Thursday Night Movie Club
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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Release Date: 11 July 2007

Director: David Yates
Daniel Radcliffe
Emma Watson
Rupert Grint
Ralph Fiennes
Helena Bonham Carter
Michael Gambon
Gary Oldman
Brendan Gleeson
Emma Thompson
Robbie Coltrane
George Harris
Mark Williams
David Thewlis
Alan Rickman
Maggie Smith
Julie Walters
Jason Isaacs
Imelda Staunton
Matthew Lewis
Evanna Lynch
Harry Potter
Hermione Granger
Ron Weasley
Lord Voldemort
Bellatrix Lestrange
Albus Dumbledore
Sirius Black
Alastor 'Mad-­Eye' Moody
Sybil Trelawney
Rubeus Hagrid
Kingsley Shacklebolt
Arthur Weasley
Remus Lupin
Severus Snape
Minerva McGonagall
Molly Weasley
Lucius Malfoy
Dolores Umbridge
Neville Longbottom
Luna Lovegood
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie poster #1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie poster #1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie poster #1
Something has gone horribly wrong for young Harry Potter. Lord Valdemort has returned. His first victim is Harry's Hogwart's classmate, Cedric Diggory. The Ministry of Magic appears to be doing nothing. Harry himself has this anger building inside him.

It has been a long, boring summer for Harry. With everything going on in the wizarding world, Harry finds himself isolated from that world, even his best friends, Ron and Hermione.

Harry's life gets worse as he and his cousin Dudley are set upon by two Dementors right in their hometown of Little Winching. Harry successfully fends off the attack. Dudley's mind has been severely injured and his parents have no one to blame except Harry. Can things get any worse? Shortly thereafter, Harry finds himself facing a criminal inquiry from the Ministry of Magic for the unlawful use of magic by an underage wizard outside of Hogwarts. This cannot be happening.

Questions and problems. Help for Harry arrives in the form of several wizards and witches who have settled upon the Dursley household in order to rescue Harry. Rescue Harry from what? Why so many wizards? Where are they taking him? What is going on?

Harry is whisked away to his godfather's, Sirius Black, family house. The house is now the headquarters for "The Order of the Phoenix", a group of wizards formed by Albus Dumbledore to fight Lord Valdemort and his army. Due to the current situation, The Order has been reformed. The members include, Sirius, Remus Lupin, Alastor Moody, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and even Severus Snape, among many others.

Here Harry learns the full account of what has been happening the past three months. The Ministry has gone to great lengths to discredit Harry and Dumbledore. The Ministry refuses to believe that Valdemort has returned. Harry's upcoming trial is an excuse to expel Harry from Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and effectively silence any attempts by Harry to disclose Valdemort's return. Even Dumbledore has put out specific instructions that Harry must be kept in the dark so as not to cause unnecessary concern. So instead, Harry spends all summer worrying about what is going on.

But that is not the end of the trials of young Mr. Potter. Two more elements enter his life to cause increasing chaos. The Ministry of Magic is taking control over Hogwart's. Ministry Under Secretary Delores Umbridge has been appointed as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. This is a tough position at Hogwart's. No teacher has yet to teach two years in a row. The second: Harry is befuddled by a series of repeating dreams. Dreams of an unknown door, in an unknown location, containing unknown secrets.

As Harry and his friends grow up, they are continually reminded of the realities of life in the world of wizards and witches. Each new year of Harry's life brings increasing complexities that build on the elements from each succeeding story line. Author J.K. Rowling's novels grew longer with each new volume. The movies begin to suffer as more and more elements need to be removed in order to translate the novel into a movie audiences can sit through.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the shortest movie in the series so far. The film suffers from this. The pace is quick and nonstop. The meanings behind several plot points are not fully understood without repeated viewings. One example is Harry working out the kinks in his neck. The reason for this is made clear but some viewers may not make the connection the first time through.

With each successive film, each of the child actors are coming into their own. Their relationships with each other are changing as they grow. Fred and George Weasley (James and Oliver Phelps) bestow much of the film's humor. These two are finally given full reign to breath fire into the twins. Their "get-rich-quick, get out of school free" schemes are hilarious. Their fireworks display is the highlight of the film.

New to the cast is Evanna Lynch as the lovably wacky Luna Lovegood. Luna is not like any child anyone has ever met anywhere. She is the consummate nutcase believing everything she says even though no one else has the slightest idea what she is talking about. But in one key sequence between Luna and Harry, Luna displays a wisdom and maturity beyond her years.

Also new this year is Imelda Staunton as Delores Umbridge. As with the rest of the cast in the series, Staunton is a perfect choice for Umbridge. Umbridge can give Edith Bunker a run for the money in the dingbat category. She is like scraping fingernails on a chalkboard. Another hysterical sequence comes as Umbridge interviews the other Hogwart's teachers to report back to the Ministry on their abilities as teachers.

Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe)Of course, now review of a Harry Potter film can go to print without mentioning the always evil Serverus Snape (Rickman). Snape is a more crucial character to the story. Much of Snape's past is revealed to Harry. Harry learns with quite a shock another side to his late father James that Harry had never known. Rickman delivers every line with obvious relish. He gets to show both the good side and bad side to Snape, and in another critical scene, both at the same time.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is another wonderful chapter in the series. The film is a joy to watch, plenty of humor, goodness, badness, suspense and most importantly, Harry learns an important lesson: He does not have to fight Lord Valdemort alone. He has friends and his friends ultimately redeem Harry in the end.