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Order of the Phoenix

July 11, 2007

Continuing what’s become something of a tradition, Jamie and I made our way out to the Alamo Drafthouse last night for the midnight (okay, 11:55) screening of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

My initial reaction?

If I were ranking the five extant movies, the list would go something like this:

  1. Prisoner of Azkaban
  2. Order of the Phoenix
  3. Goblet of Fire
  4. Chamber of Secrets
  5. Sorcerer’s Stone

Order of the Phoenix was good. Quite good, actually. But frustrating at the same time. If director David Yates had slowed down the pace just a touch, and let the film run twenty, maybe thirty minutes longer, I think he could have elevated it to greatness. As it stands, there is just enough missing, especially in the final act, to make everything feel a bit rushed.

Apart from the runtime (which, being honest, I would prefer to see somewhere nearer to four hours), it’s hard to find places to criticize the movie. The directing was strong, as was the acting, which struck me as more natural this time around. And the casting was spot on, as usual. If there’s one thing that continually amazes me about this series, it’s how, not just good, how inspired the casting has been, not only with respect to the three leads, but all the supporting characters as well. Maggie Smith as McGonagall, Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, Alan Rickman as Snape, and now Imelda Staunton as Umbridge. They fit so naturally that, were it not for their splendid work elsewhere, one might be tempted to think these actors were born for the singular purpose of playing these characters.

See the movie. And if you haven’t yet, see Transformers, too.

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