19 Thoughts While Re-Watching “Order of the Phoenix”
Ah, we’e finally made our way to the re-watching of Order of the Phoenix, one of most polarizing installments of the series, both book and film. Nearly as stark and dreary in cinematography as Prisoner of Azkaban, OotP jacks up the teenage angst in its main teenaged cast as well as the threatening and illusive nature of Voldemort’s mission to decimate the non-pure-blood community. Should you, the reader, want to catch up on the other four re-watch reaction posts, never fear, for here they are: SS, CoS, PoA, and GoF.
Now, buckle up! Because I, personally, love this movie, and I am making it my one goal to convert all you OotP haters into begrudging OotP appreciators. (Or, at the very least, to hammer in the fact that all the boys – hair freshly shorn – look AMAZING, a much-needed eye refresher to the atrociously shaggy ‘dos of GoF.)
1. Dudley, Dudley, Dudley.
Dudley is very large, very sweaty, and very superior in OotP’s opening scene. His cronies are all idiots, all decked out in the same, stupid, over-sized jerseys, and all seem to have uniformly awful teeth. Picking on a sullen Harry is a little bit too easy, but I like how the movie diverted away from the way the scene was laid out in the book. We get to see how horrible Dudley and his crew are, but we also get to see how bizarre and seemingly nonthreatening Harry’s wand looks to a Muggle.
Also: EURGH, OotP’s CGI masters really went for the throat in terms of Dementors.
2. MRS. FIGG!!!
Mrs. Figg is so dotty and so odd, with her raincoat on, wheeling her squeaky suitcase around. My only nitpick with Kathryn Hunter’s portrayal of Harry’s neighbor is that she only ever seems to be dotty, odd, and slightly terrified. We don’t get to see her curse out Mundungus for not staying on his guard, and we don’t get to see her exasperated with a petrified Dudley. We also don’t get to hear Mrs. Figg admit that she felt bad for treating Harry so poorly when he was a child because she didn’t want the Dursleys to keep him away from her watchful eye.
3. Ron and Hermione’s matching wardrobes
*hands on chin*
4. Evanna Lynch is bae.
Everything about Evanna Lynch is beautiful and adorable. She turns Luna Lovegood – who, admittedly, is way weird in the book – into a fascinating, three-dimensional human being. The movie steers away from book-Luna’s more over-the-top moments (e.g., shrieking with laughter after Ron cracks a not-so-funny joke) and illuminates more of her manic pixie dream girl moments, which is only okay because she and Harry don’t end up romantically involved.
All in all: Evanna Lynch is bae.
The costume department’s efforts to make Matthew Longbottom look like a pudgy, sad Neville, on the other hand, is not good.
5. Umbridge is HORRIBLE
From the moment we see her, perched in the stands at Harry’s trial, harrumphing at Dumbledore, Umbridge is a pill. Her refusal to listen to anyone with differing opinions makes my teeth grind, as does her determined quest to stamp out Harry’s spirit. I forgot how painful the movie made her detention quill look – I actually had to look away because the scratched-in letters looked so real, so raised and pink, so open-wound-y. Hat tip to Imelda Staunton for infusing her scenes with the right mixture of righteousness, disgust, paranoia, and simmering rage; I re-read OotP after re-watching the movie and forgot how different and revolting book-Umbridge is, compared to movie-Umbridge.
6. However, the montages of Umbridge’s decrees are amusing.
The fifth movie’s score is pretty outstanding, all lilting and trilling, at odds with the more tense moments in the film. A standout example is the montage of Umbridge’s Educational Decrees, where she serenely floats around the castle as she makes sure her ridiculous rules are followed. (My favorite one is the one where she decrees all uniforms must be worn neatly, which gives her the excuse of zapping rumpled students so that their shirts are tucked in properly, their pants are belted accordingly, and their ties are tied perfectly.)
7. Until we get to the one where Umbridge fires Trelawney
DAMMIT, UMBRIDGE. I was so enjoying her “tut tut”-ing of all the professors, glad that her un-PC-ness applied to everyone. Snape’s dry, annoyed “obviously” to her line of questioning, that she noticed he never got the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, made me LOL.
