Reviews : OOTP Review Pt 1: Characters (Spoilers)


A lot of people zipped by in this movie. There’s a lot of people I’m leaving out – but this movie was crowded. I’m not talking about the theater, I’m talking about cast wise. I could go on and on about the Weasleys, Lucius Malfoy, etc. and still forget people. Old and new, good performances. If I left someone out it’s not because I didn’t remember them, it was mostly a matter of hitting the main people. That said, on with the list.

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.

Outside projects have taught Radcliffe a bunch.

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.

The best parts of Hermione were left in and the annoying bits were taken out. Watson’s doing well as Hermione.

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.

Looks like outside projects are helping Grint’s acting too. He’s no longer sulking for airtime. He fits in better. Ron’s developmental tantrum moments were for Goblet of Fire, anyway, just like Order of the Phoenix belongs to Harry’s teeny angst thing. And Hermione? She’ll have her phase in Half-Blood Prince. So Ron mellowed out and tried to provide adequate support where he could – although we can certainly hope for some cut for time scenes on the DVD hearing people sing/chant “Weasley is our King”. As the movie was pretty much Harry’s journey, not even a side mention was made of Quidditch (that’s ok) or the Prefect thing (which could have gotten a passing, “they didn’t even make me Prefect” at the end out of Harry/”my bad” out of Dumbledore) – not even a tiny pin on the traditional school garb.

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.

I am so glad none of the trio are leaving the movies until they’re done. I wouldn’t be able to stand a replacement at this point.

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.

Was I the only one that caught the glance she gave as she left the DA meeting for the holidays?

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

They really abbreviated a bunch of Neville’s story, from the moment he showed up with a totally unexplained plant to him explaining to Harry what Bellatrix did to his parents.

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.

You don’t really get the “wet” joke as well because she didn’t really look like she was all that busted up crying over Cedric. Like I said, they certainly wrote her out tidily, but it didn’t make sense how her and Harry were all smoochy one moment then suddenly she’s being held up by her collar being BadCho, the one who turncoats on the entire DA. Not that Valentine’s Day was necessary, but when Hermione summed up what Cho could be going through emotionally, it’d have been nice to see a bit more anger or jealousy. I know teen romances are very on/off, but the only clue that things were off came when the DA got caught.

Also, why try to apologize after the movie set you up as the snitch, Cho? Just go away, girlfriend. You’re done.

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.

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.

Could we go with a happy medium on Dumbledore, please? One more chance to get it right. Heck, bring back Azkaban-style Dumbledore.

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.

That death thing could have been done just a bit better. As it stood, it was quite “wtf” and anti-climatic. When I’m sniffing more at Trelawney getting sacked by Umbridge than I am Sirius falling through the veil, that’s something resembling a problem in my book.

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?

I might be biased here – I think he was underused in the books as well.

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.

Dudley’s a bit homophobic, no?

Our newcomers!
All said, the newcomers did a fantastic job given the material they had to work with.

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.

Luna’s introduction, while a bit oddly placed (not on the train, already at the Thestrals) worked sufficiently. There was no mention of the Quibbler, just a visual placement. For someone who wasn’t an actress, just a fan, you can tell her love of the series shines through as she makes the most of her moments in the sun without ever overcrowding the scene or stealing attention from where it needs to be. She got a few extra lines, and they really brought the point home without being preachy – more like, oh hey Harry did you ever think of things this way. Lynch’s bright ray of sun in what’s supposed to be a gloomy affair did wonders.

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.

I think she nailed Lestrange pretty well.

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

Tonks was good, and putting in the small details such as her ability to change her hair and face worked out well. The only thing missing was a good “wotcher”.

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

I liked all of the Order, really.

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.

Nothing to add here, other than sometimes she was probably funnier than was meant to be.

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