Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

directed by David Yates

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix poster  
One of the most unexpected sights of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix comes at the start, when mummy's boy Dudley is dressed as a chav and hanging out with a street gang. Although ganging up on other people is right up his street, he looks strangely incongruous in gold chains and sports gear.

The film kicks off with Harry having to fend off Dementors in the suburbs, and they aren't the only things that seem out of place in this movie. Dolores Umbridge wears a lot of pink, decorates her office with kitten plates, speaks softly, and wears an infuriatingly calm and sanctimonious expression at all times. But she is dangerous.

For starters, Umbridge makes a point of failing to teach any practical defensive magic. But she's not content simply to disrupt learning in her own classroom, and she also manages to meddle in all the affairs of the school, including the jobs of the other professors. When Harry takes matters into his own hands and attempts to organise secret lessons of his own, she does everything in her power to stop them.

Luna Lovegood makes an appearance in this film, but she's not nearly as odd a character as she is depicted in the books. This is mainly because we don't get to see much of her, so her true weirdness is downplayed.

One of the major issues of the fifth book is the prophecy about Harry, but this movie doesn't make much of its importance, or of Dumbledore finally letting Harry in on the secrets of the Order of the Phoenix. That's not the only thing that gets skipped over, either. Large parts of the Hagrid and Grawp story are skimmed over, and Harry's relationship with Cho Chang is reduced to little more than a brief kiss. There's no quidditch, and very little tension over the imminent O.W.L. exams which Harry and his friends are facing.

Arthur Weasley gets injured, but we are given very few details of the circumstances surrounding his injury before we're off again onto the next part of the story, and another half-told tale. We get glimpses of Fred and George Weasley's industrious nature, and the spectacular effects of their fireworks and magic tricks on the school as a whole. But we don't find out how their parents feel about their business activities and the effect it has on their academic careers.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was never suitable for condensing into a single film. It's the worst example amongst the Harry Potter series so far of the filmmakers trying to shoehorn a story of epic proportions into too short a time period. If you take a child who hasn't read the book to see this movie, expect to be filling in a lot of gaps for them throughout the film. It just about makes sense, but the whole thing is a little like watching one long extended trailer rather than a full story. It's told in snapshots, and much of the pleasure to be had from this film comes from remembering what was good about the book. In spite of the usual cgi magic and some solid performances from the young cast, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a disappointing film.

Film Details

Year: 2007

Categories: Films


Classification: 12

If you like this, try:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire cover    

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by Mike Newell
Harry discovers the joy of Yule Balls. The fourth film in the Harry Potter series.

3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about David Yates