Saturday, February 2, 2008


The Entertainment Critic
Home Edition Video Review
By James Myers
DVD 2 Disc Set - Wide Screen / Two-Disc Special Edition
Release Date: December 11, 2007
UPC: 085391174929
Region Code: 1
Time: 2:19:00
Director: David Yates
Screenwriter: Michael Goldenberg (screenplay)
J.K. Rowling (novel)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon
Genre: Fantasy Adventure/ Drama
Awards: Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Official Website:
Runtime: 138 Mins
Features: Additional scenes; The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter - Explore all the movies in the series for clues to the mystery of Harry's true destiny; Trailing Tonks: Natalia Tena (aka Nymphadora Tonks) leads a very personal film set tour; Harry Potter: The Magic of Editing - Director David Yates and editor Mark Day show what a difference a good edit makes; DVD-ROM enhanced features
Review: 9/10 rating


As Harry grows up before our eyes on film, a little bit of the innocence is lost and is replaced by more adult themes, and scarier villains. Nonetheless, this video, the 5th of 7, left me wanting to see more Harry Potter, and more of his adventures. The film begins with Harry Potter and his cousin Dudley mysteriously attacked by two Dementors. In turn Harry is forced to cast the Patronus charm to repel the Dementors, but when the Ministry of Magic detects what he has done (the underage practice of wizardry) he is expelled from Hogwarts. He begins to have horrible nightmares depicting Lord Voldemort's return. Harry is awoken and taken to headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret organization founded by Dumbledore. Members of the Order, including Harry's Godfather Sirius Black, reveal that under the Ministry's influence, The Daily Prophet has launched a smear campaign against anyone who claims the Dark Lord has returned, leaving Harry feeling alone and isolated from the other wizards.

Dumbledore helps to clear Harry's name is cleared of all charges, and he is allowed to return to Hogwarts. Upon entering his fifth year of school, Harry learns that the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge has appointed a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher: Dolores Umbridge, a Senior Ministry official who refuses to teach practical magic to her students, out of fear that Dumbledore will organize his own personal wizard army. As her grip on the school increases, Ron and Hermione aid Harry in forming a secret defense group, calling themselves "Dumbledore's Army".

During the year, Harry envisions mysterious scenes in his sleep, including a dangerous attack upon Arthur Weasley in the Department of Mysteries. Fearing there may be a connection between Voldemort and Harry's mind, Professor Snape immediately initiates Occlumency lessons to close his mind from the Dark Lord's influence.

Promoted to High Inquisitor, Umbridge, Filch and her loyal Inquisitorial Squad, including Draco Malfoy uncover Dumbledore's Army after interrogating one of the students, Cho Chang with whom Harry had developed intense feelings for. Dumbledore is questioned and makes an impressive escape as Fudge orders for his arrest. With Dumbledore gone, Umbridge becomes the new Headmistress whose sinister dominance over the school continues.

During an O.W.L. exam, Fred and George launch a firework display causing chaos for Umbridge; as the students cheer joyously outside, Harry suffers a vision of Sirius trapped within the bowels of the Ministry. Umbridge, soon after, catches the trio attempting to use the Floo Network and begins interrogating Harry. Hermione leads Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest in search of a faux weapon when a herd of centaurs emerge and carry the Headmistress into the darkness. Finding Ron and other DA members, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley, they fly to London by winged-horses named Thestrals.

Arriving at the Ministry, the six enter the Department of Mysteries where they uncover a prophecy named after Harry. Transfixed, they soon become ambushed by Death Eaters, including Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange, Sirius' deranged cousin. A battle erupts as the Death Eaters try to stop the students from escaping, resulting in Sirius' death at Bellatrix's hand. Back in the Atrium, Harry corners Bellatrix where he struggles with his desire to enact the Cruciatus curse. Voldemort himself appears; ready to kill Harry when Dumbledore emerges.

A brief but furious duel takes place, in which Bellatrix escapes through the Floo Network. When Voldemort disappears, and the battle seems over, Harry suddenly finds himself being possessed -- recalling images of his past, of his family and his friends. Seeing Ron and Hermione across the hall, Harry resists and rebuffs Voldemort, calling the Dark Lord weak. Before Voldemort can kill Harry, Ministry officials, including Fudge, arrive via the Floo Network, finding the Dark Lord with their own eyes. Voldemort promptly disappears.

In the aftermath, the Ministry is forced to end their smear campaign and Umbridge is removed from Hogwarts awaiting a formal investigation. Dumbledore explains that he had attempted to distance himself from Harry all year, hoping it would bring less risk as Voldemort would not try to invade his mind.

Gone from this film is sweet innocence of self-discovery seen in the earlier Potter films. This is an attempt to be grimmer than the past films. The viewer gets a real feel of danger, desperation and grit in this film. It is closer to the new Batman films than to a Disney/Pixar film. Harry comes of age in this film, going from a wide-eyed youth to a sadder but wiser adolescent after the incredible confrontations with evil in this film. The tone of this film from the outset is a sense of foreboding that only an adult can sense in real life. The film is different from its predecessors, but works on a more dramatic level.

The home video version of this films adds some extra scenes and information including The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter - Explore all the movies in the series for clues to the mystery of Harry's true destiny; Trailing Tonks: Natalia Tena (aka Nymphadora Tonks) leads a very personal film set tour; Harry Potter: The Magic of Editing - Director David Yates and editor Mark Day show what a difference a good edit makes. I really liked the Special Edition of the 2-Disc set. Don’t pass this one up. It’s different, but it is still very good. (Trailer)

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