Watching the 5th version of Harry Potter was perhaps the worst movie experience I’ve ever had. There were queues for everything — to get inside the hall, to get out of the hall, to reach your seat, to pee. And well, I didn’t even go near the popcorn stall. No superhero — from Superman to Shaktiman — draws such crowds that spans all age-groups.
Not surprisingly most people came in groups. Now, there are two types of people in each group — those who have read the book and those who haven’t. Curiously most people in the latter category were well familiar with the story before the entered. And at every important moment they ask, “Is this the giant you were talking about?” And if two of them had read the book, “Ah… this is Gwarp the giant”. Silencio!
Now coming to the movie. I think this movie is the best amongst the five we have seen so far. But not just because of the visual eye-candy, which I felt was good but not great (I’m sorry, I’m still dazzled by LOTR). David Yates, the director, for the first time has made introduced subtlety in the characters. The laugh that Harry, Ron and Hermione share in the common room after Harry’s first kiss shows how close the three are — dialogues would never have had the same effect. That moment, according to me, is the best scene of the film. Yates has made use of this thread in the end effectively to render the much elusive cohesiveness to the script.
The character potrayal too is spot on. Imelda Staunton is perfect as Dolores Umbridge with her irritating squeak of a laugh. Helena Bonham Carter snarls as well as the Bellatrix Lestrange in the book. Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), however, is a tad beautiful and less dreamy than what I had imagined. With the impending war Dumbledore is looking more serious than ever. And as Kingsley Shacklebolt puts it, “He’s got style”.
The only main grouse I have against the movie is the neglect of Nagini, Voldemort’s snake. I think she going to play a major role in the 7th book. The build up to that aspect of the overall plot could well have begun with this movie itself. The final action sequence too was disappointing (of course, the film-makers may have had constraints that I don’t know of). In the book the impression I got was that in the fight Dumbledore is merely humouring the anger of an errant student. In the movie it doesn’t seem so. Voldemort almost seems to conquer Dumbledore. Another fundamental error is that instead of firing spells, Dumbledore and Voldermort share a Priori Incantem.
But the casual movie-goer won’t notice these things. After all, there as many interpretations as there are readers of the book. Most importantly people in the hall seemed to enjoy the movie thoroughly — at one point, the crowd actually started clapping.
Harry Potter & The Order of The Phoenix was a hit before it even released. It will be interesting to see whether the next part – The Half Blood Prince – will get a similar response, since on July 23rd all the mystery will finally be revealed. Until then Ciao!