Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The Book:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J. K. Rowling, 2003.

870 pages. (sigh). Some of my favorite things happen in this novel. I love the deeper insight into Sirius, James, and Snape; Weasley twins are always aces in my book. There are some topics that get a bit over-done, such as Quidditch, the house elves (again), and there is one thing at the near conclusion that is so ridiculous it literally makes me furious every time I read it (I've read this book a few times), and it's the stupid DANCING-LEGS curse that the Death Eater puts on Neville at the Ministry of Magic when all hell is breaking loose. I can't think of something less Death Eater-like than a curse that makes one's legs dance; how about simply removing the legs? Biggest critique of the entire series of novels is that. Ridiculous. Nonsense.

Moving on, pleasing literary bits?

1. British vernacular: rubbish, as in everything negative being described as, someone being "bang out of order," and "Jolly Good."

2. Descriptions of Dolores Umbridge's foulness were wonderful: ". . . they found Professor Umbridge already seated at the teacher's desk, wearing the fluffy pink cardigan of the night before and the black velvet bow on top of her head. Harry was again reminded forcibly of a large fly perched unwisely on top of an even larger toad," and Harry's statement to Sirius in a letter, Umbridge being "nearly as nice as your mum," (who is the screaming woman in the portrait, hurling insults to Mudbloods and Blood Traitors whenever they disturb her).

3. People are much crabbier in this novel. "'You know,' said Phineas Nigellus, even more loudly than Harry, 'this is precisely why I loathed being a teacher! Young people are so infernally convinced that they are absolutely right about everything. Has it not occurred to you, my poor, puffed-up popinjay, that there might be an excellent reason why the headmaster of Hogwarts is not confiding every tiny detail of his plans to you?'" (well said, mate).

I enjoyed it well enough. However, I think this book made for *the best* film adaptation, so when I think of the goings-on of The Order of the Phoenix, I prefer to really just think of the better, condensed, more cinematic version, if you want to read on.

The Film.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007, directed by David Yates. 138 minutes.

A masterpiece, my favorite, favorite Potter. I find the entire film to be extraordinary, but as I'm a bit short on time, I'll spare you another drawn-out ramble and just say that this film has the best beginning and ending I've ever seen. The dry sun at the park quickly replaced by the storm clouds and darkness and THAT RUN DOWN THE FIELD BY HARRY AND DUDLEY? Beautifully thrilling, say nothing of the damned dementors just slinking into that tunnel.

And the entire sequence in the Ministry of Magic, starting with Sirius punching (my boy!) Lucius Malfoy right in the face? Dueling! The Aurors! Avada Kadavra! "You comin' to get me?" HBC as Bellatrix, killer!
OMFG. Right. On.

And Voldemort vs. Dumbledore? Utterly amazing, like a wizardy  Dooku vs. Yoda. The scene of Voldemort causing the power of Dumbledore's previous spell to ripple and build from his feet up to his chest and then flailing his arms out, BLASTING every surface in the Ministry to bits---this is my favorite scene from any film, ever. Hands down. It's fucking brilliant.

This film really just makes me happy. David Yates, you're aces. And there were wonderful high-quality images available for this, so enjoy!


Donald said...

This was the point in the series where I stopped having any idea what was happening. I know longer had any idea who was good, who was bad, what the motivations were, or why I should care. Some of this was probably intentional on the part of Rowling, but some probably wasn't.

Still... it was a cool movie.