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"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

Directed by David Yates.
Written by Michael Goldenberg.  Based on the book by J.K. Rowling.
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Imelda Staunton.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  7/17/07

[Remember--I still haven't read ANY of the books!!]


Another year, another Potter...and, with the final book out in a few days, I figured I would catch one more flick before some schmoe ruins the whole franchise by telling me what happens in the end (because they incorrectly assume that everyone only reads Potter).  I hate to keep breaking this to people, but Potter book success notwithstanding, NOBODY reads books any more.  NOBODY!!  If you took away Potter, I'm convinced that either Barnes & Noble or Borders would have shut all of their stores by now, because the same 11 people you see in the store each time reading aren't even buying books, just freeloading in the stores and taking up space on those comfy couches.

(Speaking of which, shocking stat #1:  according to the National Endowment for the Arts, half of all American adults won't read a single book all year.  This number has tripled in the last ten years, and it includes college students who HAVE to read books for classes.  If you dumped college kids and then did this survey again in 2020, you would have about 95% of Americans not read a single book all year.  Soak on that for a second.)

(Shocking stat #2, a bit dated but still shocking:  in 1994, 70% of all fiction novels sold were written by just five people.  I would love to get the numbers for years when J.K. Rowling and, I dunno, John Grisham released a book in the same calendar year...whoa.)

Since a plot synopsis of what happens in this film 1) won't make any sense coming from a Muggle like myself and 2) probably leaves out about half--or more--of what happened in the book, let me just say this: for the first time in this series, I liked the previous movie and didn't like the current one.  "Goblet of Fire" was not too bad, had a little action, had a couple of characters die, finally introduced the Voldemort character.  I might have even, you know, LIKED it.  In "Order of the Phoenix", I was shocked at the amount of story-advancing could have but didn't take place; I was shocked at the lack of action, or simply "magical cool stuff" (nothing like invisibility or a map that shows the movements of everyone at Hogwarts in this, we're mostly stuck with spells that make baddies get hurled a little ways backwards); no Quidditch, the strangely-amusing hockey/soccer/football hybrid on flying broomsticks; barely any other kids at Hogwarts worth talking about (save for maybe the flighty death-seeing friend Luna Lovegood).

As I told my girlfriend later in the evening, "Even Ron didn't get the chance to whine at anyone in this movie."  You KNOW that if WEASLEY doesn't even get to whine to Harry that he's about to be eaten/slaughtered/wronged in The Ron Voice, you just know that something is going on here.

But, not unlike "Star Wars Episode One", you need to have a film that bridges the transition into something a bit more serious, and one can only hope that this sets the table nicely for the last two films...but, I was pretty much bored throughout this latest iteration of Potter and I am not all that fired up to drop $20 more to see this series finished out.  But, I'll give it this--at least it's not the shitstorm that is what "Shrek" is now...

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09