Friday, August 31, 2007

Harry Potter 5

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Directed by: David Yates

Written by: Michael Goldenberg, based on the book by J.K. Rowling

Featuring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Imelda Staunton, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Bonnie Wright, Jason Isaacs, Katie Leung, Robert Hardy, David Bradley, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Felton, Mark Willaims, Julie Walters, Warwick Davis, David Thewlis, George Harris, Natalia Tena, Timothy Bateson... I think that's everybody...

Part five in the ongoing Harry Potter saga, I decided I had to see it even though my friends all said it was bad. I wouldn't go that far - I've seen a lot of fucking awful movies (like Caddyshack. I sat through Caddyshack the other day. Sweet Jesus, did that suck).

Anyway, in this installment... I can't really remember what happens. It seems to me that it's the bridge between part four and part six, and nothing really happens at all (it is to Harry Potter what Two Towers is to Lord of the Rings). Um... this really evil lady from the ministry sort of takes over the school and makes everyone's lives generally difficult. Meanwhile, the Dark Lord is coming back, though everyone refuses to believe Harry about it. He and his friends form an underground rebel force to combat the new headmistress (aforementioned ministry appointed biotch) and prepare themselves for the war against his evilness, Lord Voldemort. Who has formed a connection with Harry's mind and is severely fucking him up.

That probably made no sense to the uninitiated, who have no doubt stopped reading altogether by now. Yay!

Okay. So, I'd say that the filmmakers did the best they could with the material they were given - they took a few liberties with the plot, and cut a lot of stuff, but who can blame them. Part Five was about the longest and the least interesting of all of them. It was pretty much where the books stopped being well written, actually, and pretty much when they started making the movies.

Rowling was obviously very heavily influenced by films anyway, but writing her books at the same time as they were being made into films was not at all good for her writing.

This one is very well shot and chopped, it looks quite beautiful, although the CGI crap is really bothering me. You couldn't really do it without the CGI crap (although I have my doubts as to whether they should have done it at all - I think they really should have waited, at least until she'd finished writing the series, but then the cast would have been different... I guess they make the best of it).

That was the real reason I wanted to see this movie. I'm a fool for the supporting cast, many of whom don't really do anything else. In this segment, however, most of them are pretty underused. I mean, Michael Gambon and Maggie Smith probably get about ten lines between them, Helena Bonham Carter doesn't get to do anything except look scary, Alan Rickman just walks around talking funny, Emma Thompson just walks around looking funny (my friend thought she looked like Pete Postelthwaite - she was right) and Gary Oldman doesn't get to do anything except die (although, what did you expect? It's Gary frigging Oldman, he has to die in every movie he's in, it's in his contract). And poor Ralph Fiennes. Fuck. He's a generally creepy guy, just looking at pictures of his scares the shit out of me, but in this he's just sort of ugly. He looks like an idiot, actually. They could have tried a little harder to make him mildly intimidating.

Oh well. The best person in the movie is the chick who plays the ministry biotch. Imelda Staunton. I've never heard of her, but she was very good. I liked the girl who played Luna, too. She was cute. Oh yeah, and that Rupert Grint guy. He just keeps getting uglier and uglier, but he's pretty good.

Daniel Radcliffe has a sort of Frodo with glasses thing going on. Actually, there's a lot of Lord of the Rings stuff in this... the firework dragon, Dumbledore battling the giant fire monster thing... of course, J.K. was probably watching Lord of the Rings while she was writing the book, so...

Anyway, apart from the obvious problems I have with the wizard world (why do they have moving newspapers when they could just watch TV? Why don't they use phones instead of owls? Why don't they dress like normal people? What's wrong with them? Who drives the train? Who grows the food? How do they buy stuff in the muggle world?), the only major thing was the lack of dramatic tension, which is hardly the filmmakers' fault. It's not a bad movie. It's fairly engaging. Actually, the first little bit was pretty dull, I kept thinking to myself "What the hell am I doing here?" and then Gary Oldman showed up and everything was okay. So even though there isn't a lot of my beloved supporting cast (they should just cut Emma Watson's lines, she's awful, and divide the screen time up between the other people, handing it out in order of age (my reasoning: Michael Gambon and Maggie Smith are going to drop any day now, so give them more screen time. Then Alan Rickman, then Brendan Gleeson, and so on)), I still enjoy seeing them. And, you know, it's an action packed adventure...


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