Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Movie Review

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Anh Hang

After the traumatic events from the Triwizard Tournament, Harry Potter struggles through his fifth year, as nobody seems to believe him when he says Voldemort is back. In response to the return of the dark lord, Dumbledore reenacts the Order of The Phoenix, a secret organization dedicated to fighting Lord Voldemort and the death eaters. With rejection from the Ministry of Magic and his fellow peers, Harry has to figure out how to justify his experiences. 

This movie had no business being that good, given how much it had to work with. Even J.K Rowling herself admits that the Order of the Phoenix book is way too long, and in the end it was definitely my least favorite book. But from that first opening dementor scene to the satisfying resolution, I can confidently say this movie is my favorite Harry Potter adaptation. As I was taking notes during the movie, I literally could not find any flaws, or anything I wish was done differently. This is the first movie I felt truly explored Harry’s mental health and inner turmoils, as well as reasserted important relationships. It perfectly balanced humour and darkness. Though yes it had to cut out quite a bit, the changes director David Yates made were perfect in the mission to explore more of Harry’s character, rather than just world building, something I felt the other films did too much of. 

This movie still had awesome world building and exposition. I audibly gasped during the introduction scene of the Ministry of Magic. The set design was so beautiful and so well done. All the bustling people and the intricate statues really made it feel like a proper government building with still a little bit of whimsy. I love how narrow the halls were of Grimwauld place, I felt like it perfectly conveyed the fact that it was squished in between this other building. Yates also cleverly was able to condense much of the book’s plot points into these really fun and creative montages. The use of newspaper headlines, and new Umbridge rules being bolted in the wall would become a staple in later Harry Potter movies. The Dumbledore Army montage was inspiring and beautifully conveyed Harry becoming a more confident teacher. 

This movie NAILED Umbridge. Even though I already knew what she was like from the books, I was still disgusted by her screen presence. Her resolution is an example of a creative liberty well done. When Umbridge begs Harry to tell the centaurs she doesn’t mean any harm, and Harry responds “I’m sorry, but I must not tell lies,” dang, that felt so good. It was such a small change but I found myself grinning from ear to ear. 

In the end though, what this movie does best is how it handles Harry Potter’s mental health. It’s really easy to get caught up with all the magical creatures, and intense battles, and sometimes we forget that Harry has to go through all of this as a kid. In this movie he’s only 15, and he has seen so much. It’s finally catching up to him. The opening scene is Harry watching a mother and her son at a park, already we see Harry is feeling unloved, and misses his parents. He’s unsure about opening up to his friends about how he’s feeling, and talk about the effect of all the trauma that he’s witnessed. When he realizes he’s connected to Voldemort’s mind, he questions if he’s becoming evil himself. He feels like he’s more trouble than he’s worth, and is a burden to his friends. It’s really hard to watch, and honestly made me really emotional. We see scenes of Harry isolating himself from his friends, and asking Sirius if he’s a bad person. 

Sirius responds to this in the most beautiful, elegant way. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” 

I love Sirius in this movie. I love all the relationships built up in this movie. Luna Lovegood is undoubtedly the funniest character in all of the Harry Potter universe. We also get a lot more wholesome and meaningful moments with our main trio, like Ron standing up for Harry after Seamus attacks him, and the adorable  “you have the emotional range of a teaspoon” scene after Harry’s first kiss. 

Overall this movie blew me out of the gate. It cut out everything it needed to, and the resolution left me satisfied, but still wanting more. I wish I could go on about the end battle scene, or Black’s death, but alas I need to leave some things to your own exploration. I highly recommend this movie to anyone interested!