So finally after 4 films of gentle wizardry and jovial mystery, things are undeniably starting to get darker in the world of young Potter. Not only is the mood more sinister but even the colouring is bleak. This is all due to the TV-cum-film director David Yates (who is also doing the next Potter film) and screenplay writer Michael Goldenberg.
Apparently the film stayed quite true to the books, not that I’d know, as I don’t think I can insult my intelligence anymore and read another of the books. This felt like the longest of all the films so far, once or twice I saw myself watching the fat kids munch through every fare the cinema had to offer.
The film had old and new characters coming in and out and in and out again, which I found didn’t help the story, if anything they just helped keep the pace moving, as the story wasn’t really doing that. I’m aware that this installment of Harry Potter was quite important, establishing the “Order of the Phoenix”, Ministry of Magic and Strength of Harry, nonetheless it doesn’t make the film better than any of the previous films. If anything it’s the least satisfying of them all.
The beginning of the film is possibly the best; the mood is morose and Harry is looking older and more troubled. The film opens in the Muggle world with Harry taking the moral high ground (yet again) and rescuing his tormenter cousin, Dudley. This initiates Harry to be expelled from Hogwarts for using magic outside of school, causing his headmaster Dumbledore to defend him in court.
The expulsion from Hogwarts is obviously dismissed, allowing Harry to go back and unite with his fellow students, only to find a new teacher has arrived in the form of a pink pincushion, Dolores Umbridge. Umbridge is the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and she is a creation of everything you hate about school and teachers, she is strict, haughty and cruel.
There is also a political war beginning, and Harry along with Dumbledore are scorned for accusing Lord Voldemort of returning and stirring up mischief, as one does.
Causing the film to switch from political Ministry business to Hogwarts School teenage drivel, finally allowing some form of predictable amalgamation at the end.
Of course there are definitely attention-grabbing moments, (all scenes that don’t involve Harry or Ron), Death Eaters, the Order of The Phoenix, duels to the death, broom-stick flying across the London skyline type scenes. I fear I may have given away all the best bits.
After what felt like a film of talk and cheesy child acting, Lord Voldemort finally appears (yet again) to duel Harry in a beautiful black glass reception that looks like it was a stolen set from the Matrix. Undoubtedly all special and visual effects, cinematography and costume design are the best yet, however as good as that may be, I still left feeling the same as I did after the third and fourth, what was the point?
Basically there are lots of fantastic special effects, unfortunately though, not enough magic.