Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

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The Month of Spooks may be over, but we still have some “Harry Potter” reviews to get through! And it’s finally November, so it’s not long now until “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” comes out. For fuck’s sake, it’s in like… 12 days. Alright… let’s do this!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”.

After Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) wards off a Dementor attack and saves his terrible cousin Dudley (Harry Melling), he gets in some trouble with the Ministry of magic. So to keep an eye on both Harry and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), the ministry sends Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) to become the new defense against the dark arts teacher. This all happens as the ministry is trying to quiet down the “rumor” that Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is back. And now Harry has to go through another year at Hogwarts, with the ministry breathing down his neck, while also having strange visions of awful things. And there’s a lot of shit going on here. Almost to the point of being too much… almost. Really, working with as many sub-plots as this movie does is a very delicate thing to do, which can get severely fucked in the end. But this movie handles it well, even if some things might feel a little skimmed over at times. But I get it, they got a long fucking book to adapt and don’t want to make the movie too long. I’m sut saying, I think the plot is really good and features some genuinely great moments, but it feels like it does skim over some parts.

The characters in this movie are pretty damn interesting. Harry once again gets a lot of character development, mostly because of some terrrible things happening to him throughout. And Daniel Radcliffe… I don’t think I have to say anything, the guy is amazing in the movie. Rupter Grint and Emma Watson are also great, not much to say there. Michael Gambon once again owns the role of Albus Dumbledore. Alan Rickman (Rest in peace, you awesome man) is great once again as Snape. Basically any recurring actor is great. So let’s go through the newere actors in the movie. Ralph Fiennes (yes, he was introduced in the previous one, but you should shut up) was great as Voldemort, the manipulative and intimidating villain. Imelda Staunton as Umbridge… god. Her performance was great, but the character was despicable. I really did not like her, but I guess that was the point. I’m just saying, I’d rather hang out with Negan from “The Walking Dead” than be anywhere near Umbridge. The last one I’m gonna mention is Luna Lovegood, played by Evanna Lynch… yeah, she’s fucking awesome. She’s weird, funny, odd… I just love her, she’s awesome. She’s also Irish, which is a plus in my book (the only one I prefer more is Scottish).

The original score for this movie wa not composed by the one and only John Williams, nor by Patrick Doyle. No, this time the composer chosen was Nicholas Hooper who I think did a really good job. The music is fun, exciting, and well composed. Not the most memorable of scores from any “HP” movie, but it’s still good.

This is the first of the “Harry Potter” movies to be directed by David Yates, and he did a terrific job with it. The movie is very well shot. And it shows a lot too in the fact that this movie gives us the first real look at wizarding warfare. There’s a huge battle near the end of the movie where there’s all kinds of magic flying around, and it is intense and awesome! Speaking of magic, the visual effects look great… ain’t got much to say there. Also, as a fun fact: this movie actually made me tear up… yeah. Those who have seen the movie might have an idea what caused it… because it makes sense to tear up at that point in the movie!

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is not my favorite movie in the series. It’s not a bad movie at all, it has a lot of great stuff going for it. It has a good plot, good characters, great acting, good music, great directing, and some great visual effects. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is a 9,55/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is now completed.

Just so you know, the game is also pretty good.

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

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So now we’re moving forward in my series of reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. So let’s stop with this intro and just get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”!

After having blown his horrible uncle’s horrible sister into a human balloon, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) goes back to Hogwarts. But everyone in the wizarding world is a bit on edge at the moment, because convicted killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has somehow escaped from Azkaban prison and is presumably out and about to find Harry and do somethign terrible. And this of course also brings out the Dementors, the guardians of Azkaban. And from that we get a plot that further develops this world that’s been built up over the previous two movies, and gives us even more knowledge on the pasts of everyone. There are some truly interesting developments going on here that truly adds layers of the already established world, while also giving us a compelling stand-alone mystery. And I absolutely loved it. It was invested the whole way through thanks to those great developments and the overall great pacing of the movie.

The characters in the movie are just as great as in the previous movies, if maybe even better. With all the revelations happening we see Harry developing even more as a character, as he no longer takes any shit from anyone. And Daniel Radcliffe’s performance in the movie is truly great, with him having to show a lot of different emotions throughout the story. Rupert Grint is great, Emma Watson’s great, Alan Rickman (R.I.P) is great. Basically, any returning cast member is great. So let’s talk about some new additions, such as Michael Gambon now playing Dumbledore instead of Richard Harris (R.I.P). And I honestly think he does a really good job here, probably even surpassing Harris. Then we also have David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. And he does a great job too. Gary Oldman as Sirius… fantastic, but there could never be any doubt about that. It’s Gary fucking Oldman. Every actor in this movie does a great job!

