'Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix'
(Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, et al / PG-13 / 136 mins / Warner Bros.)
Overview: In his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is now 15-years-old and preparing for the Ordinary Wizarding Levels examinations after a long summer away from school. He's also recruited by a secret organization to prepare for the eventual return of the epitome of evil, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Although, the group busies itself behind the scenes, no other wizard believes Harry and Dumbledore's (Michael Gambon) dire warnings, forcing a new witch (Imelda Staunton) to assume control of the magical school.
Verdict: Everything's gone all haywire and upset in the world of Witches and Warlocks and Wizards. The kids are cranky, the adults are tyrants (petulant or just plain useless), and, worst of all, Voldemort really, really, really wants to kill Harry off for good. Why? Well that's part of the mystery!
Now, sorry but this is a Harry Potter movie I can't really get behind! Sure there's no Quidditch or wacky Muggle antics, but instead it's turned so bloody dark that there's not an ounce of happiness either! Things have been threatening to turn really dark and murderous for a while now, and those begging for it have finally gotten Dementor wishes. Luckily for those of us with restless backsides, it's not so full of its own sense of importance that it takes three hours to give you everything!
They took a gamble that not just one but three children would grow up to be competent, attractive film leads and now that all three of them are near adult age, they can relax that they scored three out of three. Only Watson seems to be giving filmmakers trouble, and it's not because of her performances; it seems to be because they don't seem to be able to decide if they should make her less nerdy and more sexy or vice versa. Thankfully, nerdy seems to be winning!
In closing, 'Harry Potter 5' is definitely an intriguingly complex, visually dazzling, multilayered fantasy-adventure of the first order (no pun intended ... I think!), but whilst it looks and feels like a reunion in a train station, yes it still has much of the enchantment of the earlier films, but Harry no longer has as much joy coursing though him. But, and with this fifth installment one considerably grimmer and grittier than the previous pictures, it should still please fans who rate the films based on their fidelity to the canonical texts.