Early reviews of 'OotP' from Chicago screenings

Published March 5, 2007 at 9:12 AM
by Geri
from HPANA (via Various)

Some early reviews of screenings of an unfinished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which took place in Chicago recently, have appeared online. It would seem that Evanna is getting rave reviews, as well as Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange and Imelda Staunton as Professor/Hogwarts High Inquisitor Umbridge. Some say the film is a bit unpolished (it's still being edited; visual effects and soundtrack are incomplete).

We have an account below exclusive to HPANA but you can also read reviews from:

Highlight the area below (spoiler warning!) to read what Michelle sent us, an account she received from her friend who attended a screening and followup panel discussion:

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Firstly, she emphasized how drastically edited the film is from the book. She said it started out really well in keeping with the book but definitely changed by the end, cutting quite a few things in the process. Hermione and Ron as prefects is not mentioned; Occlumency scenes do not have much importance in the film and the Snape's Worst Memory scene is not, as far as the film showed, taking place in the Pensieve but just in a moment between Snape and Harry where Harry has seen into Snape's mind; Snape does not throw a fit over Harry seeing this so the scene where he shakes Harry and throws him across the room and hurls a jar at him DOES NOT HAPPEN, much to MY disappointment; much of the Department of Mysteries is cut down with just the Ministry being shown, the room with all the prophecies, and then the room with the Veil; Lucius does indeed spend more time fighting Sirius and then boom, Bellatrix jumps in, and before she knew it, Sirius was dead. She said she was disappointe d with the execution of this scene in that it was too quick and almost unimportant in the way it happens.

Voldemort vs. Dumbledore was a decent scene. Apparently Luna was a great thing and she loved how Umbridge was played, but she was disappointed with the heavy-handed emphasis on love and loyalty in that it was constantly being reinforced every few minutes. Otherwise, the good elements were the acting, especially as Dan Radcliffe has suddenly jumped being a really great actor; the overall feel of the film kept with the past two films so the look and feel of the film was nice; overall it was a good movie she said, but it was abundant with disappointments (and this is coming from a mild fan of the series, so even she was sorry to see the choppiness of the story).

The general vibe to promote is that David Yates has created an okay film, but Prisoner of Azkaban and even Goblet of Fire are apparently by far better. OotP will be very choppy and lack a decent amount of cohesion, unless certain aspects are fixed before its release.

Bullet points:

  • Fred and George's escape is not that great; they do not have a swamp and the fireworks are okay and it's all rather short.
  • The Dementor attack is really pretty good but the whole beginning is really rushed and the Order is not as big as it should be - Tonks, Mad-Eye, Lupin, and Shacklebolt are there and that's it.
  • The editing needs to be improved and she thought many of the scenes at the end need to be re-shot altogether because they're just not good - ex. Dumbledore and Harry after Sirius' death includes a watered-down version of the prophecy with limited explanation as to what it means and no explanation as to why Dumbledore avoided Harry all year. The very ending scene is everyone getting on the train and more of that silly "it's going to be okay" speech going on with Hermione trying to remind everyone about friendship, despite the fact that Hermione and Ron are not that big in the film.
  • Ron and Hermione getting made prefect is not addressed
  • Ginny is hardly in the film so much so that people in the discussion group didn't know who she was at the end of the film, so no build-up to her relationship with Harry
  • There was at one moment contemporary pop music playing in the common room, like the kind of music that we find on the radio and not anything made up for the wizarding world. She hopes it was just fill-in music but if it stays, it has no place in a Potter film.
  • She said the whole story for Cho is completely nuts in that it's nothing like the book.
  • She said the film is being labeled as PG-13 but that too often it tried to be too kid-friendly so it detracted from scenes that ought to have been more intense.
  • Much of the audience seemed confused with quite a bit of it apparently. Especially the ending which she says is just a mess in a way. It's all over the place.
  • She said overall it was okay. Not amazing, not really good, just okay. She's disappointed with quite a bit of it and feels that both Goblet of Fire and even more so Prisoner of Azkaban are the best in the series and that Alfonso Cuaron should return to the series to film Half-Blood Prince because she feels the series needs redeeming again. She feels Cuaron is the best director because he will be loyal to the fans while also making a good film, something David Yates failed to do with Order of the Phoenix.
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Movies » Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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