Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Imelda Staunton
Director: David Yates
Pleasure can be derived from so many varied cinematic forms this summer be it from a 52 year-old white vest wearing action hero (DIE HARD 4.0), eighties iconic transforming beings from another world (TRANSFORMERS) or a rat with a passion for playing chef (RATATOUILLE)! For now let’s just stick to the fifth in a franchise that’s kind of like Marmite but in a good way, either you really like the dark slippery stuff or your taste buds just don’t get it.
The low-down: Potter’s grown into a buff 17 year-old wand waver with increasing anger issues that could normally be explained as your usual teenage ‘I’m angry at my dad complex’, but remember this is Harry Potter, so there’s got to be some supernatural force mixed up in it. Hogwarts and its amiable leader Dumbledore are in peril from those pesky politicians who seem to be universally loathed even in the realm of film, be it Idi Amin or the Minister of Magic. That brings us to the other bit of the title, THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, referring to a group of older wand wavers with a unified goal of defeating the Dark Lord. Yes, it almost sounds like the mission statement for an internet based gaming community!
The result: In parts surprisingly mature and emotional showing that there is a lot of promise in young Radcliffe’s range and the evolvement of Harry. Elsewhere it’s those fundamental teenage territory experiences of first kisses, feelings of failure (as in being unable to flick a wand in a certain way) and the yearning to belong. In other words the first half drags, if it’s wizardry effects and not story building that you’re after. The climatic battle scene brought back warm memories of Gandalf and Saruman, so it easily compensates for all that story build your poor ‘gluteus maximus’ may have to suffer on that cinema seat!
Long, yes. A bit slow, yes. Good, yes! Fans should be more than happy, while first timers should expect exactly what’s on the can – although there isn’t actually a Phoenix with a starring role next to Harry so any potential Phoenix followers might want to give it a miss. Otherwise it’s an entertaining and intriguing addition to the series.