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For tonight, some preliminary notes on the characters, and we’ll get into the action tomorrow!

Harry
Tortured and anguished looking, Dan Radcliffe spent way too much time squirming and writhing about this film. Other than that, he did a fine job, and it certainly shows he’s learned a lot. Radcliffe is one of those that improves over time. He looked so tired most of the time and far too grown up for his age – which means Radcliffe did it right.

Hermione
Awkward and confident in turns, Watson has taken Hermione and made her into a powerful girl who is getting a lot of credibility by her peers – but still isn’t sure what to do with all of it. Whereas Goblet of Fire was definitely about “hey look I’m pretty too”, OOTP reminds us Hermione is pretty and smart simultaneously, even if she occasionally falters trying to figure out which she wants to be more.

Ron
Part of the team rather than chafing against it and looking bored like he didn’t belong as Hermione explains yet-another-thing, Grint’s Ron actually came through as a solid support mechanism and came off less stupid than previous movies.

The trio
For the first time in a long time, the trio was a trio. You saw it. You felt it. Most importantly, you could enjoy it and know these three, come what may, are a team.

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The returnees (and boy there were a lot!)
Ginny Weasley
Ginny. You go girl, you seriously go. Whenever we saw you casting something, you were nailing it pretty hard core. Bonnie Wright has done a lot with the little she’s been given to work with but it’s very subtle.

Neville Longbottom
Finally! A Neville we can all appreciate. Kudos.

Cho Chang
I expected a little more than what I got from Cho this time, but I must say they successfully wrote her out of future installments.

Assorted Students
Zipped by in a few places… in a lot of places. More attention will be given to them in the spoiler review, of which this is not.

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Hogwarts staff
By far the winner this time around was Trelawney with a distinct second place to Flitwick, go figure. McGonagall was too flustered, Snape was a bit over the top, Hagrid was really way too token here for me to do more than go heh, obligitory plot introduction. Dumbledore was a bit more restrained, almost too restrained. Got a little robotic there at the end, to be honest.

Sirius Black
I’m so glad Oldman came back for this. I think he did great except for one part, and I’m going to blame how it was written, ’cause I just didn’t buy it the way it played out.

Remus Lupin
Severely underused! Granted, he didn’t get much in the book either, but still, when has that stopped the movie from taking a liberty here and there?

The Dursley family
Dudley went chav, Vernon appeared to be hitting the bottle a bit and rather unfocused, and Petunia really should remember women her age should not be wearing outfits like that and I don’t care how hot it is.

A lot of people zipped by in this movie.

Our newcomers!

Luna Lovegood
Spacey and helium filled, Evanna’s interpretation of Luna managed to be airy and fluttery yet occasionally touching back down to earth. Just when you’re about to want to strangle her for being so daft and dotty, you just go aww, she’s so cute and wise and forget what your hands were about to do.

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Bellatrix Lestrange
This book’s unhinged psycho freaky award goes straight to the lady Lestrange. Daylight meeting with Bellatrix or a night time trip in Knockturn Alley? See you when the sun goes down! Creepy with the capital C.

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Nymphadora Tonks
Tena’s Tonks was much more cooler than the book version and appeared entirely less awkwardly placed. I liked it.

Kingsley Shacklebolt
Just like I figured him, and thus, thumbs up.

Dolores Umbridge
If Bonham Carter’s creepy little cackle doesn’t haunt me, Staunton’s giggle just might. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing she does sadistic so well. All I do know is she was funny sometimes in all the wrong ways.

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