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JLFM's Movie Reviews (152)

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 
Weaker Than It's Predecessors, But Still Fun
3/4 stars

Well I wouldn't call it a dud, but let it be known: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is easily the worst of the Potter films so far. Granted, this is still a very likeable and certainly recommendable production, but it's not as good as the first two Potter films, and not nearly as good as the second two.

Potter is failing to convince almost anyone that Voldemort is truly back, and those that do believe Potter have been ridiculed. Unfortunately, it is also believed that Dumbledore is planning a rebellion against the Ministry of Magic, so a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is hired in order to avoid the practice of practical magic by students. This new teacher is Dolores Umbridge, who immediately makes many strict rules, and creates unfair punishments. Meanwhile, the beginning stages of Voldemort's wicked plan take place.

While Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has many of the things that has made the other Potter films so enjoyable (great characters, great special effects, good story), there's an element of childishness that makes the film feel slight and less intelligent than the previous films. The first Potter film- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone- had a similar issue, though it's much worse in this case, as we've become accustomed to the darker and more thoughtful Potter films of late.

Still, this is a Harry Potter film, and with that being said, it's still funny, exciting, and intriguing. The characters are still fun to be around, and some of the new additions are great.

Dolores Umbridge is perfectly repulsive, and downright evil, while still being civil, and having a smile that never leaves her face. She's easily one of the most memorable characters in the franchise. Bellatrix Lestrange has an interesting character design, and while she doesn't get much screentime here, I look forward to seeing her character develop in future films. My only issue regarding the characters is that the dark lord Voldemort doesn't seem even nearly as menacing as any of the other Potter villains. Perhaps that will change as the series continues, but for now, he's hardly memorable, especially when compared to the rest of the characters.

The acting continues to improve. The child actors are getting better and better, and the adults are consistently great. Most notable, however, is Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge. Staunton gives one of the best- if not THE best- performance of the Harry Potter series so far.

The score is composed by Nicholas Hooper. His score is good, and at some parts very good, but it's far weaker than any of the previous Potter scores. Dolores Umbridge's theme is memorable, and it pays more respect to Williams' themes than Doyle's score did, but Hooper's efforts simply aren't as great as the previous four.

While it doesn't stand up to the rest of the Potter films, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is still a watchable, amusing, and sometimes thrilling adventure, from a series that- so far- has not turned out a bad film.

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