Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, IMAX 3D

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So, walking into this movie, I was thinking how the bloody devil are they going to get an 800 + page book into a 2 hour and 18 minute movie? I dreaded that Hollywood would once again doom another great book. I kept asking myself, which parts would I cut if I were calling the shots. I had no idea, which is why I am not a director. I guess David Yates did a good job, even if he axed the first third of the J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece. I guess I am exaggerating a tad, though that is what if felt like. The movie starts, and before you know half the book has been told in the first half hour. Every new scene is a new season, one second it’s summer, then ten minutes later it’s snowing, then all of a sudden the snow has melted and we go straight to summer. Ha, that reminds me of Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail when the knights are traveling the countryside and the seasons keep changing on them and going out of order. That is the particularly classic moment when the knights eat Sir Robin’s minstrels. Anyway, I’m off track, watch the movie if you do not know what I am talking about (shame on you if you have not seen it in the first place).
This movie is much darker (to my pleasure) than the other four Harry Potter movies, more comparable to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) actually does a pretty amazing job capturing the essence of Rowling’s writing. He is not a whiny little twerp as in a couple of the other movies. You can best compare Harry Potter to Luke Skywalker as he started turning evil in “Star Wars, Return of the Jedi”. You really sense the trouble brewing within the character more so through the body language and facial expression rather than what is actually said.
My favorite character (aside from Sirius Black (Gary Oldman (genius)) is Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge). She was so good she actually has you hating her by the end of the movie. There was no child unscathed in our little fancy IMAX theatre, which was not on the edge of their seat with white clenched knuckles and grinding teeth. Sorry kids, but that to me is greatness.
One thing that surprised me was that they almost completely got rid of Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy). He had one line in the whole movie. From one perspective this took away the whole conflict of Harry Potter vs. Draco Malfoy, though it did strengthen the overall plot of Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes). I for one am glad they are starting to tie the movies together. Reading the books gives you the same feeling. The first four books are more based around that specific year at Hogwarts (Harry Potter’s magical school) whereas the fifth and sixth book are more specific to the overall conflict with Voldermort. I am excited to see how they pull off the other two movies. The director best hurry though, those kids keep looking older and older. I could see it now, Harry Potter with a five o’clock shadow trying to get cozy with Cho Chang (Katie Lang). That will make every young girl cringe.
Overall I had a blast watching this movie. At first it was too fast paced and you lost a lot of greatly written material, though it eventually settled down into normal pace where the movie took over the imagination and you no longer notice the flaws. I particularly enjoyed viewing the movie on an IMAX screen, especially since the last half hour of the movie was in 3D and we had our fancy glasses to wear. The special effects throughout the movie were great, but there is absolutely no comparison to seeing thing fall around you, and flying past gargoyle statues and feeling like you are standing in clouds of smoke. I hope to see all my screenings in 3D IMAX.

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Weak: 1 Star   Average: 2 Stars   Good: 3 Stars   Very Good: 4 Stars   Excellent: 5 Stars

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