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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix review

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
12Acertificate 12A
Running time: 138 minutes
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Imelda Staunton, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman
Rating 7 out of 10
Year five at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry is upon us already and our hero Harry Potter is angrier than ever. Poor Harry has spent the summer hols being ignored by everyone after he was discredited by the Daily Prophet for daring to suggest that Lord Voldemort has returned.

After Harry uses magic outside of school to ward off an attack by two Dementors, he is called before the Ministry of Magic to explain his actions. Cornelius Fudge - The Minster of Magic - would like nothing more to see the back of the young wizard, but he is thwarted and Harry is returned to his schooling. Fudge decides that the best way to keep an eye on Potter is to appoint Dolores Umbridge as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher - an appointment that will have dire consequences for all concerned.

Eventually Harry learns that he is not alone and that Dumbledore has been assembling a secret society - The Order of the Phoenix - that comprises most of his adult friends and mentors, including Sirius Black, to fight the dark forces. Determined that the students have their own skills against the Voldemort, Harry forms 'Dumbledore's Army' and sets about teaching them how to cast a patronus spell - but will they be ready when the inevitable happens?

The series continues with it's overbearing sense of foreboding. It has an even darker feel to it than The Goblet of Fire and small kids will be hiding behind their hands on more than one occasion. That said it does also have its lighter moments too, usually at the mischievous hands of the Weasley twins but also with a fabulously aloof Umbridge played by Imelda Staunton.

As with the previous films, there is much to enjoy here with all three leads having grown into their characters and putting in decent performances. Harry has a more commanding role as he learns to become a leader and not just a helpless victim. The CGI effects are a little patchy and vary from a superb flight over London on broomsticks to a less than convincing giant. You can't wondering what Dreamworks could have come up with given the same material.

There is a definite feel with The Order of the Phoenix that this is just marking time - setting the scene for the greater battles yet to come. This isn't a criticism as such, it's just that having to do that does leave a few unanswered questions. But then what good would a series be without a few cliff-hangers?

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