BUT THEN. She has to go and sneer at Trelawney, making sure the former Divination professor was a spectacle in front of all of Hogwarts, coolly telling her to leave; she was useless and therefore not needed at the school anymore. Trelawney’s stammering “you can’t do this” made my eyes well up, the way she desperately looked around at the crowd of students, for anyone, anyone, to defend her. And then HBiC McGonagall rushes into the middle of the courtyard, reassuringly puts her arms around the woman she previously rolled her eyes at, and shakes in anger at Umbridge. I LOSE IT EVERY TIME.
8. I giggle so hard at the Hog’s Head Inn scene.
I love how awkward the trio is whenever they’re faced with talking to people other than themselves. Especially Hermione, because movie-Hermione is just a bit too flawless, so her staring at the whole group of people who swarmed the Hog’s Head Inn, like a deer caught in the headlights, was a nice touch.
9. … So it takes Neville MONTHS to learn how to properly perform the Disarming Charm?
WHY. WHY. WHY.
Dear filmmakers and screenwriters,
Neville is not an incompetent IDIOT. While everyone else in the DA learns how to conjure their own Patronuses, and Ginny masters the Reductor Curse, all Neville can successfully do is the Disarming Charm? The viewers need to see him practicing the whole swish and flick during class and muttering the right intonation for the spell on his own? DAMMIT, WHY? (Also, the Disarming Charm is Harry’s spell! The spell that identifies Harry as the nonviolent pacifist, the direct opposite of Voldemort’s all-too-light-handed approach toward killing anyone to suit his mood.)
10. Still steaming about OotP completely skating over Snape’s memories
One of the most interesting parts in the book was when we got to dive into Snape’s memories, Harry able to get into Snape’s head during one of their Occlumency lessons, and see the bullying Snape had to put up with from James Potter. This realization was supposed to shake Harry up because he had put his parents up on a pedestal, not even considering what teenage versions of James and Lily could’ve been like. This scene was also supposed to shake the reader up as well and start painting Snape in a sympathetic light, showing us that maybe there was more to the guy than the greasy, hook-nosed man who had it out for Harry.
But nope. The movie skims over that and gives the viewers a 30-second scene, a scene that’s all lopsided and dizzying, a scene that barely gives us enough time to see the faces of the actors who played the younger versions of Snape, James, and Remus. Argh.
11. I shake my head at the film’s version of the Inquisitorial Squad.
Once again, the filmmakers take any chance to make movie-Filch look like a fool. His overeager adoration of Umbridge in the movies simply translates to him becoming one of her minions. The movies never explain that Filch is a Squib, but they do go out of their way to make sure we know Filch is pretty much useless. I guess that solved that problem for the filmmakers? *shakes head*
Anyway. The Inquisitorial Squad is pretty pathetic in the movie. It’s just Draco, Crabbe, Goyle, and Filch skulking around, trying to find an entrance into the Room of Requirements, only to, for example, end up headfirst in a tiny broom closet. The movie’s Squad doesn’t even flex its muscles to try to terrorize other Hogwarts students; instead, their one and only target is Harry and the DA.
12. IT WASN’T CHO.
In the movie, Cho is the one who cracked under Umbridge’s questioning. Umbridge triumphantly drags Cho into view, after blasting the door to the Room of Requirements open, proffering her as the DA’s mole. This is horribly unfair because 1) we later find out that she had been tampering with all the students’ drinks during their one-on-ones with her, dropping Veritaserum into their teacups, and 2) in the books, it was Marietta Edgecombe who squealed on the DA, not Cho.
In the books, Cho persuaded Marietta to join the DA and it was Marietta who was sick and tired of sneaking around. Additionally, there was no Veritaserum involved. The DA members discovered it was Marietta because her face erupted into boils that spelled out “SNEAK,” the unfortunate result of her reneging on the group after having signed the DA sign-up sheet.
Sure, Cho and Harry’s relationship soured both in the book and the movie, but at least Cho was given some sort of agency in the book. She was suspicious of Harry’s friendship with Hermione, and she was offended that Harry didn’t care one whit about Marietta’s face. In the movie, Cho just looks like a sad, jilted lover.
13. Harry’s angst/Voldemort is possessing him now?
I’m not as put off by Harry’s rage episodes as I remember being the first few times I watched OotP. I kinda think Harry was more angsty and ridiculous in GoF than in OotP, actually. Him screaming, “Look at me!” at Dumbledore seems very appropriate, given that the Headmaster is virtually ignoring Harry and refusing to listen to the boy, who’s just been roused from a nightmare where Nagini attacks Arthur Weasley.
