I woke up this morning feeling alternately sad and elated. Last night I saw “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” at the IMAX theatre. If any of you have read the book (which happens to be my favorite of the 6 published), then you’ll know what I’m talking about. This muggle was absolutely thrilled to see all of my favorite passages finally realized on the big screen. From Dementors, to Dumbledore, to Delores and detention, this one had it all!
There are times when the story strays slightly from the books. Many scenes have been axed for the preservation of time: SPEW meetings, trips to Hogsmeade Village and a fateful visit to St. Mungo’s Hospital. For those wishing to see all of those things, it may turn into bitter disappointment. Never fear, however. The crux of the story remains largely intact (which is no small feat considering the book is 800+ pages). For others who may not like it, perhaps it is because they dislike seeing their favorite wizard all- grown-up (which I assure you he is). In this film, Harry has to comes to grips with his father (the bully?), being kept in the dark by the adults, training the ranks of Dumbledore’s Army, the long-anticipated kiss with Cho, and of course detention with Professor Umbridge.
With the new movie also comes the introduction of new characters (Luna Lovegood) and villains…Umbridge herself is beautifully realized by a sinister and perky Imelda Staunton, and of course no one could be a better antagonist to the beloved Sirius (played by the fantastic Gary Oldman) than Bellatrix Lestrange (the also amazing Helena Bonham Carter), whose time onscreen is sadly lacking. However, the stolen moments between Sirius and Harry more than make up for any grievances, especially as they fight side-by-side in the tear-filled, white-knuckle climax at the Ministry of Magic (which MUST be seen in 3-D).
The awesome scope of the last 20 minutes of the film are incredibly realized as Deatheaters do battle for Lord Voldemort in one of the greatest literary/film duels of all-time. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and read the book to supplement what was lost in the film, but enjoy the incredible spectacle of what has been put on the big screen.