Sunday, July 22, 2007

Order of the Phoenix Rises to the Top

Ok so with all the hoopla around Harry Potter these days, you're probably wondering what yours truly thinks of all this....(and if you aren't you should be).

Well the local BX on base advertised a "pre-sale" (pre-buy the book at 0800, and then pick it up for real at 0900 (cause we are 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, the "midnight" sale in Britain was 9am here). Well they decided to cank that, so we had to wait. Check out Christina's blog for pics the stupendous "event". There were some 150 people or so in line (a lot for this base) and the entire shipment of books for the base was just 450...

Well what to I think of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? I can't tell you. I haven't started reading it yet (though a friend of mine was done by about 2pm that very same afternoon). Why? What's this? you ask....well, I'll tell you. Christina had a trip to Korea (of the southern variety) and our copy of HPatDH went with her. You see we originally ordered a copy from Amazon but since Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix we've also gone to the bookstore and bought one for me (yes we get two, because, she reads so fuckin' slow, I can't stand to wait). Well our Amazon copy should get here sometime this week (hopefully) and I didn't want to deprive Christina the joy of reading I let her take it with her. (Husband of the Year award nominee, uh huh)

I figure, I've got a test on Wednesday for which I should be studying (but am not), plus its not that much of a burden to wait, just have to avoid any spoilers in the news, that's all. I imagine once I get going, I'll blaze through the book. But part of me would like to read is slowly, savor it a who knows...

Anyway, waiting in line for Harry Potter 7 came just hours after we went to Shimoda Mall to catch Harry Potter 5 in the theater (no way in hell was I waiting until August 3rd to see it on base). So I know you all want to know: is it any good? Yes.

Wait that's it, just a yes. Hold on a sec,let me go on. The critics are correct, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the darkest of the Harry Potter movies to date (just wait till they see HP6 and the downer that one ends on....). Its also one of the shortest, which is odd, since book 5 is the largest of the books.

What does that mean for movie-goers? HPatOotP is a trim 2 hours and 15 minutes (that's positively anorexic for a HP movie) and I think that overall, the director did a fine job, creating a briskly paced movie that hits all the major points of the books. There's just one "teensy" problem. It wasn't quite enough...and it puts me in awkward position critically, because I've harped on film-makers for a long time now to trim the fat and stop gives us these bloated, exposition-filled bore-fests.

Yet with Harry Potter 5, I felt a sense of something askew. I know some critics have said it lacks some of the joyous childhood innocence of the first movie. I say: and well it should. My complaint isn't about that. Its about, well, the lack of the Order, for one big one. I mean the movie/book are titled Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but there's damn little, "Order of the Phoenix" in the movie!

Ok, so they show a few of them, when they escort Harry to London after the dementor attack (though there's no sense of foreboding like in the book), and little bits and piece after that. But precious few scenes and zero tension about the idea that the dastardly Severus Snape is part of the order....I think HP5 is crying out for a director's cut...because while I appreciate the effort to get me in and out of the THEATER before my ass falls asleep, I could DEFINITELY deal with another 20-30 minutes in an extended cut while chillin' on my Lay-z-Boy at home watching it on my big screen.

I don't want to make too big a deal of it, its just a personal preference and one of the rare few exceptions to my general movie standard #3 "Less is more". I'm not going to pick any more nits, because frankly I don't have any. The casting was spectacular as usual, with Imelda Staunton and Helena Bonham Carter joining the already all-star cast seamlessly as villains Dolores Umbridge (the uber-hatefully sweet and clueless nazi Ministry bitch) and Bellatrix LeStrange (the tormentor of Neville Longbottom's parents) respectively.

I just want MORE! Is that so much to ask?

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