Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ignorance is Bliss: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix review


I jumped a max last night and went downtown to wander, I was antsy. My options were catch a movie or hit Powells Books. I decided, in the interest of thrift, to see the new Harry Potter movie -- Powells can be a dangerous, dangerous place for me when I have plenty of reading time on my hands and especially so when I have no particular shopping agenda set before I walk in there. I probably saved myself $50 with this decision.

I didn't realize that this was kind of an opening weekend type of situation until I got to the theater and saw the lines. The geeks, nerds, dorks and children were out in full force. I got my ticket, hit Todai downstairs for a quick microbrew beforehand (I really need to eat at their buffet sometime, it's legendary) and watched the movie.

All the poo pooing I've been seeing over this movie, I realize now, is from Harry Potter readers. The more fervent the fan, the worse the reviews -- "It's not true to the book, they don't show [enter character's name here] enough, they didn't develop [enter subplot here] enough." But for me, sublimely ignorant of all these subtleties, it was a dandy Friday-night-alone-on-one-beer kinda movie.

The story has obvious analogies to current fascist trends in American politics (I know I used the "F" word, look it up and tell me I'm wrong) but trying to make anything more out of this story than simply a story about magic and good and evil is silly. It is a kids book after all. The special effects were well executed and adequate to relay setting, the kids are settled well into their roles as actors and did a fine job, the multiple celebrity cameo shots were entertaining, etc. I loved the depiction of the new enemy, Mrs. Umbrage (fantastic name, reminds me of Nurse Ratchet out of One Flew over the Cuckoo's nest) -- with her pink wardrobe, kitten collectible plates and tons of perfume. I also dug Gary Oldman's screentime. He didn't have a lot, but I liked the look of the character and enjoyed seeing him on the big screen, it's been a while.

There's plenty to recommend this movie.

This is a dandy flick about trying to do the right thing, with a tiny dash of adolescent angst, and a strong mix of kid-inspiring "friends are live savers." I can give it a A- without hesitation, even for adult audiences. Harry Potter readers beware however, to you it will probably be a disappointment.

ps/edit/addendum: See how I was out-skilled, out-trumped, out-classed by my roommate on the 17 Gardens of the Outer Nethers.

11 comments:

andy said...

I've read all the books. The Wife, The Son and I will be seeing this movie tomorrow, and I know we'll enjoy in spite of any lack of faithfulness to the book.

I'm a sci-fi / fantasy fan, and these are my favorite types of movies.

Night Watch was really awesome, BTW - can't wait for Day Watch!

Kate said...

I'm a pretty big fan of the books...saw the movie last night and loved it =) Luna Lovegood was always one of my favourites anyway.....

Bpaul said...

She was well played -- quietly creepy.

CtheG said...

Jerry and I are heading to see it tonight. I don't read the books. But I see the movies. Jerry reads them and sees them. I'm sure we will both be entertained. Loved reading your review!

CtheG said...

p.s. yes I agree with the Fascist comment completely.

Trappin' Pat said...

I've read all the books to Aurelia--out loud (no I don't do the character voices). The evolution of the books as made them more complex and appealing to adults. The books are thicker than a Bible (although the text size is bigger) and translation to a movie requires edits. Both the books and the movies have improved as the chronicles continue. Part of this is because of the massive character development achieved in a serial. After the crowds die down Aurelia and I will have to go and enjoy the movie too. I was just talking to Aurelia yesterday of how it’s the Bad Guys that make a story—the Harry Potter serial has dandies (my favorite is Snape).

CtheG said...

We saw the movie last night. I must say that Sirius is my favorite. Mainly because I haven't seen him in a while ( Gary Oldman that is ) and he ranks up there with Johnny Depp for me. Oh yea baby.

I was very impressed with the film. Very creepy and entertaining. I actually felt more creeped out by previous harry potter movies more then this one.

Bpaul said...

"it’s the Bad Guys that make a story" Good point!

Glad you found it entertaining too Mrs. The G

Fiona said...

Snape is so well acted. Saw it last night. Pretty good....

Tate said...

loved it, i thought they did a great job with it all.

Daywatch was very good saw that a few weeks ago

Bpaul said...

Yeah, fun stuff. Fun summer movies.