Opening 12 Jul 2007
In the fifth installment of the Harry Potter series, Harry is thrown into a world of secrecy, confusion, and suspicion after the death of Cedric Diggory. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) finds himself suddenly defending himself against random attacks from Dementors and running a high risk of expulsion from Hogwarts. After saving not only his life, but the life of his cousin Dudley as well, Harry receives word from the Ministry of Magic that he will await great consequences for the use of magic from an under-age wizard in front of a Muggle. Later that same night, he is rescued by a familiar face, Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson), and brought to the secret headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, where there are more familiar characters such as his godfather, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), Hermione (Emma Watson), Ron (Rupert Grint), and the rest of the Weasley clan. These are dark times in the world of magic as it is Harry’s word against the Ministry of Magic about the return of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).
All is not well with Harry as he realizes that Dumbledore is avoiding him, his classmates are suspicious of his every move, and as he continues having disturbing dreams that lead him to believe he is connected to Lord Voldemort’s mind. As it has been with every other school year, Hogwarts has a new addition to fill the position of teacher for the Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), a Ministry of Magic official, makes a colorful addition (as she only wears pink from head to toe) to the teaching staff. Always sunshine and happiness, this Donna Reed-like woman with a high taste for sadism and makes it apparent that any false moves within Hogwarts will allow the Ministry of Magic to take over the school and push Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) out the door. Storms are brewing as the school year continues. Harry and the other children must learn to protect themselves against an evil they are unsure exists.
Director David Yates has no problem whatsoever keeping up with the pace that author J.K. Rowling sets in her book series. Through fantastic special effects, exquisite acting, and a leave-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat plot, he manages to bring life to the book on the big screen, adding a new flavor to the already so well-written and beloved characters. New, sure-to-be-unforgettable characters are the flighty, eccentric Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) and Hagrid’s half-brother Grawp (Tony Maudsley). The most action-packed Harry Potter film yet, this literally makes the magic tangible as fast-paced fight scenes are performed right before you. The actors manage to portray the complications associated with teenagers while making their experiences as wizards and witches all the more understandable and unique. Though some scenes might not be suitable for younger children, this film is a must-see for families or even for die hard adult Harry Potter fans. The cast and crew have made a true winner with this newest addition, and the moviegoer is guaranteed to be impatient to see what happens next. (Kara Wahn)