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Film Review: 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'

Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

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Background

In 2007, David Yates released Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, based on the 2003 novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling, as the fifth film in the Harry Potter franchise. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, Imelda Staunton, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, and Emma Thompson, the film grossed $939.9 million at the box office.

Synopsis

Despite Voldemort’s return, the Ministry of Magic is in denial and chooses to start a conspiracy in order to cover up the evidence, sending Dolores Umbridge to Hogwarts as the Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher to take over. In the meantime, Harry has been having strange dreams he cannot explain.

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Review

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a good film, bridging Voldemort’s return and the inevitable public reveal thereof. In essence, this film presents audiences with the calm before the storm, putting the final pieces in place before the second war between good and evil. As such, the tension is palpable here, giving off the feeling of anything being able to happen at any moment. Much of this is seen through the dreams and visions Harry is having, serving as a connection between him and Voldemort. At the same time though, the Ministry of Magic does not believe Voldemort has returned, choosing to remain in ignorance until the fight between him and Dumbledore at the end. Compounding the tension of anything being able to happen at any time is the stumbling block from the Ministry, choosing to send Dolores Umbridge to Hogwarts to impede anything done by staff and students to prepare for the inevitable war. It evokes an uneasy feeling of knowing something is going to happen, but nobody is equipped to handle what will occur.

As a character, Umbridge is a unique complement to the overt villainy seen with Voldemort. She hides behind a façade of pleasantness, smiling and talking down to everyone around her, insisting she’s doing what she does for their own good while plotting to bury her enemies in a slew of bureaucratic rules and torturous detentions. Her character and demeanor is first seen during Harry’s trial when she deflects blame for the Dementor incident and votes him guilty despite the evidence otherwise. It’s solidified in her next two scenes, interrupting Dumbledore in the first and putting Harry in detention when he claims Voldemort has returned during her class. It certainly says something about her character when three quarters of the school turn against her during the course of the film. Furthermore, she is much more realistic than Voldemort considering she is the embodiment of incompetent and corrupt authority figures people are bound to run across at least once in their lives.

Surrounding all of this are some good visuals. From the large amount of pink surrounding Umbridge’s office to the splendid grandeur found within the Ministry of Magic, the entire film is interesting to look at. Scenes within the Hall of Prophecy include some great cinematography as well and the room with the archway is lit and colored just dark enough to give the viewer a looming sense of dread from the emptiness in the room and the fight occurring within the emptiness.

As usual, the main trio’s acting continues to improve here. Radcliffe does really well in his body language and facial expressions when Umbridge is either mentioned or around. His rage and hatred for her come off as entirely believable as does the bewilderment surrounding the dreams and the Occlumency lessons Snape gives him too. Radcliffe also has a monologue in the finale, telling Voldemort why he's weak and will eventually lose. It's easy to see the amount of heart and acting he put into these lines to deliver such an emotionally stirring speech soliloquy.

Awards/Recognitions

bold indicates reception of award/recognition

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & horror Films, USA Saturn Awards

  • Best Fantasy Film
  • Best Supporting Actress (Imelda Staunton)
  • Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Director
  • Best Writing
  • Best Costume
  • Best Make-Up
  • Best Music
  • Best Special Effects

AFI Awards, USA

  • Special award (for the Harry Potter series)

Art Directors Guild Awards

  • Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award
  • Excellence in Production Design Award

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

  • Top Box Office Films

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Production Design
  • Best Special Visual Effects

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Film Critics Association Awards

Costume Designers Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Fantasy Film

Empire Awards, UK

  • Best Director
  • Best Film
  • Best Actor (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Actress (Emma Watson)
  • Best Soundtrack
  • Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy

European Film Awards

  • Audience Award

Gold Derby Awards

  • Art Direction
  • Visual Effects

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Best Sci-Fi Movie of the Year

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Best Animation/Family TV Spot (For “Great Wizards”)

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

International Online Cinema Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

Kids’ Choice Awards, Australia Blimp Awards

  • Favorite Movie

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Art Direction

London Critics Circle Film Awards

  • British Supporting Actress of the Year (Imelda Staunton)

Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue & ADR in a Foreign Feature Film

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • Best Kiss (Daniel Radcliffe & Katie Leung)
  • Best Summer Movie You Haven’t Seen

MTV Movie Awards, Russia

  • Best International Movie

National Movie Awards, UK

  • Best Family
  • Best Performance by a Male (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Performance by a Female (Emma Watson)
  • Best Performance by a Male (Rupert Grint)

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

People’s Choice Awards USA

  • Favorite Movie Drama
  • Favorite Movie Fan Following (Potterheads)

Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

  • Best Movie

Satellite Awards

  • Best Youth DVD (Harry Potter: The Complete 8 Film Collection)

St. Louis Film Critics Association, US Awards

  • Best Visual/Special Effects

SyFy Portal Genre Awards

  • Best Actress in a Movie (Emma Watson)

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Summer Movie – Drama/Action Adventure

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Outstanding Special Effects in a Motion Picture
  • Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Motion Picture (For the Hall of Prophecy)
  • Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Motion Picture (For the Hogwarts School)
  • Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture (For the Hall of Prophecy and comp shots)

World Soundtrack Awards

  • Discovery of the Year (Nicholas Hooper)