It’s Not How You Are Alike. It’s How You Are Not…
Halfway done, peoples. I would be sick of these movies at this point if they weren’t steadily improving with each set. These two movies include the death of two main characters, a fact I had learned about well before the movies because of people talking about the books. I learned about the death of one of these characters before I had even seen the character in the movies. Damned book worms ruining these good movies for the rest of us. Well, they were ruined for me, so I will spoil for you in my reviews of Harry Potter, Years Five and Six.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Year Five) (2007)
Based on the novels of J.K. Rowling, written for the screen by Michael Goldenberg, directed by David Yates, and starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Gary Oldman, Bonnie Wright, David Thewlis, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Evanna Lynch, Brendan Gleeson, Natalia Tena, George Harris, Emma Thompson, Maggie Smith, Warwick Davis, David Bradley, Julie Walters, Mark Williams, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Robbie Coltrane, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Katie Leung, Robert Hardy, Harry Melling, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Robert Pattinson, and Matthew Lewis
After the events of the previous film, the Ministry of Magic has been launching a smear campaign against Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Professor Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) because they don’t want to believe that Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has returned. In reaction, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) is appointed to the Defense Against the Dark Arts position by the Ministry of Magic to keep order. She does so by restricting the student’s use of magic and instituting brutal punishments on them for speaking about Voldemort. Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) talk Harry into starting Dumbledore’s Army in secret to train willing students in how to defend themselves. Obviously, Dolores Umbridge does not take kindly to this, but she’s unable to find where the training is happening. She instead resolves to keep screwing things up around the school until she gets her hands on Cho Chang (Katie Leung) and administers a truth serum to make her confess. Harry has also been having dreams about Voldemort looking for a prophecy made about Harry and Voldemort. At first, the visions let him see that Ron’s father, Arthur Weasley (Mark Williams), is being attacked, allowing them to show up in time to save him. Next, Harry’s visions show him his new father figure, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), being attacked. Harry, Ron, and Hermoine, along with Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), new friend Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), go to the Ministry of Magic to find this prophecy. They’re soon attacked by a group of Voldemort’s Death Eaters, lead by Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) and Belatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter). The kids manage to defend against them for a time but are captured and held to make Harry hand over the prophecy. Then, the Order of the Phoenix show up, including Sirius Black, Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), Alastor Moody (Brendan Gleeson), and Nymphadora Tonks (Natalia Teena). They fight off the Death Eaters, but Sirius Black falls in the fight, killed by Belatrix. Harry chases after her and knocks her down, and then Voldemort shows up, but so does Dumbledore. The Ministry shows up at the end of the fight and sees Voldemort leave, forcing them to finally admit that Voldemort has returned.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Year Six) (2009)
The Ministry now has to admit that Voldemort is back. Voldemort has assigned a task to Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), but his mother, Narcissa (Helen McCrory), is worried about him, so she and Belatrix go to Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) and get him to take an unbreakable vow (which will kill him if he fails) to protect Draco. Meanwhile, Dumbledore picks up Harry and takes him to trick Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) into returning to Hogwarts, because Slughorn is a starfucker that wants to be able to say he taught the great Harry Potter. Harry learns that Slughorn once told Voldemort how to do something, but Dumbledore needs to know what in order to stop it. Harry needs to get close to Slughorn to find out, and he does so by using the Potions book of someone called the Half-Blood Prince to do really good in Slughorn’s potions class. Harry eventually finds out that Slughorn told Voldemort about something called a Horcrux, a magical object infused with a piece of someone’s soul to make it so they’ll never die, but at the cost of someone’s life. Apparently, Voldemort’s made seven. Harry goes off with Dumbledore to find one of them and, when they return, Harry has to watch helplessly as Draco reveals that his task was to kill Dumbledore, but Snape shows up and does it instead. At the end of the movie, Harry has resolved to find the rest of the Horcruxes and destroy Voldemort for good … but not until the next movie.