My qualm lies with the producers’ decision to imply that Voldemort was actually possessing Harry. Not just in terms of Occlumency, the closest thing to mind reading that the wizarding world has, or in terms of Harry’s nightmares. In the movie, Harry starts to act like Voldemort, twitching and squinting. For no good reason – except maybe a visual one?
14. I LOVE Christmas at the Weasleys.
Reasons why my favorite scene in OotP is the one where everyone’s at the Weasleys, spending Christmastime together:
– Everyone loves Harry, so much, and he needs that warmth and love so much during this particular period.
– SIRIUS IS BACK. And looking MIGHTY FINE in his steampunk-y, Victorian England-inspired get-up.
– SO IS REMUS. Whose fond smile when he sees Sirius and Harry hugging makes my tummy flip.
– There’s an adorable undercurrent of Hermione/Ron in this scene, and I LOVE IT. Look at that above gif. Hermione hands Ron his Christmas present, and he goofily grins at her, and she looks SO HAPPY.
15. Fred and George Weasley are AWESOME.
Fred and George are awesome in this movie. They make it their business to look after all the innocents who unfairly got punished by a power-hungry Umbridge, and they are so big brother-y to Harry, I can’t stop the smile growing on my face even now as I type. Their combined hatred of Umbridge catapults them into dropping out of Hogwarts and into their own business of tricks, treats, and incredibly advanced magic.
I remember being miffed the first time I saw OotP, that their goodbye parade to Umbridge ended up being just a giant firecracker show – like, where was the swamp that flooded Umbridge’s office? That Professor Flitwick kept a small section of intact because it was a superb piece of magic. However, upon my re-watch, I realized that these fireworks were pretty effing awesome. And visually stunning, thanks to the Great Hall having been converted into a giant exam room.
16. HERMIONE, NO!
I despise Umbridge as much as the next person (refer to No. 5-7 above). However, it wasn’t until this re-watch that I realized how messed up Hermione’s decision to cast Umbridge to the centaurs in retaliation to her iron-fisted reign as Hogwarts’s Headmistress and High Inquistor. Sure, this was an easy way to get rid of Umbridge, to make clear her racist views on non-wizard creatures, and for the centaurs to get (rightly) angry at both Hermione and Umbridge.
But what the eff did the centaurs do to Umbridge? What do you think? A group of angered, half-male, half-horse creatures, who, in Greek myth, are predisposed to violating women, drag a woman into the depths of the forest after she calls them foul names. Umbridge re-emerges, mussed and terrified, and she shrinks within herself whenever she hears the sound of clip-cloping hooves.
Hermione, was this the only way to get Umbridge out of the way, while the DA goes to save Sirius from the Ministry?
(Note: I’m not even going to touch the subject of Grawp. The CGI is horrible, there’s no real narrative reason to even include him in the movie, when other things like Snape’s memories weren’t given justice, and this was just a cheap way to make Ron look like a cuckolded fool, for yelling at Grawp to stop touching Hermione.)
17. Sirius’s death doesn’t get any easier to bear
Oh, what’s that sound? Just the sound of my heart breaking, as we see Sirius, hit with the Killing Curse, drift back into the wisps of the Veil, just moments after triumphantly reuniting with Harry, finally, joyfully away from the confines of the Black Manor, helping out the battle against Voldemort.
18. The standoff between Voldemort and Dumbledore
19. Daniel Radcliffe should steer away from wearing tan, suede sports jacket in the future.
Dan Rad! Step away from sports coats that don’t fit. Step especially away from sports coats that are tan and look like a cross between suede and corduroy. THEY DO NOT LOOK GOOD.
Moreover, I pout when I think about the ending of the book versus the ending of the movie. In the movie, we just get an anti-climactic trek to the train station, everyone in earth tones and recovered from the battle at the Department of Mysteries. In the book, however, we get our last glimpse of Sirius, via the mirror that he had gifted Harry at Christmas, and we are reassured that Harry’s network of friends and protectors is just as strong and reliable as ever. Obviously, ending the movie on the same terms as the book would’ve ended up in something super corny, but still. At least some explanation of the mirror would’ve been nice, especially since a shard of the mirror makes its appearance in Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
And we’re done! What d’you all think? Did my re-watch reaction post past muster? What other things niggled at the back of your brain upon your own re-watch of OotP? Sound off in the comments below!