I watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last night. I had had high anticipations for this film. Somehow I couldn't help feeling disappointed by the movie. It's not unjustified, given that the books keep getting thicker and the movies aren't. Therefore loads and loads of details had to go and some story lines were time-switched as well. But it's like paying pilgrimages, I had to watch it. I have to watch all the 7 movies.
The starting of the movie was captivating. I seldom don't pay attention to the time when things happen in a book. Or rather my sense of time is totally out of whack. Often it would be at night when I thought the event happened in day time! So the opening scene where Harry and Big D face-off took place happens in the arvo when my memory told me that it'd be at night? No? I think the Dementors have had a make-over since HP3. I thought they looked scarier in HP3.
Loved it when Harry and the members of the Order rode their brooms and raced to the MoM for Harry's hearing. It was exciting to see some broom actions after so long. I really really miss Quidditch in action - which is totally non-existent in this movie. The black shiny walls in the MoM looks more Matrix than HP. I thought they should be less glamourous.
The middle part of the movie, where Harry is back at Hogwarts, is kinda boring. There were funny bits here and there but I couldn't feel the coherence. I have to give my thumb up for the evil, supposedly-toad-like Dolores Jane Umbridge, fantastically played by Imelda something. Her high-pitched sarcastic laughs were timely and just the right amount. Also good job to the design crew as the tone of the pinkiness of her clothes darkens as the movie progresses, showing her true colours exactly.
Watching the movie is like scanning the book using the most powerful scanner, at perhaps 20-pages per second. And sometimes the scanner comes to a sudden halt to take a better resolution at a particular page. I felt jerky at times - like how Professor Trelawny was fired by Umbridge toad, the Weasley boys tearing the exam hall down, Harry getting his first occlumency lesson from Snape, the part where Harry discovered Mr. Weasley was attacked by the snake and his speedy recovery etc.
I was most angry with how unprofessional Hermione had been made. The fine and tricky arrangement for the DA meetings was supposed to be clever and it should belong to Hermione. Yet she didn't get any credits, including how the consequences on the traitor who sold them out. I have always admired Hermione's cleverness and cool use of intellect (to quote Dumbledore in HP1) yet it is hardly felt in the movie.
Even though rather short, the fighting scenes at the MoM were worth waiting for. How the members of the Order and the Death Eaters teleport in puffs of white and black wind, symbolising the fight between good and evil. The firey snake and locking-Voldemort-in-a-ball-of-water were breathe-holding scenes to watch out for. And the field force by Dumbledore when Voldemort directed million pieces of glass at Dumbledore and Harry. Again I don't like the way both J.K. Rowling and the movie killed off Sirius Black. They all seemed too abrupt!
New comers that are worth mentioning - Tonks and Luna. Tonks only got a few minutes of air time, which was a shame really. I think Luna was well played. Dreamy, a bit out there, weird - all of these are right on the money. I did initially think that she would actually be Harry's love interest.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is coming out this Saturday. There'll be a countdown at Fed Square but I don't think my time is worth wasting. I will want to finish the book as fast as I can. I think I have to get ready some Kleenex too and do some serious crying, depending on who else will die.
Really have to thank J.K. Rowling for such fantastic creations that have given the readers worldwide something that'll last forever.