snape).

The movie is given a lift by the introduction of a new student. Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) is a little off-kilter but she bonds with Harry and gives him some great advice when he really needs it.

But as the story moves along, Staunton delivers the true breakout performance as Umbridge. Clad all in pink she's manipulative and devious, as scary as any demon or dementor. Umbridge literally drips with self-serving smugness and you spend plenty of time rooting for her to get what's coming to her.

Dealing with deception and isolation, Harry's anger and frustration grows until he realizes he needs his friends as much as they depend on him. The group assembles for a mission to the Ministry and a battle with Voldemort and his death eaters. The special effects showing the power of this world are very good as we see full blown magical warfare for the first time.

This is a dark and brooding Harry Potter but it feels right. After all he is a teenager with more than a few problems.

On my rating scale, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" hits a Home Run.


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