Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix, directed by David Yates, screenplay by Michael Goldenberg, is the fifth movie in JK Rowlings‘ compelling seven part epic chronicling the coming of age of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliff), the young wizard struggling to understand his emerging destiny as he deals with a myriad of emotions, set in a mythological “alternate reality” of Wizardry. Hermione, (Emma Watson) as always, “one of the brightest wizards of her generation“, and Ron,(Rupert Grint), whose proficiency with magic continues to be one step behind his two cohorts, is there as well. Joining them, are all the British thespians from the previous movies, in their Hogwarts’ role (see full list of cast below). In this film, they have less involvement in the action, provide the familiar structure of a “parent nudging their adolescents toward greater independence” by letting them know they will not always be there to protect them.
The film begins in London, in a bleak barren park, where Harry is being confronted again by his cousin, Dudley Dursley and his pack, this time taunting Harry about his relationship with Cedwick. On their way home to #4 Privitt Drive, when two Dementors attack, Harry summons his Petronas and saves Dudley (his tormentor).
Harry is rescued from his muggles inferno by a group of wizards and whisked off to a “magically” unnoticeable building off a side street in London, finding Serius Black (Garry Oldman), the Weasleys (Julie Waters, Marc Williams), Mad Eye Moody and others. They are the first lieutenants of the Order of The Phoenix, but no one including Hermione or Ron would tell him anything, under Dumbledore’s direction. Alone, scared, angry and feeling abandoned, especially by Dumbledore, Harry is served by the Ministry of Magic that he will be on trial for “underage using of magic in the presence of muggles before the age of 17″. Dumbledore finally appears to defend him at the trial.
The Wizard world is now divided into four camps: those preparing for Lord Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) return, the opposition forces led by Dumbledore, those connected with the Ministry of Magic who are in a state of denial over the Voldemort’s resurrection and everyone else who don’t quite know who to believe. Harry is also struggling with his own duality of good and evil, wondering whether his increasing premonitions are controlled by Voldemort or from his own inner dark nature. Feeling comfortable confiding those feelings only to Serius, who responds, “We all have good and evil in us, we choose which part to act on”.
At Hogwarts, all is not normal. Dumbledore is rarely seen and when he is threatened to be taken to Azkeban, he disappears. Harry is told by Serius, “You’re all on your own”, as magic is now forbidden by the new headmaster, Delores Umbidge.
The young wizard is at a crossroads in his maturity, as he is now looked upon as a teacher and their leader. Harry must rise to the task and not only consciously connect with his powers but help the others tap into theirs by building their confidence and showing them how to summon their “petronas”. This is the point at which he realizes the first part of his destiny and the role he must play as one of the commanding chess pieces in the war of strategy and power that has begun.
Expanding his core group to include Neville, Ginney and Luna Lovegood, they fly to the Ministry of Magic when Harry has a premonition that Serius is in danger and the first real “coming of age” battle of the student generation is tested. Here, Harry discovers the second part of his destiny when he finds his orb of prophecy which says “Neither can live while the other survives“. Serius is killed, as every bit of support is taken from him. Confronted by Voldemort, Dumbledore appears and the wizards battle. Dumbledore only succeeds in diverting Harry’s death as in the last scene at the Ministry, Harry is “overshadowed” by Voldemort and begins to see his power merging with his fate, as he is successful in resisting a psychic takeover of his soul. This is when Harry identifies the full impact of his role – a life or death struggle with Voldemort lay before him. “Neither can live while the other survives”.
As this extraordinary epic concludes with the seventh book and final installment of the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, I wonder if the the converse of the prophecy might be a clue to Harry’s yet to be revealed fate. Perhaps “Neither can live while the other dies”.
Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix is a good film adaptation, faithful to the book, that cuts away much of the magical details which were necessary in the other films, to create the flavor and back-story for the two final acts. The film’s primary focus is the coming war and Hogwarts is now part of the environment rather than a character. Spells are more for purpose and protection, expressing the sense of urgency that is increasing. The special effects are effective and well done to fit the development of the story. Harry is growing up. In fact, all of the students are, as they begin to acknowledge they will be part of the first line of defense as the final struggle with Lord Voldemort and his forces ensue over the future of Wizardry.
For a complete list of cast members, visit the Internet Movie Database’s page.