Disclaimer: I love books, and movies made from books seldom measure up in my estimation. There’s just no way to fit the hundreds of pages of rich detail into a couple of hours of film. and any story with a plot is lessened by the omissions. However, as a family of serious Harry Potter fans, we donned our character wigs (Tonks and Ginny Weasley) and headed out for the show.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (or Odor of the Phonics, as I’ve sometimes teased) is a marvelous tale — the fifth in a series about a teenage wizard engaged in a witty but perilous battle of good and evil. There’s a noticeable change in the fifth book, as Harry begins to exhibit the first real signs of teenage angst.
The Sunday Mirror has a good, non-spoiler review. Among the highlights are Dumbledore‘s battle in the Ministry of Magic, Imelda Staunton’s portrayal of Dolores Umbridge (very much as I had imagined her from the book), and the inimitable spectacular pranks of the Weasley twins. The blending of this group of teens behaving very much like real teens with the taking on of hefty life-and-death responsibilities is priceless.
On the downside, too much was left out for the movie to be the only segment of the story. There were no quiddich matches, an integral part of the story since Harry’s prowess as a quiddich player is very much a part of his character, and the games a key element of his life at Hogwarts. Tonks plays only a bit more than a cameo role in the movie, but held a somewhat higher profile in the book — as the youngest of the Order of the Phoenix (a group devoted to battling the evil forces), there seemed to be a greater bond between Tonks and Harry in the book, influencing who or what he will become in the future.
Definitely see the movie, but if you have not read the book, read it afterward. After all, it’s summertime — what better do you have to do?