Complete A-Z list

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (DQ)


Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Emma Thompson, Robert Hardy

Director: David Yates

Not as incident-filled as previous chapters in the series, this is more of a single story, the beginning of which finds Harry (Radcliffe) facing expulsion from his fifth year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry for using magic against two dementors (the equivalent of Tolkien's ringwraiths) who attacked him and his fat cousin Dudley in their home town.

It doesn't happen, of course, but it does herald the arrival at the school of new Dark Arts mistress Dolores Umbridge (a skittish Staunton), a ministry snoop who aims to put the squeeze on Potter and his pals and maybe even usurp Dumbledore himself (Gambon) as headteacher.

Although the direction of this one is a wee bit flat, there's a first-rate special effects battle at the end, and the acting is generally fine: Rupert Grint and Emma Watson (who has shot up since Goblet of Fire) as Ron and Hermione have improved no end since the start of the series.

But alas the trouble with Harry is Harry. Radcliffe, admittedly hampered by the demands of the story, is becoming more and more of a pain in the role, his declamations never quite ringing true. Much will be made of his kissing sequence with Katie Leung, although in truth it's scarcely more than an unnecessary distraction from the matter in hand.

One or two other patches that threaten to provide yawns are nicely countered by some feisty exchanges between the three junior principals in this generally worthy addition to the Potter library. An improvement in the two yarns to come, though, would be welcome.

David Quinlan

UK 2007. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
138 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 08 Jul 2007