Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (2007)

(In theaters, July 2007) Clearly, the Potter film team knows that it doesn’t really have to cater to the non-reading public: This fifth entry in the Potter saga holds up well to those who are familiar with the story, but earns a few blank stares from those who haven’t read the source book. By now in the series, the elements are familiar: Potter, friends, dark lord, bla-bla-bla. But as the series gets darker and darker with each volume, so does this film treading into adult matters as Hogwarts is taken over by a power-mad busybody who does her best to dismantle schooling standards. No Wizard Left Behind? Surely I can’t be the only one making that joke. I certainly could feel the collective slash-mind wobbling when Snapes told Harry “I will attempt to penetrate your mind and you will attempt to resit me”: Sheesh, the stuff practically writes itself, doesn’t it? But slash-spotting is something I only do during dull films, and as this Potter 5 moves to the conclusion, there seems to be less and less connecting material left on-screen. Suddenly, our heroes are in a big room of glass balls. Suddenly, our heroes are fighting evil. Suddenly, someone’s gone: Dead or Out for lunch? Suddenly… well, suddenly everyone needs the book to make sense of what’s happening. But since we will all end up reading it anyway, does it really matter?

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