Monday, 16 July 2007

Five days and counting..

I'm afraid I'm going to have to do it....Yes that's right, I'm going to talk about Harry Potter. I went to go and see the Film no. 5 on Friday night so here's the verdict...

If you're a fan of the books/film franchise you'll love it. If you're not up to speed with this whole concept of a load of school kids larking about with wands, fighting grown men wearing dresses (sorry, dark wizards) then abandon any attempt at piecing together the plot, sit back and enjoy the pretty pictures.

Me and a couple of girlfriends went to a late showing in the hope of avoiding rows of sniffling, squealing children. Instead we packed ourselves into a cinema filled with (at least a hundred) sniffling, squealing grown men and women. With David Yates directing Order of the Phoenix is even darker than the previous celluloid installment, peppered with tragic flashback sequences, soul sucking demons, child torture and yes, more death. Good job we didn't pile in with the kiddies. At least adults try to retain some dignity and whimper quietly.

Many Potterites share a dislike for this particular episode, viewing it on aggregate as the longest and dullest of Harry's adventures. Most of the story takes place at Hogwarts and is concerned with the kids acting out against their new headteacher, with the titular Order and whizz-bang action having to wait until the end of the film. However Yates does a good job with the plot changes and abridgements - fitting the mammoth tome into just over two hours screen time, giving the film pace whilst retaining its ominous, oppressive feel (making the film's moments of comic relief all the more delightful, such when Ron and Hermione bicker about Harry's love life and the Weasley twins disrupt a OWL exam).

The acting is admirable. As the franchise's three protagonists Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are improving, slowly, though they still come across as stiff in places (not to mention the age issue, it's odd watching a group of young adults playing 15 year-olds, especially after the lead character stormed the West End in his birthday suit not that long ago). The experienced cast members are excellent though, especially the insidious evil of Imelda Staunton's Dolores Umbridge - a harpy in pink - and Gary Oldman's haunted Sirius. Nods to Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter amongst the myriad of British talent on show.

The special effects are stunning (with the exception of Hagrid's naff hulking half-brother) and thanks to Yates the jokes and the tone of Order are decidedly more grown up than previous offerings (Rowling's harsh media and Ministry of Magic are brilliantly portrayed, sure to touch some nerves). Adult fans should be appeased, young kids on the other hand might get a little distressed at parts but if they've read and enjoyed the books then they can hack it.

Meanwhile the world waits for the weekend to hurry itself up and get here already...Saturday 21 July sees the end of an era with the release of the final Potter book and I'm not ashamed to say I'm getting a little excited. Everyone needs a bit of magic, after all.

5 comments:

James said...

It is at times like these that I should remember that age old phrase...

"If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all"

Em said...

Ouch.... :P

James said...

Sorry, not a fan... You should feel privileged and special that I saved you from my views.

Em said...

is there no inner James in there clammoring to get out? awww, shame. (I may have said too much, please don't rant - I can probably guess...the books are lovely though :P)

Jenny! said...

I haven't seen it yet, but would love to...I didn't read your post just in case you gave a spoiler! Will be back!