Wednesday, July 18, 2007

HP5

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is by far the best movie of the series so far.
CAPSLOCK! Harry is present for most of OotP the book, and the movie does a great job of portraying his anger and loneliness.There are shots of him on his own throughout the movie (starting with the playground scene right at the beginning), and his edgy, nervous snapping at everyone (including dumbledore) makes his emotional state very clear.

You can't pack the longest book of the series so far into a two hour movie without cutting out large chunks of the story. The movie dealt with these cuts well, taking out a few minor characters and scenes. Making Cho Chang the betrayer of the D.A instead of Marietta was a good idea, as was Neville's discovery of the Room of Requirement.Some of the cuts were puzzling, though. Those of us who really, really want to know what will happen in book seven have been watching the movies for clues - since Rowling approves of these scripts, facts events relevant to the plot cannot be removed, and certain minor details that we might have missed in the book may be more visible in the movie. Yet things that seemed like they could have mattered (Sirius' Christmas present to Harry, the veil of death, the pensieve, Harry's time in Grimmauld place) are either glossed over or left out altogether. Kreacher the house elf is included, but his role in Sirius' death and his connection with the Malfoys are bafflingly left out. And what the next two films with do with Snape I cannot imagine - none of the speculation about whose side he's on has even entered the movies so far and the next director will have to establish him as a former death eater/spy before he can introduce any of the new information about him that book six contains.

Individual performances are really strong - Staunton's Umbridge is creepier by far than the book version and Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood is just right. Emma Thompson is wonderful in the scene where Umbridge fires her, and Rupert Grint is just getting better with every movie in the series. Helena Bonham Carter's Bellatrix is even madder than book-Bellatrix, but it works.Oldman's Sirius is just about right too, and Tena as Tonks got very little screen time, but I enjoyed the little we saw of her.

I expected more of Ginny Weasley though,by this point in the books she actually has a character. Here she has barely any lines and spends large chunks of the movie looking wistfully at Harry, though she is shown to be a powerful witch. Emma Watson has never convinced me, despite the Grawp scene. And what was with Kingsley Shacklebolt's clothes? The books tell us he's black, yes, but whoever designed the costumes seems to have equated this with "not English".

The symbols used in the movie were mostly brilliant, bringing out the essence of a lot of its ideas despite the necessary cuts. The huge poster of Fudge in the Ministry of Magic, the paper bird burnt by Umbridge that marks the beginning of her time at Hogwarts and the minor avalanche of educational decrees that heralds her end there.

And yet the movie falters at the end. The love-and-friendship message has been made clear throughout, is it really necessary to tell Voldemort that he will never know love and is worthy of pity is just silly and cringeworthy.

All is forgiven, however, because of the change in Sirius Black's last words. It was cruel and clever and quite the stroke ofgenius. Applause occurs.

3 comments:

Conrad Zaar said...

I must confess I can't remember Sirius' last words in the book. What was the change?

Aishwarya said...

I don't remember what they were in the book (I think he was laughing at Bellatrix or something), but they certainly weren't "nice one James!". I thought it was brilliant because in the book the issue of whether Sirius sees Harry as Harry or as James-reborn comes up rather often. I like the progressive undermining of Harry's relationships with all his father figures in the series, I'm just a nasty person. ;)

Liz said...

In the book he was addressing Bellatrix directly and said "Surely you can do better than tha.." Which I thought was very in character, really!