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July 2007


By Krista Vitola


Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: David Yates
Screenwriter: Michael Goldenberg
Cinematographer: Slawomir Idziak
Composer: Nicholas Hooper
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths, David Bradley, Robert Hardy, Mark Williams, Helena Bonham Carter, Imelda Staunton, George Harris, Natalia Tena, Kathryn Hunter, Evanna Lynch, Katie Leung, Jessica Stevenson


I knew this would happen. Even though I told myself that this series would be different, I was wrong. When the demand for something is this great and the expectations of the audience this high, there is bound to be some failure. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, audiences are left with an overrated film that leaves points of the plot hanging and the magic within a little rusty.

Previous directors such as Alfonso Cuaron and Mike Newell, left a very high standard of creativity, drama, and emotional hype that gave the Harry Potter series an endless ride it’s audience never wanted to get off of; David Yates left much to be desired. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan and no discredit is going to J.K. Rowling or the screenwriters who tried to condense an over eight hundred- page book into a two-hour film. The book was brilliant and even though there was a lot of the plot left out of the film, we all knew the content would be wonderful. But that’s not why we desire to see the film in addition to reading J.K. Rowling’s wizarding tale. Audiences expect something different when they view a film adaptation of a book; it visually transports us to that fictional time, into the lives of each character and the physical demands placed upon them. For Harry Potter and his friends, starting year five at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, that means setting up an army to face the dark Lord Voldemort in addition to staying out of Mrs. Umbridge’s (Defense against the Dark Arts teacher/ the new headmistress of Hogwarts for a little while) “ministry of magic” code of decorum. While Harry Fights off bad dreams and his mind being invaded by Voldemort, his usual supports (such as Dumbledore and McGonagall) are nowhere to be found as well as Hermione and Ron, whose only lines seem to be in consoling Harry or telling him they are there for him. Ralph Finennes (Lord Voldemort) and Emma Thompson (Professor Trelawney), as well as Imelda Staunton (Professor Umbridge), who is featured most in the film, do a fine job in playing their characters, emphasizing the surreal world of wizardry we as an audience are set in.

As a reader, our minds have a way of transporting us to different worlds by the use of our imagination, creativity is key to that imagination and it’s what allows the reader to enjoy what he/she has delved into. In the film, there was a severe lack of creativity, which is what makes Harry Potter such an enjoyable work. In addition to the mise-en-scene, the actors/actresses weren’t given a chance to showcase their development as characters and supporting roles to Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). You rarely see Draco Malfoy and his gang of misfits, who sporadically come on during the film conspiring to stop Harry from starting “Dumbledore’s Army.”

The problem with such a mainstream film, especially if it’s a high profile series of books, is the demands it sets for it’s cast of characters, directors, producers, etc. We as an audience know that the film was capable of being much greater than it was, that is why I wasn’t so joyous walking out of the screening yesterday. J.K. Rowling’s book is packed with so much quality, imagination and artistry it is hard not to produce a film with visual charm and greatness. It was good, but not great, and Harry Potter is great.