I went to see Order of the Phoenix today. There are certain advantages to being friends with the Minister of Magic. You get to see certain movies two days before all the regular muggles. In addition, being friends with the Ministry and its agents, as this film amply demonstrates, is good for the continued health of your hands. So let me raise my hand in salute to Imelda Staunton for playing what is most probably the freakiest villainess in a pink cardigan. We must have order and one must respect those in authority particularly if they have nice little smiles and nice little tittering laughs. One of the main weaknesses of the previous films has been that they rested completely on the shoulders of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. This was a task that, particularly in the first two films, proved to be more then they could handle. (Though they certainly have improved with age.) This was particularly frustrating considering all the talent that was being left to rot in glorified cameo roles. This is the first film in the series in which one of the adults gets to really grab the limelight.
I was pleasantly surprised by Luna Lovegood. I had assumed that, considering the fact that we are dealing with an 870 page book condensed into a two hour film, she would be all but completely removed from the film. A true pity as I happen to love her character. Not only is Luna a major character in the film, with a role almost on par with Ron and Hermione, but they even created two scenes, not from the book, with Harry talking to Luna. Evanna Lynch, with her dreamy voice, captures the role perfectly. She is one kid to come out of Harry Potter so far whom I would really be interested in seeing in post-Potter roles. I would have also loved to have gotten more of Tonks, but that was not to be. Natalia Tena though does a good job with the little that she is given.
The fight at the ministry was brilliantly conceived. I was disappointed though by dual between Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort. The film does not have the statues coming to life to fight Voldemort. Another thing that annoyed me was Grawp. I did not really care too much for him in the books, but in the film he looks like the guy from MAD.
All in all this is the best of the films so far. Oh well ten days to go before Deathly Hollows and I sure am all Pottered up.