Saturday, July 14, 2007

Order of the Phoenix Dazzles and Delights

My name is Anna and I am a Harry Potter-aholic. I admit it. It started simply in the green and pastoral land of Tennessee. Many mothers in the land of the Bible Belt spewed sayings that children should not be allowed to read Harry Potter books because it was not Christian. What better advertising was there? It was all the temptation I needed.

Curious about such ramblings, I had to discover the story of Harry myself. My oldest daughter promptly bought me the second book for my birthday. I was delighted. However, I did not want to start with number two. I had to know the story from the very beginning. I bought the first book at a Scholastic Book Fair at Grassland Middle School. I read through it like lightning coursing to the ground. I loved it. Christianity at question? Hardly, every hero needs a villain. I had read more horrors in the Bible itself. Had these people truly read the story of Jezebel? Or, how Abraham offered Sarah as entertainment for camp visitors? Didn't Jesus say everything I can do so can you? Harry Potter and religion are two separate worlds. One is fiction. The other is a choice individuals make regarding their beliefs. I do not have to become a wizard or a dark lord to enjoy Harry's company. Harry Potter is a great children's story. And, I am a Potter-aholic.

Harry Potter was the impetus to get my youngest daughter to read. Only when she had finished the book could she see the corresponding movie. I read The Sorcerer's Stone and the Chamber of Secrets aloud to her. The Prisoner of Azkaban was half read aloud and half read on her own. My daughter read the Goblet of Fire and the Order of the Phoenix by herself. This is an outstanding accomplishment I attribute to JK Rowling. If kids can relate to the story and, in particular, Harry's journey, they learn to love to read. Needless to say, my daughters have grown up with these characters and the actors who portray them.

This morning I awoke and hurried to the theatre to see the latest offering "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." I knew I would cry, but there was no way I could not see this movie.

David Yates has brought a great new vision to the film world of Harry. His camera angles show majestic views without recreating each setting. Yates has enhanced the world of the first four films. The cast members sparkled. The only regret is 138 minutes is not enough time to let them all shine. Consider all of the fabulous actors who are part of this series: Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Julie Christie and many more. We can only hope for many deleted scenes on the DVD.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have matured magically into their roles. This is the first movie without Richard Harris where I enjoyed Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. I thoroughly enjoyed Harry Melling as Dudley Dursley tormented by dementors. And, Neville Longbottom, played by Matthew Lewis, has only barely revealed the strength of his character. Fred and George Weasley, played by James and Oliver Phelps, shared their talents to undo the hideous Professor Umbridge. Gorgeous, well executed filmmaking. And, why do I still believe Professor Snape will be the hero? Perhaps it is because Alan Rickman can overpower a scene with just his eyes.

Yes, I cried because I already knew the outcome for my favorite character, Sirius Black. Gary Oldman makes tatoos look good on Sirius Black and I am not a fan of this artwork. The emotional link and love Sirius gives to Harry is unmatched. I cried before the critical moment because Yates captured beauty and force of movement in the battle scene. When Sirius mistakenly calls Harry by his father's name, it tangles the heartstrings more. Yates then expanded from the tragedy of Black to unfold the intensity of the Dumbledore-Voldemort power struggle. From this scene, we are awestruck to witness just how difficult it is to battle evil.

Exquisite film. Outstanding characters and actors. I hope the Bible Belt ramblers can stir away from their Biblical readings to learn how a modern day hero can be loyal, honest, courageous and caring in times of turmoil. Perhaps I will need to start a Potter-aholic Anonymous group there.


becktronbexbecky said...

This one is by far my favorite. The cinematography completely outdoes the past three films, and the fact that Harry, Ron and Hermione are growing up makes for more entertainment. I was definitely more impressed than I had been with the previous films.

Ashley Bartkowski said...

Best Movie by far. I love Ronald Weasley.

Anna said...

Thanks for your comments. I agree! It is truly a wonderful experience to grow up with the characters and the actors.