Friday, December 17, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Warning: this review contains SPOILERS from the fifth Harry Potter movie.

The Order of the Phoenix is kind of a dark movie. But very good. The way the ministry steps in and transforms Hogwarts into a totalitarian school system, with standardized tests, conformity, and loads of rules, sucking out all the life and happiness of the students - I'm convinced it was all part of Voldemort's plan, although the idea of politics creating all this evil independently isn't much brighter a scenario.

I hate the Umbridge woman with a passion. She's my least favorite Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher yet. When she eventually confesses in the woods how much she hates children, that's rather revealing. Who ever decided that the best people to teach children are the ones who hate them? Discipline has its place, but there must be respect, and understanding, and above all, concern for the child's wellbeing, as a person, and not a pawn to be molded into a vulnerable and suggestible agent of the state. Anyway, I would be more inclined to call a 15-year-old a young adult than a child.

"It's sort of exciting, isn't it - breaking the rules?" - Hermione Granger

Dumbledore's Army turned out to be rather different than I thought, just from hearing the phrase in the past. Not much of an army, but damned if it wasn't exciting. It's funny, the thought of Harry Potter being the perfect Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher had crossed my mind, and I thought maybe that's what he'd end up being after all of this is over. But it almost sort of happened a lot sooner than that. When I realized Harry was the one they had selected as the teacher, I was really excited. And he really was the perfect choice.

"Working hard is important, but there's something that matters even more - believing in yourself. Think of it this way. Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now - students. If they can do it, why not us?" - Harry Potter

I'm impressed with how Neville is really coming into his own. But this movie introduced a new character that really caught my interest. "Loony" Luna Lovegood, the white rabbit, was enchanting, with her long white locks and mysterious air. I wouldn't mind having her on one arm, and Hermione on the other. The Room of Requirement was great - appropriately, just what they needed. Even when the mistletoe appeared above Harry and his love interest. Hermione is such a good sport, but I can't stand not knowing what her feelings are. If she has any.

"I'm sure Harry's kissing was more than satisfactory!" - Hermione

The battle towards the end was rather exciting. Multiple wizards fighting simultaneously, spells flying across the room. And then there was the face-off between Voldemort and Dumbledore. I loved when Voldemort sent the shards of glass toward Dumbledore and Harry, and Dumbledore used a shield that ground the glass into sand. Excellent counter move. For a moment when Voldemort seemingly possessed Harry, I was afraid he was going to take control and attack Dumbledore, but luckily Harry pulled through (my perspective is probably biased, but I'm pretty sure it was seeing Hermione's face that brought Harry back to his senses).

"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." - Sirius Black

I was convinced by Harry's declaration, that the power he had that Voldemort lacked was love (and friendship). And I'm so glad Harry finally agreed to work together with his friends and stop trying to spare them and go it alone. But there is a frightening consequence to that decision, and that's that Voldemort will almost certainly strike out against Harry's advantage, by attacking his friends and loved ones. Very scary, indeed. But they can't just run away from it, they have to stick together and fight it out. Indeed, the prophecy has revealed what is coming - a final duel between Harry and Voldemort, and only one can survive. For now it's just a matter of getting there, and finding the power and confidence to win.

"You're a fool, Harry Potter. And you will lose...everything." - Voldemort

Emma Rating: Delightfully Delectable


  1. Luna Lovegood is my heart. If fictional characters came to life I'm not sure if I'd be racing to her side or to Daria's. I think me and Daria would be good in the longterm but Luna needs somebody to just take her and show her how unfathomably wonderful she is. Funny you should mention having both of them on your arms, as I remember envisioning scenarios of that nature when I was envisioning Harry as a powerful Dark wizard. 'Course my version of "dark" in that scenario was quite good-natured.

    Dumbledore's Army is also one of my favorite things. Very inspiring, and I love the Dumbledore loyalty. And when he turns it around after they get caught "Dumbledore's Army, not Potter's Army!" it just blows me away.

    Umbridge is awful. But you know what she makes me think of... Filch, the umm "caretaker" or whatever. He's a vicious bastard. He wanted to WHIP the kids and, like, torture them and stuff. He would have too, if Umbridge hadn't been ousted. I know Dumbledore is a nice guy, and he likes to give downtrodden individuals a chance to redeem themselves (Filch is a squib, after all) but sometimes I question his wisdom letting Filch loose in the schol.

    'Course I also think it does fit in with his educational plan after all. Sometimes I think that the truly good teachers don't mind if you break the rules, they just want you to know that you're "not supposed to." They want people to be afraid to break the rules so that they won't take it lightly, do it for bad reasons. But if you're willing to break the rules even knowing that the vicious Fillch is trying to catch you, then you must have a damn good reason to do it. And so maybe that's Dumbledore's plan. And after all, Filch IS a squib. So it's not like he can do much damage at all, he has to deffer to the teachers. So he really IS a empty threat, in a sense.

    I think your sucpicion about Harry seeing Hermione's face is probably spot on. Whenever Harry needs strength that's always what he turns to... her and Ron, that is. When he is summoning a Patronus for example, that's always what he's thinking about. That or Sirius.

  2. I like your theory about breaking the rules. I recall a scene from the first movie. At their first broom-riding class, one of the kids gets hurt, and the teacher takes him away, and warns the other kids that if anyone leaves the ground while she's gone, they'll be expelled. Harry starts flying to chase after Draco, and stops right in front of Professor McGonagall's window. She sees him and drags him inside, and you think he's going to get a huge punishment, but instead he gets an invitation to join the Quidditch team. (Granted, some people might consider that a punishment...)

    And when they are first introduced to the school, Dumbledore (or one of the professors) warns the kids not to go down the forbidden corridor unless they want to suffer a terrible death - and while that threat is real, when he says that, you just know somebody's going to end up going down that corridor. It's practically an invitation! Drawing boundaries inevitably invites transgression.

    But jumping back to this movie, and that quote from Hermione I put in my review...I was thinking, the kind of rules Umbridge was setting up were terrible rules. They weren't sensible rules. They were rules that demanded breaking. There's a difference between breaking sensible rules, and breaking ones that are not sensible, and I think that's what a lot of the excitement that Hermione referenced was about. It does feel exhilarating to stand up to a tyrant, and to express your liberty and independent agency by openly disregarding rules that are unjust. Provided you're being smart about it (and the last thing Hermione would do is something stupid).

    re: Luna. Her hair is just downright awesome. In her last scene of this movie, when she's posting up notices about her lost stuff, and then she goes skipping off to get some pudding - she hops just like the magical rabbit she summons in Harry's class. So cute.

    (Haha, I had no idea what a "squib" was but I just looked it up - I was wondering just the other day if such a thing was possible, and if it had a special name.)