I'm back from Order of the Phoenix. Before I go any further I promise not to do any major spoilers. This is going to be a little stream of conscious so bear with me.
Order of the Phoenix. In my listing it falls number three in my order of favorite Harry Potter movies behind Azkaban and Goblet. I think that Azkaban will always be my favorite because it is my favorite book and Alfonso Cuaron had such a vision and such a unique style. I called my mom when I got home (I always call to give my Harry Potter review) and the only way I could describe the movie was that it was very British. I'm actually not sure if that is the right way to describe it, but it definitely has its own unique style and pacing that I would not associate with American movies. Silences are ok. Conversations, thoughts, dreams all in a very subdued manner. I'm not sure if I can explain it, but it is definitely different than the blockbuster approach of Goblet and the other worldly approach of Azkaban.
The movie wasn't very long, just a little over 2 hours. I am sure they were facing a daunting task of paring down a book that was almost 900 pages long and they cut, cut, cut but honestly I think a few more minutes here and there would have helped it in parts. There was one time especially where I felt jarred by a missing scene and it only would have taken an extra minute or two to transition.
I feel a little sorry for those that do not know the books or the movies well because they are going to be lost. It was kind of like a TV show that just picks up where it left off and there aren't a lot of explanation of characters and back story. As they say in Urinetown "nothing kills a show like too much exposition" but again I think they had time to thrown in a sentence here and there.
On the good side, I really felt comfortable with the characters and for the most part I felt that the actors were comfortable in their roles. Except for a moment here and there I thought the kids were much, much better and I actually believed them in their parts. And Luna? When I saw a clip of her, I wasn't that impressed, but I just loved her. Luna is not one of my favorite people to spend time with in the books, but she was perfect on screen.
I loved the dueling battle between the Order and the Death Eaters at the end. I know it isn't long in the books, but they really could have expanded that one. I had never really thought a lot about how a wizard's duel should look, but that was it. It was beautiful to watch and I wanted more. My second favorite thing was DA lessons (if you don't know you'll figure it out later)
Overall I'm happy with it. I'm the type that tends to love things faults and all without too much analysis. I'm not really a reviewer and I don't usually bring a critical eye to things I love. (The other things in the world I critique, but tend to keep the thoughts to myself). The movie reminds me of the same feeling I got after reading the book the first time. A sense of satisfaction for completing it, but wishing for more. I plan on going back soon to catch the movie in IMAX 3D.
And for those keeping track at home I finished my re-read of Order of the Phoenix on Monday and am now into Half-Blood Prince. I will probably finish in the next few days. I'm so proud of myself because I tried to do a re-read before Half-Blood Prince came out and I failed miserably. I wrote recently about what it is like to finish a good book and a good series. Finishing Harry Potter though is going to be an order of magnitude higher than anything I've experienced to date. It is the first series that I have followed as it has been released (started on the 3rd book). Every other series that I have read were completed when I found them. I'm sure you will be hearing a lot more about this once I finish the last book so I'll stop here.