Tuesday, February 26, 2008
As everyone and his Great-Aunt Matilda have already said, the longest book became the shortest movie -- but, even then, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is solidly over two hours, so it's not as if this is some breezy little film.
And this is another movie everyone (and his Great-Aunt Hortense) saw six months ago, so detailed comments on my part would be superfluous. And I watched it with The Wife, so I can't psuedo-liveblog it, as I did with Batman Begins.
Luckily, everyone else (aside from the uber-Potter-fen, for whom no movie could be too long or too slavish in its devotion to the Holy Writ of Rowling) is pretty much right about Order of the Phoenix: it moves quickly, it tells a whole story (even if that is not precisely the same as, or as large as, the story of the book), it's visually stylish and engrossing, and Imelda Staunton makes a great villain.
I can't say whether or not it makes sense to the hypothetical viewer who knows nothing about Harry Potter, but said viewer would have to have been hand-reared in a cage to attain that level of ignorance these days. If you live in an English-speaking country, you know about Potter. And most of the rest of you probably do as well.
So, for part five of a film series, it's remarkably good, especially since the first two were so clunky and dull. The director of Phoenix is already doing movie #6 and has by some reports already signed up to do the one or two movies of book #7, so that's also a good sign. Has there ever been a seven-movie series of reasonable quality? (The initial string of Sean Connery James Bond movies is the first thing that came to mind, but there were only five of those before On Her Majesty's Secret Service.)