SPOILER ALERT: Even though the title of this post contains the words "sneak peek," which I feel is sufficient warning to visitors who have neither read nor seen Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I have been encouraged by some of my friends to add this more obvious notice that plot information is contained within. If you do not want to know anything about the film (or the book), DO NOT CONTINUE READING. Thank you.
One of the benefits of being the wife of a retired military man is that I get to see films at the base theater for cheaper than the movie theaters in town. Occasionally, I am treated to an even better benefit --- a free movie. A few times a year, that free movie is a sneak peek showing of an upcoming film. Last night was such a time and the movie was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. All I had to do was stand in line for about twenty minutes yesterday afternoon in the 90º heat to get a "ticket," which was really an entrance survey card. Let me tell you, it was worth it.
My daughter and I have been reading the Harry Potter books since 1998 when Katherine the Great was only 8 years old. Wow, time has certainly flown! My daughter is now seventeen and we are anxiously awaiting delivery of the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, due to arrive next Saturday by UPS. I can hardly believe the end is so near. I just hope J.K. Rowling doesn’t kill one of my favorite characters, but I digress…
The film looked much like the last two in the Potter series: darker lighting, a gloomier Hogwarts school, and the demise/threatened demise of a major character. The addition of Imelda Staunton as Professor Umbridge only added to the darker nature of the presentation, what with her underhanded, (albeit) temporary, takeover of the school itself and her disturbing methods of discipline for the students. The Department of Mysteries appeared quite sinister as well, especially the room where the children ended up after fighting some Death Eaters for possession of a prophecy ball. The Noble House of Black, home of Harry’s Uncle Sirius, contributed to the “creepy factor,” too, with its dreary walls and shadowy hallways.
An amusing juxtaposition to this menacing atmosphere was the superficial treatment of Professor Umbridge. Rather than dressing her in long, flowing black robes (like Professors Snape and McGonagal), she arrives on the scene in some of the most hideously pink Chanel-type suits and pillbox hats than I have seen in awhile. Add to that her sickeningly sweet, high-pitched voice and squeaky laugh, and you have a recipe for a character that you truly cannot trust, let alone like. She is the epitome of meanness and deceit, cloaked in a sugary glaze (to everyone but Harry, that is).
As for whether the film followed the book: not perfectly, but close enough for my tastes. I began rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix a few days ago so I could do a full-blown comparison of the movie and the text. Great plan, poor execution. Having stopped around chapter five in my rereading effort, I can say that the beginning of the film did not deviate substantially from the book; whether the rest of the film was accurate, I couldn’t say. It was enjoyable and I would highly recommend it to any Potter fan.
Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.