I'm going to jump right in by first saying that the movie, as the last one, was rushed considerably.
Message to Warner Brothers: STOP DOING THAT! The Lord of the Rings trilogy proved that when it comes to such a beloved series - like the Potter series - fans worry much more about the quality and thouroughness versus whether or not their butt is sore when the credits are rolling at the end of a four hour movie.
The dementors looked different in this one (stupid mistake to whoever decided that). The patronus charms also looked different. You can't do that, people. If you make something look noticably different in a sequel without any explanation, it makes the movie look cheap. And that would be bad. The Order Rescuing Harry should have included Lupin. Nuff said.
Number twelve Grimmauld Place was just as I had imagined it to be, but I was disappointed in the absence of Mrs. Black's screaming portrait. I also found that some background information on Sirius' family was missing. However, the family tree tapestry of Black was amazing.
Kreecher needed a bigger role in the movie. After all, we found out at the end of book 5 that he was a key character.
The Prefect subplot was something that added to Harry's frusteration and confusion - but it was yet another thing missing.
Although the Ministry was not exactly as I had pictured it when I read the book, I thought it looked fantastic. Something that was added for the movie that was, in my opinion, brilliant, was Harry imagining that he saw Voldemort staring at him as he stood by the Hogwarts Express. It added suspense, and helped add to just how much the situation was driving Harry insane.
Draco didn't add the "dogging" comment. Actually, Draco didn't have much of a role in the whole movie. Dumbledore's Army was way cool. We got to see Harry take control as a teacher.
The ever-talked about kiss....hmmm.... Why do we even call it "the kiss"? It should be referred to as "the make-out session". After all, that would be much more accurate.
To add to the beloved things left out, we have Firenze and Trelawny teaching divination after Umbridge attempts to kick Trelawny out. Rita Skeeter wasn't mentioned once. There was no St. Mungo's Hospital scene, which made Mr. Weasley's recovery seem far too short. We missed the sorting hat's new song, which warned us to be united. We saw Percy in one scene, but nothing was explained on his disagreements with his parents and that him and his family were not on speaking terms. There was no talk of what Harry was thinking of choosing as his career, as there is in the book. Harry didn't even get in the fire in Umbridge's office to find no one but Kreecher in the House of Black. And, lastly, Ron being keeper on the Griffyndor quidditch team was not even mentioned. Alas, there was no singing "Weasley is our King". Fred and George's exit was beautifully done. However, details were lacking. This was partly because at the end of movie four, we don't see Harry giving his money rewards from winning the Triwizard cup to the twins.
Therefore, when they leave the school, the part of the audience that hasn't read the books, is completely ignorant to the fact that they are planning to open a joke shop. Harry's bond with Sirius didn't seem near as strong in the movie as it did in the books. In Prisoner, he made a good bond at the end when Sirius asked Harry to come and stay with him after he was free. In Goblet, Sirius is talked about little, and only gets his head in the fire once, and his voice reading a letter. Big Whoop. And then, important scenes are cut to save time. This all lead up to the huge emotional let down when Sirius fell through the veil. As we are on that subject, ....who else thought that the veil scene was a bit confusing? I mean, we all got the general idea, but to those who have not read the book, it was hard to fully comprehend. I, having read the book, was like "Here it comes,..." as I was ready to fight back tears....and then as it happened, I thought, "What? That was it?" Don't get me wrong, Radcliffe did a truly fantastic job performing Harry's reaction, but the emotional impact was watered down by practically muting the characters for a bit of sad music. In some instances, this would work and would blow the audience away, but here, it doesn't. Also, in the book, the veil is mysterious. We know nothing about it. Lupin says he is gone, but we've no idea where. This could mean that he is, in fact, dead. However, it could also mean a number of things. In the movie, they try to make it clear that he is dead. This saddens me.
Voldemort possessing Harry toward the end, yelling at Dumbledore, and Harry fighting back was my favorite scene because I thought it was, by far, the best performed and truest to the book. I understood it, and I believed it.
The last scene with Harry and Dumbledore lacked SO MUCH. I know I remember reading like thirty pages of their conversation. And it got about four lines in the movie. You all know what I mean. Lines, unfortunately, were not the only thing missing from it. The proper emotions were just not there at all. Harry was supposed to be furious at Dumbledore for Sirius being "gone", for ignoring him all year when Harry felt he needed him most, even going so far as to breaking a few of Dumbledore's possessions. Instead though, they sat, looking at one another, and went something like this: "I know how you feel, Harry." - Dumbledore "No you don't." - Harry "I distanced myself from you this year to protect you. I care too much about you." - Dumbledore
And that was it. As for performances:
Dan Radcliffe - Best yet. Unlike in the other films, he showed, in this one, true teen angst and vulnerability. It was real and completely believable. In the past movies, the teen attitude and way of thinking was there, but it seemed "candy-coated" in a sense and was too calm to be believable. N
ymphadora Tonks - Good performance, but something was missing. She didn't quite fit the character as Tonks is supposed to be a bit more strange and "out there". She was too normal of a witch.
Dolores Umbridge - Perfection. Total and complete perfection. Everyone could feel the exact same hatred as the students. Everyone wanted to kill her...as it should be. Luna Lovegood - Quite good. I expected her to be a bit more defensive about herself and about the reality behind The Quibbler, but other than that, she was exactly as I imagined her.
Bellatrix Lestrange - Brilliant. She was way better than I had imagined her to be.
Overall, this movie was brilliantly captivating and entertaining. Possibly, the best yet. It's only competition, by far, would be the Prisoner of Azkaban.