What It's About: Our hero, Tom Riddle, tries to do away with the dreaded Harry James Potter once and for all.
What I Was Expecting: Gee. Fifth film in the series. I think the expectations are pretty much set at this point.
What I Got: I really don't care what anyone else says. This one is the best of the series so far. The critics seem to be basing their reviews on memory. My guess is that they haven't seen the previous films as many times as I have. "Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Goblet of Fire", the best reviewed films of the series, do NOT hold up as well to repeat viewings as the first and second films do (even with the line "Your phoenix may have blinded my basilisk, but he can still hear you!") In fact, I gave "Azkaban" an A when I first saw it. Now I can barely sit through it. Not much happens in that film. And after catching "Goblet of Fire" on cable lately, I find the character of Harry to actually be unlikable. "Order of the Phoenix", at first, falls into the same trap. Harry going off on his dearest friends for no apparent reason. But as the movie goes on, Harry becomes a sympathetic character again. There are so many elements to this one that make it superior to the previous entries, namely the bigger battles and montages. And that's what sets "Order" apart from the rest.
Oscar Potential: The techie trifecta, Sound, Sound Editing and Visual Effects are deserving. I was especially impressed by the art direction and costumes, but unless this movie has legs, it won't stick around come awards time.
Random Thoughts While Watching the Film:
1. Emma Watson has said she has no interest pursuing acting after the series is over. I can only say, "Thank God!" Her first moment in the film is "line of dialogue....pause...line....pause....line." When the whole thing should have been said in one breath.
2. The final battle at the Ministry of Magic is, by far, the best scene of the series to date. Will certainly be topped by the battle at Hogwarts in the next film.
3. I can't think of another film that wastes so much major talent. Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman....all of them are barely in the film. Alan Rickman's first line on screen is over an hour in.
4. If you hadn't read the book, you might think that Harry and Loony were going to hook up. They had real good chemistry. Especially compared to the forced chemistry of Harry and Cho.
5. One scene made me chuckle. Harry, Ron and Hermione are talking in the bridge, it's foggy. This must have been an issue because it seems that the lenses were taken out of Harry's glasses.
Balls of Fury: At first, I was thinking "Dodgeball"/"Beerfest" meets ping pong. The difference looks to be that this one made me laugh.
The Golden Compass: This is one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year. I'm sure the anticipation will die now that the trailer is out. Looks BORING!!!
Water Horse: Legend of the Deep: If you put a bunch of random words in a hat, do you think you could come up with a worse title? I saw this trailer and remembered a joke I'd heard this week. To paraphrase, you're in a room with the guy who made this trailer, Hitler and Mussolini. You've got a gun with only two bullets. What do you do? You shoot the guy twice. There is a GREAT twist to this story and they give it away in the trailer. What looked cute is now on my "I never need to see this movie" list.
Enchanted: It has become a rare occurrence that a trailer for a comedy makes me laugh. Much less common is two on the same night. This trailer is funny as hell. It's going to be a HUGE hit.
The Bourne Ultimatum: I cannot wait to see this one. I'm really late in jumping on the Bourne bandwagon. I saw the first two movies at the same time...on DVD. That's late. But they are brilliant and this third one, particularly the bit when Bourne is in David Straithairn's office, is great.
Get Smart: When I heard this movie was being made (shortly after Evan Almighty hit theaters), I thought, "Wow! Steve Carrell is finished in movies!" Now that I've seen the trailer, he MAY have a shot. Some good chuckles.
Fred Claus: Three trailers in one sitting that made me laugh. I liked the teaser trailer better (although I don't think it showed any of the movie itself) and the story looks really obvious, but there's potential for a great comedy.