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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • 2007-07-04
  • Sherwin Das

I've neverquite understood the Harry Potter juggernaut. I've now seen three ofthe five films, and I find them fairly indistinguishable. Schoolkidschallenging the establishment, innocents against bullies, forces ofgood battling evil, all set in an ooh- and aah-inspiring world ofsorcery and magic. Yes, it sounds promising. But I've always found anoverabundance of mind-numbing noise in these films. Take away theeffects and what you are left with is something fairly familiar. Ofcourse, this is true of many movies. But few films are hyped so much. 

In this latest instalment of the series, there is growing concern atHogwarts Academy about the return of the Dark Lord Voldemort.Mean-while, the Ministry of Magic sends down a persnicketyrepresentative who curbs the use of practical magic. Harry, however,slyly prepares Dumbledore's army to face off against Voldemort whilealso discovering that he and Voldemort are somehow psychicallyconnected. Kids, I imagine, will like the predictable spectacle. Butthere's little here for adults. The film is conspicuous for its lack ofwit and humor.

Harry and his mates are just human props for a story that I foundbland and sleep-inducing. And, unfortunately, actor Daniel Radcliffehas almost outgrown the cute little boy audiences have learned to love.As I stared hopelessly at the screen, I wondered what this poor youngactor will do after the Harry Potter series, ostensibly a pinnacle fora child actor. As my eyes inevitably glazed over, I pondered variousoptions for him. Perhaps he would write his memoirs, "Being Harry" andpromote them by being the opening act for Tony Blair on the lecturecircuit. Or perhaps some clever British filmmaker could make adocumentary entitled Harry at 14, Harry at 21 Harry at 28 and so forthcharting the adjustment to a life apres Potter. Whatever happens, Iwish him luck and hope he stays out of rehab.

I brought my wife along to the press screening. She's read some ofthe books and is not the Potterphobe that I am. But after 2 hours, Ihad to leave her to suffer by herself. I eventually found it moresatisfying doing some grocery shopping in the adjacent supermarket 'sthe only good thing about having multiplexes in shopping malls.
 

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