I don’t remember much of the book. I know that I did read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and I do remember the ending, but a lot of what went on in the middle. No recollection whatsoever. So in a way you could say that I wasn’t faced with comparing the novel and the film. Which is a good thing. And without that comparison I’d have to say that this is a good film. (there are spoilers for the previous books/films below the cut. None for The Order of the Phoenix.)
The film starts off with Harry, back with the Dursley’s, and still recovering from the end of the previous instalment. Understandably, the death of Cedric and the return of Lord Voldemort have put a damper on his summer holidays. Plus he has to deal with the Dursley’s. He and Dudley are attacked by Dementors, which means he has to face a trial for performing magic in front of a muggle. This is the first major hint that all is not well within the wizard community. And that is one of the major themes in this film, that divisions and animosities created by the fear of Voldemort.
Back at Hogwarts and we have a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. She doesn’t really look the part, all pink and fluffy, but we soon learn that with Dolores Umbridge, appearances can be deceiving.
I think this may be my favourite of the Harry Potter films so far. The first two were very child orientated. Azkaban looked, and felt, the part, but the atmosphere didn’t translate into a great film. But the OOtP seems to have blended together the best bits of the book. I’m sure there are bits left out, despite my faulty memory I do have one or two things that I’m pretty sure were in the book that weren’t in the film. And there is the fact that no film can be as in depth as a book can, so in certain instances there is a glossing over of aspects. But all in all I thought it worked really well.
Special effects-wise I thought this was perfect. Okay, we didn’t have any quidditch matches, but the thestrals looked amazing, as did the final battle. Spells can often look silly on screen, but they really worked well here. And the few short flashback scenes really showed how much the characters, and the actors, have grown up since the films began. All in all, worth going to see. Although you really do need to have seen the earlier films, or read the books, otherwise you will be lost.