Magazine article Newsweek

Kiss, Kiss, Blah, Blah; the Last Two 'Harry Potter' Movies Soared, but the Dull 'Order of the Phoenix' Never Really Takes Flight

Magazine article Newsweek

Kiss, Kiss, Blah, Blah; the Last Two 'Harry Potter' Movies Soared, but the Dull 'Order of the Phoenix' Never Really Takes Flight

Article excerpt

Byline: David Ansen

Decidedly older, definitely angrier, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) goes through his darkest days in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." He has good reason to be both paranoid and rebellious. Dementors attack him on his school break, he's threatened with expulsion from Hogwarts, and The Daily Prophet, the official organ of the Ministry of Magic, calls him a liar for claiming that the evil Lord Voldemort has reappeared on the scene. Even Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) seems to distance himself from Harry. Making matters far, far worse, the smiling, pink-clad fascist, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), Hogwarts's new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, is transforming the school into a joyless, repressive prison for Harry and his friends.

This description will be redundant to the millions of readers of the fifth installment of Harry's adventures--an 870-page epic that had to shed many pounds to squeeze into a two-and-a-quarter-hour movie. Those who have not read the book, however, may wonder how J. K. Rowling could have devoted so many pages to what seems, on screen, the slightest, most water-treading of the series. A new screenwriter, Michael Goldenberg, replaces Steve Kloves, and the British TV director David Yates has taken the reins. After the triumph of the last two movies, directed by Alfonso Cuaron and Mike Newell, this is a letdown. Let me hasten to add that there are delights to be had. Two new members of the cast are particularly welcome: Staunton as the horridly cheerful, scarily funny Umbridge and newcomer Evanna Lynch, who plays the blonde, ethereal Luna Lovegood, a new ally of Harry's, with just the right off-kilter spaciness. …

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