The one and only John WIlliams once again provided the score, and it might the best so far. Some of the tracks create the same level of inspiring awe that could be gathered from the scores of the previous two movies, but then we also have some tracks that are outright chilling and haunting. Don’t believe me? Listen to the track “Apparition on the Train” and tell that it’s not a chilling piece of music. Yeah, the music in this one is fucking fantastic.

This is the first “Harry Potter” movie not directed by Chris Columbus (still not trying to rediscover America), instead the reins were handed over to Alfonso Cuarón. And while I thought Columbus did a really good job, Cuarón knocked it out of the god damn park! This is a magnificently directed movie, giving us some real eye candy. For example: Throughout the movie we get some of Cuarón’s signature single-take shots, which look great. Combining his direction with the editing of hte movie also makes it really suspenseful, and even a bit scary. Not only are the designs of the Dementors scary, but the way that some scenes play out/are directed actually kind of scared me. The imagery presented combined with editing, sound effects, and music made for a tense and kind of scary watch. So this can technically be put in the Month of Spooks. Two birds, one stone. And of course, the visual effects in the movie are absolutely terrific, perfectly holding up 12 years later… holy shit, this movie is 12 years old!

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects. 

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is one of those rare cases where the third movie in a series happens to be better than the first two. It has a fantastic story, great characters, great acting, fantastic music, fantastic directing, and great visual effects. Time for my final score. *EXPECTO PATRONUM!*. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is now completed.

It’s a shame Cuarón didn’t diect any more HP movies…

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

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The other day was the blogathon thing, and we still got some Month of Spooks stuff left to do… but we can also not forget my series of “Harry Potter” reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts” in November. And now we are finally continuing it after,,, two and a half weeks, good grief. Anyhow, let’s stop with this intro and get into the review itself!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”!

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) begins his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in a rather rocky way. First off, he got warnings from a house-elf named Dobby (Toby Jones) about bad things that will happen at Hogwarts. Secondly, his journey from Little Whinging to Hogwarts was kind of troublesome and filled with mishaps. But the trouble is not over yet, as people start getting petrified for some reason. And this of course creates a mystery where Harry, Ron (Rupter Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) to try to figure out who/what might have done this. With that said, I really liked how the plot unfolded… a lot. What I think the plot of this movie benefited from was how it doesn’t have to set the world up, since that was done (pretty fucking well) in the last movie. So now we can just get right into the main plot of this movie, which of course gives the plot of this movie a much better pace. Which is of course a bit ironic seeing as this movie is longer than the last. But yeah, it was an interesting plot which created a compelling mystery which of course led to the plot going to some darker places when it comes to this world and it’s main character. It was pretty great.

The characters in the movie are about as great as in the first one, but as the plot unfolds we do get a little bit more development from them as they learn more things. Daniel Radcliffe once again knocked it out of the park, getting some more moments to shine here in comparison to the first one. And the development of the character itself is actually really good, as we learn more about who he really is, at the same rate he does. Rupter Grint and Emma Watson also did great in this movie in their roles. And the chemistry between these three central actors is so great and so believable. The other actors in the movie do pretty great as well. Tom Felton as Malfoy once again was great, with his character being even more despicable than in the first movie. Richard Harris (R.I.P) was also really great as Dumbledore, Maggie Smith once again was great as professor McGonagall, Alan Rickman (R.I.P) was still amazing as Snape, and it goes on like that for pretty much every returning actor/character. But we also got a few new interesting faces in this one, so let’s go through them. First off we have the previously mentioned Dobby the house-elf, a magical little dude voiced by the great Toby Jones. At first he is actually a bit annoying, but after a while you grow to actually kind of like him, especially near the end when you find out some more stuff about him and his “family”. Next is Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart, a very famous wizard who you immediately can tell is more bark than bite. Basically he is the magical equivalent of the classic saying “Girls want to be with him and guys want to be him”. Think to have that dude as the “Defense Against the Dark Arts” teacher… yeah. But you can tell that Branagh had fun with the role, and I think he did a good jobas the character. And finally we have Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, AKA Draco’s dad. And this dude just oozes of self-important asshole, as soon as he enters the scene you immediately tell that this guy is bad news. And Jason Isaacs is pretty damn great in the role. In other words, this cast is great!

Once again the music was composed by the one and only John Williams and its still great. Some of the themes in there are of course the same as in the first movie, but that’s nothing to complain about because those tracks are pretty great. But there are also a bunch of new tracks composed for this movie as well, and they are pretty great too, perfectly capturing the magical and whimsical but still dark world that Harry and his friends live in. Yeah, the music’s fucking great.

