Last night a group of us went up to Canada for an IMAX showing of The Order of the Phoenix. Here I should say that generally speaking I have not cared much for the movies; my strong appreciation for the books only partially extends to the films, both for technical strength and for story value (besides the fact that they differ so much it's hard for a diehard fan to enjoy the change.) And I definitely wouldn't take young kids to these, especially not this movie.
But I was pleasantly surprised. While some of the acting still falls below standard (the three Dursleys will apparently never learn), for the first time I really enjoyed Gary Oldman in the role of Sirius. Daniel Radcliffe continues to grow into his talent, Rupert Grint did well and Emma Watson is getting the hang of it. But Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood was the best surprise of all. The girl came out of nowhere and brought her role to life, even without mentioning Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. Since Luna is one of my favorite characters, this helped make the movie for me.
The other great thing belonged specially to the IMAX presentation: the 20 minutes of 3-D through the Department of Mysteries scene, beginning with the flying on thestrals. If any of you HP fans have the chance to see the 3-D IMAX version, believe me, it's worth it.
Of course, there were the usual story abbreviations; particularly notable in the Cho Chang thread. Most of the time, though, considering that they had to fit a 700+ page book into a 2.25 hour film, the cuts made sense. The Weasley twins' spectacular exit, happening on their first major prank instead of the second, was a good example of this. I enjoyed that scene :-) And semi-props to the script-writers for, after cutting so many important Dumbledore lines in the first four films, taking the biggest one out of book 2 and giving it to Sirius.
Other things I really liked:
- Dumbledore's Army (superb)
- The rescue of Harry from Privet Drive
- Harry's throwing off of Voldemort's attempt to take control of him
- The dementors-in-Little-Whinging scene; Mrs. Figg's reaction was too understated
- Harry actually giving Lucius Malfoy the prophecy
- Dumbledore looking nonplussed at Umbridge
The book itself still trumps, though. I'm glad to still be working through it, as it'll be nice to go back to the full story for my Great Chronological Re-Read. Current place:
"What sort of diversion is it?" asked Ron.
"You'll see, little bro," said Fred, as he and George got up again. "At least, you will if you trot along to Gregory the Smarmy's corridor round about five o'clock tomorrow."