Release: 2007, Theatrical
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Directed by: David Yates
Previous in the series: Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire
Next in the series: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: When Harry and his muggle-cousin Dudley are attacked by Dementors, Harry is expelled from Hogwarts for fending them off - underaged wizards aren't allowed to use magic outside of school.
Here we are, the fifth story of the bunch. Like Prisoner of Azkaban, this had a lot of potential for basing the movie on a main theme. No, this movie actually takes after Goblet of Fire. Only the quality has started to not only fall into blandness, but stagnate. Granted, being true to the source material is more important than anything - but making the movie actually enjoyable to watch should be deemed just a important. Order of the Phoenix is a story about trust, standing up for your values and learning how to rely on the help of others. It's a pretty good morale, and had the movie delved into the story's theme as much as Azkaban did, there could have been something great here.
Unfortunately the movie just seems to blurt out an abridged version of the book of sorts. These are the most important moments from the book - read it if you care to learn more. I have to say that I suspect the character of Grawp wouldn't even have been introduced had he not been a part of the story's climax. This story also does the same thing I liked so much about Azkaban - to a lesser extent. Whereas in Azkaban, the villain was merely a result of Voldemort in this movie Voldemort himself appears yet again for the final battle. Although through most of the movie the more immediate threat is that of Dolores Umbridge, the newly appointed high inquisitor of Hogwarts delegated by The Ministry of Magic.
In the book, Umbridge has a lot of facets that makes her a complete character, from her insane devotion to the Minister of Magic, her sadistic nature, to her ultimate driving force being that of order - inspiring such 'charming' aspects as actually being downright racist towards magical creatures. This is sort of acknowledged in the movie, but it doesn't really drive the point home as much as I had hoped. Dolores Umbridge is a pretty obvious caricature of the former Prime minister of England - Margaret Thatcher.
So the whole issue of the movie is as such: Voldemort has returned in full force. Of course, the only one that actually witnessed his return was Harry himself. Meaning that now the ministry of magic is too comfortable with peace to believe him and he has to deal with the pressure of everyone considering him a liar. This could have been a great movie about dealing with that, the whole thing could have been based on the nature of trust because the original story was so grounded in that concept. Everyone's trust gets tested in this story, and they could have gone so far with it.
So that's the movies biggest fault, it tried way too hard to just play it safe and do whatever happened in the book without questioning why. The movie is all presentation and no substance.