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Harry's not a little boy anymore

July 17, 2007|by FEDORA COPLEY

An anticipatory look flickered in their eyes. Young kids, teenagers, middle-aged couples and families alike had congregated in the Regal Valley Mall Stadium 16 in Halfway. It was midnight July 10, and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was about to begin.

The movie, in general, did not deviate from the book. Though some passages were sped up, and some were left out completely, the movie retained the feeling of the book. It was darker than previous movies, exhibiting emotions and memories, characters and settings that turned the story into something more than surface magic.

The fifth in the Harry Potter series, this movie was very well done. Harry, played by Daniel Radcliffe, has matured into a teenage boy with emotional depth. He wears Converse and has a short haircut. For the first time, Harry is fully human. "The Order of the Phoenix" looks deeper into his feelings than past movies. His cohorts, Hermione (played by Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), have smaller roles in the movie than in past films, but the threesome still show their strong bond and continual support.

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Professor Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) plays a large part in the movie and book. From the Ministry of Magic, she cracks down on the rules at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the residential school Harry attends. The movie captures accurately Umbridge's maliciousness, her irritating pink tweed suits, the kittens on her office wall and her plastered smile. Other characters, such as Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), also come across powerfully on screen. Something about the acting just feels right, falls into place.

Toward the end, Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) have a colorful wizards' fight, with special effects streaming out of both their wands. With spells, fire, flood and more, you would think it would be spectacular. However, the action seems sloppy, as if neither really wants to kill the other. Voldemort's and Harry's chemistry is better.

For people who haven't seen the other four movies, the plot is not difficult to follow. In the book, there are many details that in the movie are left out. For book-enthusiasts, this might have caused emotional upheaval. However, the movie does a wonderful job of sticking to the main plot, incorporating creative cinematography, and not letting the movie drag on too long.

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