A movie review by waverider37: July 14, 2007
Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you haven't read the novels or seen the films, you're about ten years behind. Get with it already.
The movie adaptation of the fifth novel of the highly successful Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling, has opened recently in cinemas worldwide. Starring the cast from the first four films (with the exception of the character of Dumbledore, who has been played by two different actors), it shows Harry's struggle through adolescence, rumormongering and an overzealous "High Inquisitor" at his school, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry, his headmaster Dumbledore, his godfather Sirius and his closest friends Ron and Hermione are attempting to tell the horrifying truth to the general wizarding population: a dark wizard, whom most are afraid to name, has returned after 13 years in hiding to once again terrorise the world.
Dedicated fans will remember the hype surrounding the release of the fifth novel, which does not appear to have waned, even though many people have considered the films to be rushed and not in-depth enough. Indeed, upon first glance, the film is quite rushed: the important parts are kept in, but other, "flavour" material has been removed. However, in contrast to the other films in the series (but in particular the third and fourth films) viewers can draw all necessary information from the film, rather than needing to read the novels for explanations of key sequences.
In addition, some of the sequences at the beginning were not quite believeable for me. Taking into account that characters' emotions are difficult to portray on screen, I still believe that the very first sequence - Harry's cousin taunting him to the verge of losing his temper - was poorly done. His frustration at not receiving word from even his closest friends was also underdone a tad, yet his frustration at Dumbledore near the middle of the film was portrayed brilliantly. Some sequences were sped up too quickly, creating more possibilities for difficult portrayal on screen, and also for dialogue to be sped up considerably - at several points throughout the film, Harry and Hermione in particular speed their lines, at times making them completely incoherent.
Despite this little setback, the film is quite good by comparison to the first four. The main characters have all been established, even those who have barely been involved (Sirius Black, Lord Voldemort etc.) and there is, therefore, little to no need for character introduction and development. Daniel Radcliffe's (Harry Potter) acting has improved greatly since the first film. Special effects and camera angles are as impressive as always, and (as mentioned) key sequences have been enacted exceptionally. I was particularly enthralled with the final fight scene at the Ministry of Magic, and Bellatrix Lestrange killing Sirius Black drove home the thought that I had of the archway in the Department of Mysteries: that it is not all that it seems.
Overall, a good movie. Much better than its predecessors, yet was still lacking in key areas. I hope for more improvements to be made to the sixth and seventh films, and eagerly anticipate the release of the final novel in a week's time. I rate this move 7.5/10.