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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/07/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 138 mins

The effects are impressive and the acting has improved dramatically but the plot is weak and this basically feels like skimming the best bits of the book.

What's it all about?
As Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) enters his fifth year at Hogwarts he finds that he's become a victim of a smear campaign, with the Ministry of Magic claiming that he's lying about the return of Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Similarly, the new Dark Arts' teacher (Imelda Staunton) seems to have it in for Harry and even Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is acting strangely distant.

Meanwhile, Harry learns about Sirius (Gary Oldman) and his work with the Order of the Phoenix, a secret group dedicated to fighting Voldemort's Death Eaters. When Umbridge refuses to teach practical magic, Harry and his friends form a secret group of their own and train themselves for the oncoming battle.

The Good
The effects are extremely good this time around (one shot of the group flying down the Thames is so good they do it twice) and the design work on the interiors is extraordinary. Similarly, the standard of acting amongst the children has improved dramatically and Staunton and Evanna Lynch essentially steal the film as new characters Dolores Umbridge and Luna Lovegood.

The Bad
The problem is that although some of the individual scenes are very good, the overall effect is like skimming the best bits of the book. Similarly, the plot is weak (the source material is arguably the weakest of the six books to date) and the stuff about the prophecy is quite confusing, especially if you're unfamiliar with the book.

Another problem is that with so many new and important characters, favourites like Ron (Rupert Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) barely get a look in.

Worth seeing?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is worth seeing for Imelda Staunton and the impressive effects' work but it frequently feels rushed and lacks the drama and excitement of the previous two films.

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Content updated: 23/10/2017 07:14

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