Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (2007)

My Favorite Potter Flick

- I have never given the past Harry Potter films much credit as great movies. Do not get me wrong, The Harry Potter series has been a fairly consistently entertaining film franchise but Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (2007) was the first Potter flick that surprised me as a great stand-alone movie and is definitely my favorite of the lot. In this Harry Potter film, we see a mature and interesting story in which the Potter and friends are forced to grow up fast in opposition to a new threat both outside and within the walls of Hogwarts....

The kids do a great job in this film; Daniel Radcliffe especially rebounds from some of his weaker moments (especially his pathetic attempt to cry in The Prisoner Of Azkaban (2005)) by being quite strong in his character and confident in his performance here in The Order Of The Phoenix (although much of this has to do with the natural change of the Potter character). The usual cast of A+ quality Potter regulars perform beyond the standard in the smallest of roles: Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, and anyone else I might have missed. Also, Potter newcomer Imelda Staunton is simply hateful in this film - and you have to love it, she was great.

With this new chapter in the Harry Potter film saga comes Nicholas Hooper and a new contribution to the musical world of Harry Potter. I think Hooper's score for The Order Of The Phoenix is actually the best part of the entire film and the best score out of all the Harry Potter films (I ran out and bought the soundtrack the day I saw the film, which I never do). While John Williams created the musical framework for the world of Harry Potter with
his unforgettable main theme, Hooper's score far outdoes anything Williams (and Patrick Doyle, for that matter) was able to do with the music Potter films - and this is coming from a John Williams fan. The score for The Order Of The Phoenix is very different from all the other past Potter scores; interesting and intricate with a classical feel (especially Romantic Era-like, besides the guitar part in one track, of course). While Williams' scores have a signature style all his own and Doyle's score was not bad but ultimately unmemorable, Hooper's score is much more unique and stands out simply as a good piece of music.

Potter newcomer David Yates directs this film very well, especially when it comes to the film's visuals. The Order Of The Phoenix looks fantastic; it definitely has the best use of cinematography in any Harry Potter film (thank you Slawomir Idziak), includes the usual fantastic art-direction, and hits a new high with its special effects. Of course, Yates also does a great job creating the wonderful atmosphere that the film has. Complete with dark, heartfelt, and fun moments, The Order Of The Phoenix is my pick for the most balanced Potter film of the series. While the series has a generally consistent feel, certain films feel more fun and darker than others. However, The Order Of The Phoenix balances the light and the dark very well; some of the darkest scenes of the series can be found in this film while some of the most funny moments can be found here as well.

Each chapter of the Harry Potter film series includes magic but not all of the films feel magical; The Order Of The Phoenix as a certain quality to it that I have not found in the rest of the series. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but it must just be the combination of the many great things about this film - the music, the atmosphere, the story, the acting, etc. - that makes this film feel more magical and memorable for me than any of the other Harry Potter movies. This makes The Order Of The Phoenix not just a great and entertaining chapter in the Harry Potter film series - but a special movie all-around.

CBC Rating: 8/10

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