A summer has passed since Harry's encounter with the Dark Lord, andHarry returns to learn that the wizarding community remains in denialabout Voldemort's return; the minister of magic believes that HeadmasterDumbledore is lying; and a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher hasbeen assigned. Now, with the entire wizard community in peril, thefuture of magic may depend on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.When the new professor, Dolores Umbridge's (Imelda Staunton--NannyMcPhee, Vera Drake), Ministry-approved course of defensive magic leavesthe young wizards woefully unprepared to protect themselves against thedark forces threatening them and the entire wizarding community,Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) urge Harry (DanielRadcliffe) to act. Meeting secretly with a small group of students whoname themselves "Dumbledore's Army," Harry teaches them how to defendthemselves against the Dark Arts.]]>
Harry is deeply traumatized from having witnessed Cedric Diggory's murder, but he will soon find that this was just another chapter in the continuing loss he will endure. Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has returned and, in an attempt to conceal this catastrophe from the wizarding public, the Ministry of Magic has teamed up with the wizard newspaper The Daily Prophet to smear young Potter and wise Dumbledore (Michael Gambon)--seemingly the only two people in the public eye who believe the Dark Lord has returned. With no one else to stand against the wicked Death Eaters, the Hogwarts headmaster is forced to revive his secret anti-Voldemort society, the Order of the Phoenix. This welcomes back characters like Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson), kind Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), fatherly Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), and insidious Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), and introduces a short list of intriguing new faces. In the meantime, a semi-psychotic bureaucrat from the Ministry (brilliantly portrayed by Imelda Staunton) has seized power at Hogwarts, and Harry is forced to form a secret society of his own--lest the other young wizards at his school be left ill-equipped to defend themselves in the looming war between good and evil. In addition, Harry is filled with an inexplicable rage that only his Godfather Sirius seems to be able to understand.
This film, though not as frightening as its predecessor, earns its PG-13 rating mostly because of the ever-darkening tone. As always, the loyal fans of J.K. Rowling's books will suffer huge cuts from the original plot and character developments, but make no mistake: this is a good movie. --Jordan Thompson