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HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returns for his fifth year at Hogwarts to discover his integrity in question. Worse, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy), has appointed a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, the unforgiving, dictatorial Professor Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), whose 'Ministry-approved' course of defensive magic is all theory, no practicals. Harry fears this will leave them unprepared to defend themselves against Lord Voldermort's (Ralph Fiennes) Dark forces gathering, so at the prompting of his friends Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), Harry takes matters into his own hands, leading a small, secret group of students calling themselves Dumbledore's Army. Harry teaches them defence techniques against the Dark Arts, preparing the young wizards for the extraordinary battle that lies ahead.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's long and the plot's confusing, but Harry Potter fans won't mind one little bit. In this fifth chapter of the phenomenally successful franchise spawned from J.R. Rowling's novels, evil hovers provocatively in the lead up to the confrontation between Daniel Radcliffe's Harry and Ralph Fiennes' Lord Voldermort, but the clarity and effectiveness of the storyline suffers by too many subplots. This is my least favourite of the series, despite the fact that the exquisite reality and detailed production design is as intricate and marvellous as ever. The delights of the fantasy world of the young wizard are intact, yet the freshness is diminished with a dark and occasionally dull colour palette, and the novelty value is considerably depleted.

Screenwriter Steve Kloves who adapted the previous four films, seemed to have great empathy with Rowling's work, but his successor Michael Goldenberg has found it tough to condense the novel succinctly and capture its essence. The creativity of Alfonso Cuarón and Mike Newell in the Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire respectively is sorely missed under the helm of television director David Yates whose direction is adequate, but less than inspiring.

Ron (Rupert Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson) and all our favourite characters are back, although they have little to do of any significance. It is Imelda Staunton's new dark arts defense teacher Dolores Umbridge, who takes centre stage, and delivers a larger-than-life character wearing a pink bouclé suit and an overbearing manner. Her performance is faultless, yet I have reservations about the way in which she is directed. There are some lovely touches, like the cats that come to life on the plates hanging on Dolores' wall, and there is a spectacular broomstick ride past London's illuminated Houses of Parliament in the dark of night. All broomsticks point towards the climactic scene when evil and good find themselves in a spectacular head-to-head confrontation, surrounded by eerily glowing, frosted, fist-sized globes and an explosion of shattered glass. The ardent fans will be swept away by the Harry Potterness of it all, but the rest of us become restless.

There's a 2-disc set on DVD, with special features including additional scenes, featurettes, a personal film set tour and DVD rom.

Published November 14, 2007

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CRITICAL COUNT
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Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX: DVD (M)
(UK/US, 2007)

CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Mark Williams, Robert Hardy

PRODUCER: David Barron, David Heyman

DIRECTOR: David Yates

SCRIPT: Michael Goldenberg (novel J. K. Rowling)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Slawomir Idziak

EDITOR: Mark Day

MUSIC: Nicholas Hooper

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stuart Craig

RUNNING TIME: 138 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 11, 2007

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Additional Scenes; The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter: Explore all the movies in the series for clues to the mystery of Harry's true destiny; Trailing Tonks: Natalia Tena (aka Nymphodora Tonks) leads a very personal film set tour; Harry Potter: the magic editing: Director David Yates and Editor Mark Day show what a difference a good edit makes; DVD Rom;

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: November 14, 2007







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