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(Review originally written at 25 November 2007)

Lots of people at the time praised "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" for its dark approach and atmosphere. Well, if "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" was a dark movie, than this is an ultra-dark movie. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" was a semi-dark children/fantasy movie that never really dared to cross the line. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is not afraid to this though. I must say that this movie is actually closer to horror than fantasy in my opinion. It had an incredible atmosphere, with also some classic build up horror moments. There is little room left for fun in this movie and it's all very serious. Yes, perhaps a bit too serious though. I felt that the movie could had used some relieving humor at times, something all of the other Harry Potter movies were still loaded with.

No, I'm not a great Harry Potter fan and never will be probably, but I have to give it credit for some thing. The series perfectly adapt to the maturing of the main characters as well as the viewers/readers. In other children book series the readers/viewers of course mature over the years, but the stories don't mature with them and everything remains just the same as the first book/movie. I praise the Harry Potter series for not doing so.

So the movie is quite different from any of the previous other Harry Potter movies. It has a new style, which provides the movie with a different atmosphere. This is being empathized all the more by the different musical score from the still unknown Nicholas Hooper. I liked this idea. A new approach calls for a new style, also in the music. None of the themes sound familiar or reminds us of any of the other previous Harry Potter movies.

The movie is more political than fun. The whole taking over Hogwarts thing by the ministry was done quite nicely and interesting. Harry and friends need to face some serious grown up difficulties now. Voldermort is back, no doubt, which means that there now needs to be fought in a battle between life and death. So no giant spiders, house elves, games of quidditch, brewing potions behind closed doors or snakes this time, but a real murderous evil villain, with dangerous followers, that needs to be stopped.

I'm sort of fed up though with all of these new characters that constantly get introduced in every new Harry Potter movie. It's of course not that any of those characters are bad, or being portrayed by horrible actors, but it just goes at the expensive of already some fine and established actors, such as Minerva, Dumbledore, Snape and Hagrid, who are now all being pushed more to the background. The movie is now filled with literally dozens of characters, that are not all getting the attention they need and deserve.

This is a very recommendable movie, especially if you thought that all of the Harry Potter movies were still too childish.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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