#146 / 365 – ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ (2007) – 138 mins
Cinema Challenge #61 / 115
In the world of the muggles, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is menaced by Dementors and has no choice but to deploy his wand. Only the personal intervention of Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) at Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge’s (Robert Hardy) kangaroo court prevents his immediate expulsion for this crime. But Harry faces a bigger problem in persuading anyone to believe that Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has returned. Luckily, he’s inducted into the secretive ancient Order of the Phoenix – alongside Ron (Rupert Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) – which has been revived to tackle the Voldemort menace.
Day 5, and after the slight derailment with the disappointing, and by far the weakest entry ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’, new and then television director David Yates gets the epic saga back on track with a unique style and presentation that was evident in Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ – by developing the production design to ever gloomier depths, which is required by the narrative.
Of the new characters introduced to the wizardry tale, it is that of larger-than-life new Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher with an overbearing manner, Dolores Umbridge brilliantly played by Imelda Staunton, who takes centre stage for most of the film. The fantastic madness of Helena Bonham Carter makes her first appearance playing the crazy-haired Bellatrix Lestrange.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the most action packed, leaner and meaner of the series, which Yates suspensefully builds with pace towards its climactic scene when the goodness of Harry and Co find themselves in a head-to-head superhero feel confrontation with the evilness of ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’ (chilling played by Ralph Fiennes) – which goes off in a spectacular explosion of fire, water and shattered glass.