(WB, 2007) D: David Yates, w/ Daniel Radcliffe, Imelda Staunton. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN
The best thing in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix isn’t in the movie at all. It’s the first of the deleted scenes, a wildly funny shot of Emma Thompson as nearsighted, absent-minded Sybil Trelawney, demolishing her dinner for two and a half minutes.
Thompson has the best moment in the movie, too. She projects real feeling when Trelawney gets fired as part of the Ministry of Magic’s clampdown designed to make Hogwarts students ineffective magicians because the minister doesn’t believe archfiend Voldemort is back (which is stupid on the face of it: Voldemort or not, no school wants incompetent graduates).
Apart from a couple of scenes in which Harry gets tortured, most of the movie’s emotional beats feel perfunctory, mechanical. Everyone has his or her part down cold, but only Imelda Staunton as the ministry’s whipcracker and Alan Rickman as the venomous Snape really sparkle.
The big extras doc, promising to examine the previous movies for clues to Harry’s future, actually pushes a pro-social message in the guise of a junior-high-level examination of themes. If you don’t already know the backstory, it’s no help at all.
The interactive editing feature provides some fun, though, and there’s the option of making a digital copy of the movie for watching on your computer or cellphone.
Extras Disc one: Widescreen. English, French, Spanish audio and subtitles. Disc two: Meaning-of doc, studio tour, interactive editing doc, deleted scenes, online digital copy creation. Widescreen. English audio. English, French subtitles.