Order of the Phoenix is probably my favorite of all the Potter films. The story and effects are as good as we expect from the Harry Potter films, but what sets this one apart is the epic wizard battles. First, the kids of Dumbledore’s Army vs. the Death Eaters. Next up, Dumbledore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix against the Death Eaters. Then, as the main event, Dumbledore vs. Voldemort. These battles were pretty awesome, but I did think that Dumbledore would’ve been more dominant than he was, especially when he was using that wand we didn’t know about yet. The story was good as well, but something happened early on in the movie that I had never realized before but it made me mad. In the very beginning, Harry is put on trial for using magic in front of his Muggle cousin, Dudley, which he did in order to save their lives. The Ministry of Magic chooses to inform him that he’s on trial for using magic in front of Muggles by sending a talking letter to tell him … IN FRONT OF 3 MUGGLES! And one of them was Dudley! We’re gonna do exactly what we’re punishing you for … times three. See you at the trial, Harry! I also kept hoping that they’d make a joke that they never made. Let me illustrate with an example from the Order of the Phoenix’ discussion of the Voldemort situation. Sirius Black: “We think Voldemort is looking for something.” “Mad Eye” Moody: “Sirius.” Sirius Black: “Yes, I’m completely serious.” And don’t call me Shirley! Dolores Umbridge is the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher so, obviously, the evil professor is going to be Trelawny. Oh wait, it’s actually gonna be like the other movies where she’s the evil one. The relationships are progressing in this movie as well. Ron and Hermoine are macking as hard as they can without actually admitting their feelings. Harry hasn’t yet shown much for Ginny, but she begins to show her jealousy when she overhears talk of Harry and Cho Chang, if you know to look for it. I also thought it was funny that the Room of Requirement seemed to know that Harry required some nookie when it made a mistletoe appear over the heads of Harry and Cho. I didn’t think much of the Cho Chang character, so I was fine with them not ending up together. I was one of the people that always thought Harry and Hermoine would end up together, but when I realized that they weren’t going to be together, I was kind of hoping that Harry would end up with Luna Lovegood. I never saw Ginny coming until the next movie.
The Half-Blood Prince didn’t quite have the epic battles of Order of the Phoenix, but it did have a lot of emotion in the story and better performances. The most significant thing about this movie is that we’re finally allowed to consider the cast hot. Emma Watson was 18 for this movie! Hooray! A girl I’ll never meet, nor ever have a chance with, is now legal! On a similar note, one thing I noticed about this movie is that poor Harry is twice cock-blocked in this movie: first with the black girl he got the jungle fever for in the coffee shop that Dumbledore showed up and ruined, then with Ginny in the Weasley house when Ron decided the best place to sit was in between them. This is the worst thing that could ever happen to Harry, and I’m counting the death of his parents and his other two father figures. The relationships are a bigger part in this movie than they are in the other ones, but I hear a lot of people complaining about that, saying Harry Potter is making a turn towards Dawson’s Creek. But I like the relationship stuff. It’s the inevitable progression to characters that have known each other for so long and gone through so much together. Snape had been a good guy up until this movie, but in this one he appears to take a turn for the evil. Why? ‘Cause they made him Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher! Why don’t they get rid of that job?! The thing that makes the movie the most emotional is that it’s the one where Dumbledore dies. Unfortunately, my book-reading asshole friends ruined it for me beforehand, so I wasn’t surprised. It was still a very emotional scene, though. I heard about the book’s ending, and that made me angry at the movie’s ending. I was told that, in the book, Dumbledore freezes Harry and puts him under the invisibility cloak so that he wouldn’t interfere. In the movie, he just tells Harry to go downstairs and watch as he gets killed. The movie ending seems completely out of character for Harry. I know that Harry respects and loves Dumbledore and would obey most commands from him, but if one of my best friends just told me to do nothing as they got killed, I’d get involved. I think Harry would too. The book ending, if it’s true, makes a lot more sense. The graphics remain quality in this movie. I liked what happened to the girl and the cursed necklace. It was like the opening scene of Jaws but in midair. There aren’t as many battles in this one, but the ones that are there are quality. I liked the Draco vs. Harry battle in the bathroom, but it bothered me that Harry would use a spell that he didn’t know on an actual person, knowing only that it was “for enemies”. The spell could have made Draco explode into a red mist, for crying out loud! It could have made his entire body get sucked into his own anus. Maybe you should figure this stuff out before randomly throwing spells around. The other big battle in the movie is when Harry and Dumbledore are going after a Horcrux and then Harry is dragged into the water by pale Ethiopians and then Dumbledore solves it with a giant, badass fire spell.