Like the first movie, this was directed by Chris Columbus (still not re-discovering America). And he did a great job again. Sure, a lot of bits remind me of the first movie a lot, but it’s not too much of a complaint. But he is a very talented director who did a great job, giving us some great directing and some great angles. He also managed to make this movie even more suspenseful and even scarier than the first. I mean, the final act is really tense and actually a bit scary. And the visual effects in this movie are even better than in the first, especially the Quidditch match which looks so much better than the first movie, which of course makes it more engaging and more fun.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is a a definite improvement over the first movie. With a really interesting plot, better pacing, great characters/acting, great music, fantastic visual effects, and better suspense/tension. Time for my final score. *Magically summons score*. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is a 9,67/10. So of course it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is now completed.

If you have arachnophobia then this movie might not be the best for you…

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

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Hello there, my friends! And welcome to this very special review! Why is it special? Because in honor of “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” coming out in November, I have decided to talk about the “Harry Potter” movies here on the blog. I wasn’t sure in what style I would it in however, so I held a little poll on twitter (Follow me @TheMarckoguy) where I asked if people would prefer separate reviews for each movie or if they wanted a ranked list. And after a few days with I think 12 votes, the separate reviews option won. So here we are… talking about the first one in the series. Oh dear, 8 movies before mid-November, while also doing Month of Spooks… Jeez Louise.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”!

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) leads a pretty shit life. He lives with his outright mean aunt (Fiona Shaw) and uncle (Richard Griffiths, R.I.P) and their dickhead son, Dudley (Harry Melling). But one night, Harry gets a visit from Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), a huge man who tells Harry that he’s a wizard, and will get to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he will learn all sorts of awesome magic-releated stuff. And it’s through his experiences at Hogwarts that he learns about who he really is, and what that means for the wizarding world around him. There he also meets his new best friends, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). And from all of this we get an incredibly imaginative and very well realized world and story that I find very interesting and entertaining. Yeah, the plot of this movie is good and sets up this universe very well. The only problem might be that it meanders a bit at times which slows the pacing down. It’s not too bad, like with some movies, but I definitely noticed it. So yeah, great plot, but not the best pacing.

The characters here are so interesting, well-developed, and entertaining. And a lot of this I think comes down to the aboslutely terrific casting. Seriously, they nailed the casting for these characters so damn well. Daniel Radcliffe was perfect as Harry Potter, perfectly nailing the whole oblivious to this huge wizarding world that he was born into. For someone who was so young at the time, his performance was really good. Ruper Grint was really good as Ron, perfectly capturing this not too bright, but still lovable and charming personality. Emma Watson was really good as Hermione, even if she could come off a bit bitchy in her performance. Like she was a know-it-all with a little bit of snark in her voice… anybody who’s seen the movie knows what I’m talking about. Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid was just perfect, any time he was on screen I wanted to give him a hug, that lovable oaf. The rest of the cast was pretty great too, with actors like Richard Harris (R.I.P), Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman (R.I.P), Tom Felton, John Hurt, Ian Hart, John Cleese, and so many more. Yeah, I love ’em all.

The original score for the movie was composed by the one and only John Williams (AKA god with a conductor’s baton). And the music he created for the movie has lived on for so many years, and once someone heears it they know what it’s from. And it just sounds so great. Seriously, when I sat down to watch the movie in preparation for this review, the music gave me goosebumps. It was so awesome. Really, all the music in the movie is nothing short of fantastic.

Based on the book by J.K. Rowling, this movie was brought to life by director Chris Columbus (Not the Italian explorer who rediscovered America), the man who also directed the first two “Home Alone” movies. And he did a fantastic job with the directing this movie. Everything is well shot and overall well done. The sets are also fantastic, combined with some of the practical costumes and makeup that are used throughout. There is also CGI in this movie which for the most part looks pretty good. Some bits don’t hold up as well now, such as the Quidditch game, which has some pretty outdated CGI. Seriously, go back and watch the Quidditch match and tell me with a straight face that it looks fucking flawless. You can’t, it’s impossible. So yeah, that distracted a bit. But otehr than that, the CG holds up pretty well. And seeing some of the speels and stuff being used in the movie is pretty fun. I also love the wizarding world itself, there are so many cool details to it that make it all so unique and interesting.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. The movie was also nominated for 3 Oscars in the categories of Best Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score. 

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is not a perfect movie. I would also say that it was a struggle to review it when I have such nostalgic feelings about it. But I powered through. The plot is interesting, the characters are great, the acting is great, the music is fantastic, the directing is good, and it’s just really fun. However the pacing at times isn’t that great and there are some effects that don’t really hold up. So now it’s time for my final score. ALOHOMORA! *Unlocks chest, opens it and finds envelope with result*. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is a 9,11/10. So it’s not perfect, but it’s definitely worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is now completed.

One down, seven to go…