Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ★★★★

Even the worst Harry Potter movie is still pretty good. I know this film is already 2 hours and 18 minutes but I could honestly see another 20 or so minutes thrown in there to help the pacing. Everything seems like it's moving so fast. Granted, it's the film with the longest source material, and even the book with 250 LESS pages got a 2-part film adaptarion.

Although it seems this is the movie where the studio kinda committed to finishing off this franchise in full, because it feels like a lot of "moving the pieces in play to where they'll have to be for the next film" (very reminiscent of GoT seasons 5 and 7 for me) and also they hired a director that was probably meant to see through to the end of the series (which, for better or worse, was exactly what happened). I'm probably gonna rewatch the 4 Yates films because they're the ones I remember the least, and they all kinda seem to be in a very bingable sequence of films, each one picking up almost exactly where the last one left off. Yates is definately the blandest of the directors of the franchise unfortunately, but that may just be for a practical purpose. It's hard to get insanely talented, creative, and detail obsessed directors like Alfonso Curaon on a multi-picture film deal with a 6 year work commitment and many, many unflexible deadlines.

That being said, this film in particular isn't really bad at all. It just feels a lot closer to generic fantasy than the 3rd and 4th entries did. That's probably the reason I've forgotten so much of the 4 Yates films over the years, the 3rd has always been my favorite movie by far and the 4th film was a more than competent adaptation of my favorite book entry so most of my reflections have been for those two films and none of the others. This one, while not exactly dissapointing, dosen't really meet the extremely high bars set by the last two films.

Credit where credit is due however, the score (even without williams) is still very fitting and entertaining. Costumes for everybody are ON POINT. Umbrage is despicable in the best way possible. And we finally get to see more of a political fabric established for this world of wizards that we've already spent 4 movies in at this point.

There were plenty of scenes that I would've wanted a LOT more screen time to flesh out (The Titular "Order" dosen't really do anything and is in like 3 scenes). Jason Isaccs and Helena Bonahm Carter are suuuper underutalized, and the big emotional gutpunch during the climax dosen't really hit as hard as it should because it feels like the studio saying "this movie is already 2 hours and 10 minutes we need to wrap things up".

This is by far the harry potter movie with the most dated vfx. They're not cringe levels of bad but they are very noticibly "2007" to put it lightly. Not exactly the best era for fully CGI giants.

There's a few really dope shots here and there but overall this movie is just in the middling to low end of the cinematography quality spectrum of this whole franchise. For some reason the few uses of JASON BOURNE SHAKY CAM actually suprisingly worked. They were used sparringly and in moments where the Harry was in great emotional turmoil. Such responsible use of the shaky cam in the mid 2000's is admirable.

Also, Harry wears a hoodie and tshirt combo throughout the movie but is seen in a plaid sportcoat and tshirt in the final scene, signifying character development.

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