The performances are at their best in these movies. Daniel Radcliffe doesn’t do much in the relationship side until Half-Blood Prince, where he gets to kiss Ginny for the first time. But he does have emotional moments at the death of Sirius and Dumbledore. I did like some of his smaller performances, like when Ron’s crazy girlfriend was drawing a heart in the fog on the window and he was uncomfortably playing with the seat, but he does have a funny bit when he’s under the influence of the luck potion in Half-Blood Prince. Emma Watson does a lot of legwork in the relationship department, also related to Ron and his new, temporary girlfriend, but hers was more resentment that Ron didn’t seem to reciprocate her feelings. I feel like she misunderstood when she thought Ron was calling out for Hermoine when he was unconscious though. He was clearly saying “Her. My knee.” because his girlfriend was kneeling on his leg and it hurt. Ron was pretty oblivious about Hermoine’s feelings still, but I did like the part where he had accidentally taken a love potion and was falling in love with everything. I also liked that Ron was kind of acting like Harry’s muscle in Order of the Phoenix when the other students were getting on his case. Gary Oldman was back for Order of the Phoenix and had toned down his crazy a lot. This movie is also the introduction of Helena Bonham Carter as Belatrix Lestrange, who I am strangely attracted to, even with her teeth so fucked up. She’s a great, creepy actress in this too. Tom Felton finally gets a meaty role in Half-Blood Prince. Before, he had just been a little shit getting on people’s nerves, but being relatively unimportant to the plot. In Half-Blood Prince, he has to be so torn and mopey about the fact that he has to kill Dumbledore, but he’s not that into it. He was, however, fully into curb stomping Harry’s face in the beginning. But the best thing introduced in Half-Blood Prince was Jim Broadbent as Professor Slughorn. His character was so funny throughout (especially when he got drunk), but had to deliver some real emotion as well. I thought the story about the lily petal turning into a fish and disappearing when Harry’s mom, Lilly, died was especially touching. Luna Lovegood showed up for the first time in Order of the Phoenix, which is great ’cause I love that character. She’s so quirky and funny to me. I especially liked in Half-Blood Prince when she shows up out of nowhere wearing a big, elaborate lion hat. I also got a little hopeful that Harry would end up with her because he took her to the dance, but he was going more for Bonnie Wright, and I guess I’m okay with it. I’ve got nothing against Imelda Staunton as a person, but Dolores Umbridge was a fucking twat. I wanted to kick her in the vagina for the way she tortured the kids, and again for all the pink, all the cats, and her overly happy demeanor that only vaguely covered the fact that she was a cunt. That’s 4 vagina kicks, or we can consolidate into 2 dropkicks. No amount of vagina kicks could make up for her trying to kick Emma Thompson out of Hogwarts, though. Trelawny was the best teacher, and when she was getting kicked out of her job and her home, my heart broke for her. Nymphadora Tonks, played by Natalia Tena, first showed up in this movie, and became my new non-Hermoine love interest. Well, Luna for her personality, Tonks for her looks. Order of the Phoenix also introduces us to Kreacher, Sirius’ curmudgeon-y House Elf. I liked him cause he seemed like a little racist, like Mel Gibson as a House Elf. The two little kids that play young Voldemort, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Frank Dillane, were pretty appropriately creepy.
These movies are still awesome. I like Order of the Phoenix better because there’s more action and a great climax with epic wizard battles, but Half-Blood Prince sets itself apart with a more emotional story and some great performances. We’re almost done here, which is good because these reviews are really long and take a long time for me to type, but a little sad because I could watch many more Harry Potter movies and be fine with it. Harry Potter: Years Five and Six get “I hope they have pudding” out of “But I am the Chosen One”.
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