Janet (j4) wrote,

Broom for improvement

We've just been to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, at the Phoenix cinema. Do you see.

For those who aren't interested in the film:

For those who are: if you're expecting this to be the "darkest" Harry Potter film ever (since the last one), you're probably going to be disappointed... though probably no more disappointed than you were with the previous ones.

Perhaps where I'm going wrong with the Harry Potter films is [watching them - Ed.] hoping that they'll tell something resembling coherent stories (whether or not those bear any relation to the stories in the books -- I'm not a purist about this). Perhaps the thinking is that anybody who bothers to watch the films will have probably already read the books, in which case the films may well be intended to be what they appear to be: a series of tableaux from the books, illustrating a small selection of your favourite scenes (The Kiss! The Death!) with an all-star cast and some whizzy computer graphics. If that's what you're after, then there are some good scenes, though you'll probably wish there'd been fewer feeble attempts to tie the tableaux together with wisps of plot, and more... well... anything, really.

So what's missing? Pretty much everything, to be honest. The eponymous Order of the Phoenix is only mentioned about twice in the film, leaving other bits of the film somewhat stranded: it's not clear why a crack team of aurors come to rescue Harry from the Dursleys, and later from Umbridge, and later from the Death Eaters; it's not clear why Arthur Weasley is sneaking around in the Department of Mysteries in the dark when he gets attacked; it's not clear why Sirius is holed up in Grimmauld Place, and hence why he's not doing anything until he suddenly rushes into a Death-Eater-filled trap. Quidditch is out: not just the tedious bludger-by-bludger accounts of matches, but every mention of the game; this leaves the already fairly two-dimensional Cho Chang completely characterless, so there's no indication of why Harry fancies her in the first place (okay, fair enough: he's 15, she's female), much less why he suddenly splits up with her, pointedly ignoring her in the corridor. Lessons are pretty much done away with, except to show that Umbridge is Not Very Nice; with the removal of both schoolwork and sport, there's not very much for Ron and Hermione to do except stand on either side of Harry like bookends. Ginny is so insipid that I didn't realise until halfway through the film who she was supposed to be (and where's her Weasley red hair, eh?); Fred and George fare only slightly better. (Percy's gone completely, but that's no great loss.)

So what's left? A lot of woodenly teenaged glowering from Harry; a suitably poisonously-pink Dolores Umbridge; a cool lightsaberwand duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort; a nearly-loopy-enough Luna Lovegood; a dreadful Disneyfied travesty of Hagrid's hideous half-brother; a classroom full of swirling silver Patronus charms, which the students somehow had no difficulty producing after 5 seconds' practice, and all of which assumed the shape of cute animals which were somehow appropriate to the person casting the spell (perhaps the CGI guys were practising for the forthcoming film of His Dark Materials); a gorgeous flashback glimpse of a teenaged Snape, looking rather like Marilyn Manson; and magic invisible skeleton horses.

Okay, when I put it like that, maybe I'm just asking for too much, you know, wanting something resembling a plot as well.

Anyway, hopefully the next (last!) book will satisfy my plot needs. Only five days to go...
Tags: films, reviews
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