Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K UHD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.”
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Drama
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 139 min. – $49.95 | March 28, 2017
Date Published: 03/31/2017 | Author: The Movieman
Note: Portions were copied from my original 2011 Blu-ray review.
THE MOVIE — 3.5/5
Although certainly Prisoner of Azkaban made the turn towards a darker tone in the Harry Potter series, things grow dimmer in Order of the Phoenix as the ultimate confrontation between Harry and Lord Voldemort comes closer.
In this outing, Harry (DANIEL RADCLIFFE) enters his fifth year at Hogwarts under much scrutiny and ire after the events in Goblet of Fire in which Cedric Diggory (Pattinson) was killed by Voldemort. However, the Ministry of Magic headed by Cornelius Fudge (ROBERT HARDY) is in denial that the Dark Lord is back and goes out of his way, with the help of the Wizardry World’s newspaper, to discredit both Harry and mentor/Hogwarts Head Master Dumbledore (MICHAEL GAMBON).
When the film opens, Harry and his ogre of a step brother (HARRY MELLING) are attacked by Dementors for which Harry uses magic to save their lives which is a big no-no in the world of magic for an underage wizard or witch to use magic in public. He’s been called in for an inquiry by the Minister of Magic but before which Harry enters the home of godfather Sirius Black (GARY OLDMAN) and the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, an organization created by Dumbledore decades earlier to fight and stop Voldemort.
After Harry is cleared of the charges thanks to Dumbledore’s help when the committee did everything in their power to get things to go their way (first by moving up the time by hours), Harry and best friends Ron (RUPERT GRINT) and Hermione (EMMILY WATSON) return to Hogwarts with a not so nice surprise: one Dolores Umbridge (IMELDA STAUNTON) is now part of the faculty, under the order of the Ministry of Magic, as the school’s new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, though she wants to teach in a safe, structured environment where defensive magic will not be necessary.
So Harry, Hermione and Ron take it upon themselves to teach real defensive magic as Umbridge’s power at Hogwart’s becomes more extensive ruling with an iron fist trying with all her peppy might to snuff out any talk of Voldemort as well as any groups who might try to up-rise such as Harry’s group named “Dumbledore’s Army”.
I remember that my first viewing of Order of the Phoenix wasn’t anything special and was in fact a bit of a step down from Goblet of Fire and, especially, Prisoner of Azkaban which is my favorite of the series; it was also the darker turning point in the franchise, a drastic departure to the tone of what Columbus brought, even compared with Chamber of Secrets. In any case, despite my misgivings with Order which stems mainly from a story that never quite connects on an emotional level until perhaps the very end.
Of course the biggest reason the OOTP succeeds is thanks to the cast. Obviously we know what kind of actors the original trio are as they continue to grow up before our eyes, but I like the progression of the supporting characters such as Luna Lovegood (EVANNA LYNCH), Cho Chang (KATIE LEUNG) and the members of the Order whom we’ve met before like Sirius (OLDMAN), Remus (DAVID THEWLIS) plus newer members (my favorite is Tonks). So what Warner and the producers have done with compiling a fantastic cast makes this a worthy, if not slightly disappointing, entry.
What also succeeds is the choice of David Yates taking the director’s chair for not only Order but the final three films as well. While each of these directors bring something different to the franchise, it does have a certain consistency which makes it easier going from one film to the next (it’s not like a drastic departure like Batman Returns to Batman Forever for instance, even with the casting change).
I guess overall I thought Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is an a good film and acceptable entry in the series and one I won’t mind checking out again once the movies are complete. Although I’m still unsure about bringing in the writer of 2003’s Peter Pan and, albeit a few years in the future, the critically lauded Green Lantern, I have to give props to screenwriter Michael Goldberg for coming in almost cold turkey into the fifth movie.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Focus Points (TRT 1:03:10; HD) are a series of short featurettes that covers different aspects of the film from making the cat plates in Umbridge’s office, Rupert Grint’s smiling personality, creating the various sets, etc.
This and the IME were available on the regular Blu-ray release as well as on the HD-DVD format. While these are nothing new, they’re still fairly interesting.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Behind the Magic (46:46; HD) is a featurette which takes a look at different aspects of the HP films from visual effects, make-up, set designs and all that. This was originally filmed for the BBC as a special to promote the release of Order of the Phoenix.
Building the Magic: The Sets of Harry Potter (20:22; HD) – This featurette focuses only on the set designs created for OOTP and has interview footage some of which were already used in the Focus Points feature. Of course, this featurette takes a more expansive look over anything in the others.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: The Rebellion Begins (23:13; SD) is another television special that offers some basic behind-the-scenes footage intermixed with interviews. It doesn’t offer a whole lot of info as it was made to advertise the release of OOTP. It is presented in letterboxed widescreen.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Fulfilling a Prophecy (13:02; SD) – This is the third TV special that has some more footage but also often the same interview sound-bites that we’ve seen before. Like the last one, it is in letterboxed widescreen.
Trailing Tonks (19:25; HD) – Actress Natalia Tena who plays Tonks giving viewers a glimpse at her day on the set from the hair and make-up, the food court to actual filming. It’s nothing profound or informative but not bad either.
Harry Potter: The Magic of Editing (5:21; SD) – Director David Yates and Editor Mark Day show what a difference a good edit makes and then allows us, the viewer, to give it a try.
Deleted Scenes (10:57; HD) – Here we get 9 deleted and extended scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut most likely, since there is no accompanied commentary, for pacing reasons.
And finally we get the Teaser Trailer (0:59; HD) and the Theatrical Trailer (2:15; HD).
VIDEO – 5.0/5
|Warner Home Video releases Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix onto 4K presented with a 2160p ultra high-definition transfer and, as the franchise became more adult in tone, is quite dark and in this format, blacks are stark while never losing detail and when there is color, it appears vibrant. Compared with its Blu-ray counterparts, I did notice a fine improvement albeit nothing profound.|
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|Where the original release got a PCM 5.1 track and then DTS-HD MA 5.1 for the UCE release, this UHD comes with yet another upgrade going with the DTS:X option (along with French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks). Watching it with this new one, it is more dynamic than its DTS-HD MA counterpart however, as with the video, is it head-and-shoulders better? I’m not so sure. Still, when the action picks up, it utilizes every available channel, same goes for the incredible score.|
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Overall, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix isn’t great but still quite good and highly entertaining, excelling due to its amazing ensemble cast as we see the young ones grow up right before our eyes. This 3-disc 4K UHD release from Warner offers excellent video/audio transfers and ports over some great bonus material from the Ultimate Collector’s Edition releases from a few years back.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.