“You’re the weak one. And you’ll never know love or friendship. And I feel sorry for you!” In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Harry and his friends are preparing to defend Hogwarts from both the evils of Voldemort and the Ministry of Magic. As the fifth installment in the franchise based on the series by J.K. Rowling, the film brought on a new director David Yates as well as new screenwriter Michael Goldenberg. YouTubers Jeremy Hannaford, Durban from the channel Durbania, Alexander from the channel The Real Mr. Robinson, and MovieFlame share their retrospective reviews of the film.
The Order of the Phoenix balanced comedy, action and suspense perfectly.
All of the YouTubers are in agreement in saying this film is their most favorite film out of the entire franchise. The film does an excellent job in creating a balance of character development for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), as well as a balance of comedic tones, action sequences and suspenseful moments needed to build up the plot. They note this film focuses less on the world of Harry Potter and more on the characters living in this world: “It’s easy to make a movie that explores a world … but it’s a lot harder to explore characters.” YouTuber MovieFlame credits this well-balanced tone to the writing, which makes the pacing and timing of each event in the film flow naturally without missing any important milestones:
The thing that made the writing for this movie so good was balance. They were able to incorporate most key points in the story like the Dursleys, Grimmauld Place, the ministry of magic, Dumbledore’s Army … Voldemort and Dumbledore’s duel and so much more.
Not only is the screenwriting on point, but the direction of the visuals also present a compelling story and really enhances Harry’s character development throughout the film, says YouTuber Durban. He especially notices how well the film does in conveying this connection between Harry and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) through subtle physical character traits and actions:
What I thought was really clever was when he’s boarding the train and he has the hallucination or vision of Voldemort standing right there. And Voldemort does a thing with his neck and they do that just so you see that … from that point on, Harry is feeling scared and alienated from everybody.
YouTuber Hannaford agrees and says the film produces some of his favorite editing he's seen in a movie. He also uses the example of Harry seeing visions of Voldemort and even when he sees him in the mirror looking back at him as if it is his own reflection.
The very strange visualizations through it, like Harry seeing himself in the mirror as Voldemort … I enjoyed this bit of editing and I think it really worked in terms of the films central themes.
One of the main themes of the film centers around Harry’s character development. This is the first movie where we see Harry really taking charge of a situation, according to YouTuber Alexander. He feels this connection with Voldemort and he feels he is losing his human connection with his friends and he is ultimately struggling internally to fight off the darkness, and the film does a great job at portraying this emotion, says Alexander:
This is the first time where all the students hang out together and do things and they don’t just feel like kids together, they feel like a family and it’s really important for Harry’s development and how he’s different from Voldemort.
The film is able to show Harry’s feelings of isolation so perfectly like in the beginning scene of the film where he is at the park watching a family interact and longing for that same feeling, says MovieFlame:
Right at the start of the film they perfectly show Harry being isolated from everyone else. And right away we see a powerful moment where he’s longing to have a mother as he watches the boy and his mom playing on the playground. It says so much without a word of dialogue.
We see his progression and growth from the beginning of the film as feeling alone to the realization that in fact he is nothing like Voldemort and has so much worth fighting for, according to the YouTuber, who praises the film for excellently conveying Harry’s progression into learning how to ask and accept help from his friends and the ones who truly care about him:
Harry has great character growth and development after learning the lesson that went along with the theme of the film. He goes from a character that was isolating himself to this newly positive character who is now embracing those around him and he realizes he has something worth fighting for while Voldemort doesn’t.
Hannaford is also pleasantly surprised by growth of Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) from picked on push over to brave and outspoken wizard who faces his fears and stands up to Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter):
This is the first movie where we see Neville get more development rather than being a bumbling idiot. We talk about his parents, we talk about Bellatrix, we talk about the scope of what is coming.
This film really highlights how grand of a wizard Dumbledore really is, according to Durban. Everything from his duel between Voldemort showcasing how powerful he is, to his fire-filled escape from the hands of Dolores Umbridge showing how confident he is; that is what truly represents one of the most powerful and famous wizards of all time.
He kept his cool. He was calm, he was collected, he projected confidence and yet you can see it’s not like he has all the answers … and when he’s in a scene you’re just confident things are going to turn out for the better and so I really liked the actors performance of Dumbledore in this movie.
There are a few new characters introduced into the series and Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), is well casted and played, says Alexander. Her character does a great job at connecting with Harry in that they are both sort of outcasts and she is constantly reminding Harry to look on the bright side of situations, which ultimately aids in his revelation that he is loved by so many despite feeling so alone and isolated.
Luna is a really great character. She’s just so odd, peculiar, and she shares a few similarities with Harry potter … despite any bad things that happen to Luna she still keeps a smile and she still stay optimistic.
One thing all the YouTubers could agree on, is how much they hate Dolores Umbridge! The film really does do a great job in making her the most unlikable character in the entire series, says Alexander: “I just have a burning passion of hate in my heart for Dolores Umbridge.” Hannaford goes on to describe her as “a full-on gestapo SS officer!”
Overall Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a fan favorite for all the YouTubers who feel the film’s concise narrative, unique visual style as well as great writing and directing all contributes to an entertaining film.
YouTubers Jeremy Hannaford, MovieFlame, Alexander from The Real Mr. Robinson and Durban from Durbania, rate and review movies and TV shows on their channels regularly.