Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Order of the Phoenix -- Wow!

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix opened today at midnight, and twelve hours later, the six of us were seated in a theatre watching the opening scenes.

I had a lot of criticism for the fourth film, Goblet of Fire, but the fifth really captured me, much as the first (and best) did. Harry's angst, his worry at becoming like Voldemort, was very real. His struggle with caring for others, and his fear of losing them, was quite poignant. The acting was superb, and the screenplay was an excellent adaptation. It's no easy task to put the longest of the novels (thus far) into the shortest of the films, and overall, I think it was tremendously well done.

This book was the most difficult to like, both for me and for the fans in general. The distance between Harry and Dumbledore (my favorite character) is hard to overcome, but this film captures it and resolves it well. Order of the Phoenix is also a darker book, and in the film the reserve displayed in NOT making Hagrid a laughingstock for comic relief this time was very refreshing. This is a serious film about serious subjects: the effect of evil on those fighting it, the need for friends especially when one feels most isolated, the goodness of love for family, friends, and mentors as a power which defeats evil. Although it is a departure from the book, the scene where Harry is possessed by Voldemort and declares that he feels sorry for Voldemort because he is unable to love is extremely touching. And true.

E and I will go see the film on our own again in a couple of week; she has a free ticket from her Nintendo DS Order of the Phoenix game that we couldn't use for today's tickets which were purchased online. I'm looking forward to seeing this film again and absorbing it more fully. Order of the Phoenix takes the Harry Potter film series to new heights as the young actors mature and as the fight between good and evil becomes more and more focused. I had anticipated this movie far less than the release of the seventh book in ten days and rightly so, but this film was everything I had hoped it would be. And more. And I know that the seventh and final book, preordered months ago, will be even more so.

What a stunning month in literary history! And we are enjoying it to the fullest.

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