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Arts & Culture

Harry Potter: A Fan's Review

In a sequel-packed summer of films,

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , is an alternative for audiences dissatisfied by some of the more disappointing follow-up movies. The fifth installment of the

Harry Potter saga,


Order of the Phoenix, offers viewers a magical combination of comedy, teenage romance, and action. Joined by an award-winning cast, adolescent actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint portray the three intrepid student wizards. The director David Yates brings out the best of his cast, spinning an enchanting tale.

In the first few scenes, viewers see Harry (Radcliffe) attacked by dementors, sinister soul-sucking creatures, nightmares of Cedric Diggorys murder, and his dramatic reaction to these traumas. Later, Harry reunites with friends Ron Weasley (Grint) and Hermione Granger (Watson) and eventually returns to Hogwarts. Upon arrival, the students are greeted by not only their headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), but also Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and possibly the most terrifying character in the Harry Potter films.

Harry Potter aficionados may cringe at the films length, a mere two hours and fifteen minutes to represent an almost nine hundred page tome, but it is a decent representation of the book. Even though the purists will be disappointed, as they always will be, most fans will enjoy this most recent installment of the Harry Potter series.

Evanna Lynch as Luna is a welcome addition to the HP5 cast. (Warner Brothers)

There are what some may consider key plot elements and characters missing, but the new screenwriter, Michael Goldenberg, included quotes from the books, a tactic not yet utilized in the films. The film was also much darker than its predecessors. As a turning point in the story, audiences see Harry reluctantly mature as his responsibilities do. He has a new, more formidable opponent than ever before.


A battle between Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and Dumbledore, involving amazing special effects, conveys to viewers just how powerful Harrys new adversary is. The film is riddled with stellar performances by Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), David Thewlis (Remus Lupin), and Alan Rickman (Severus Snape). Imelda Staunton is perfectly cast as the villain audiences love to hate, Dolores Umbridge, as is new-comer Evanna Lynch playing Luna Looney Lovegood. An improved Michael Gambon dropped his overly-quirky mannerisms to become a more dignified Dumbledore. Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe have also grown tremendously as actors, while their companion Emma Watson has been left in the dust. While in the last film she danced the night away at the Yule Ball, in this movie her eyebrows did all the dancing.

The film is not perfect, but it is entertaining. Harry Potter book fans and movie fans will find things about which to complain and rejoice. The movie serves its purpose as a transition between the new Harry and the old one, as well as providing a few laughs and possibly tears. Parents should be cautioned, for this film deserves its PG-13 rating. This spellbinding stage of the Harry Potter films will leave audiences asking for more, but followers will have to wait another year before the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince . With the release of J.K. Rowlings long-awaited finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows set to be released on July 21st, 2007, fans should be able to pass the time.

Check out one of the Harry Potter fansites at .