Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (PG-13, 2hr 18min)
Two words...Frickin' Awesome!!!
We were having a great time during the previews...we don't go to the movies often, and there are a lot of great kids' films coming out! We were also in a bit of a daze from our buttery popcorn and sugar drinks...
But from the minute the movie starts...it has you and keeps you until the end (except for a quick sprint to the bathroom...too much sugary drink). Overall, this movie is one of the best of the series and really focuses on Harry's emotional development. It is a really emotional film...I laughed, I cried (I actually was on the verge of tears several times and finally lost it in the end). Daniel Radcliffe really shines here and shows that he isn't just some kid actor that happen to get the role 7 years ago. And wow! has he gotten handsome! I was also happy to see some scenes that featured the Dursley's (a short one at that), Snape (one of my favorite characters), and Neville (who carries an understated importance throughout the books). However, the film did lack a bit of Ron, Hermoine, Hagrid, and Quidditch.
However, the really brillance of this film (in addition to Harry and his current mission to battle Voldemort)...is Imelda Staunton (aka Vera Drake) as Dolores Umbridge. She plays this sinister character with such a sweet malice that I would fear her more than Voldemort. She carries herself so perfectly in her wonderfully tailored pink frocks and charming smile. She is just so evil!!!
We also meet Luna Lovegood...and cute but weird younger student. Just going by the movie, I would say that something is up with her and Harry...maybe not necessary romantically but something. And she says something in the end that makes me extra-eager to read the last book...."Things that are lost have a way of coming back to you".
The film is visually amazing as well. The costumes are particularly interesting this time around. Just cleverly designed and executed. Sirius' clothes are wonderful. (Ok, can you tell I was raised by a costume designer) The kids' clothes...when not in uniform...are stylish yet give you a sense of the past and add nice splashes of color. The Death Eaters are fabulous....think Greek tragedy. The sets are similar, obviously, to previous movies. But the special effects are better here. The way the adult wizards and witches fly and fight in the final scenes is fantastic! I loved it!
Overall, I highly recommend it to anyone over 10yrs old (and more so to those who have seen or read the previous 4 installments). There is some violence, death, etc. so definitely not for the little ones. And my 10yo, although really enjoyed it, didn't get a lot of the humor or amazing emotional aspects.
I loved it so much...I might even see it again (which is a rarity for me...to see a movie in the theater twice).