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DVD Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Newly released on Warner Brothers DVD is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This fifth installment of the Harry Potter franchise takes fans of the boy who lived on a much darker ride. Potter, now 16, is faced with vicious attacks from a new headmaster, training with his arch-enemy Severus Snape, and coping with the loss of a dear friend.

The plot is much like that of the other films. Harry must figure out a way to defeat the Dark Lord Voldemort who has returned to destroy the wizarding world. For those who are not familiar with Harry Potter, the young man is the only one who survived an attack by the Dark Lord several years ago. When the Dark Lord attacked Potter, who was a baby at the time, the curse was reversed and decimated the Dark Lord instead. Potter survived the attack with a lightning-shaped scar and a strange attachment to Voldemort — an attachment that is exploited by the Dark Lord in this film.

Throughout the course of the Potter movies, the young wizard has faced the Dark Lord in various stages of regrowth. Now in the most recent film, Voldemort has returned to full strength. As Potter is dealing with the loss of a friend (Cedric Diggory, who died at the hands of the Dark Lord in the fourth film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) he is also dealing with a strange distancing by his friend and mentor, Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

Much like the other films, Potter learns the reasons for all these things at the end of the movie. He most also once again deal with the loss of someone close to him. Director David Yates stays true to the dark atmosphere that was created by director Alfonso Cuaron, director of the third film, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban.

While the movie is excellently done by the cast, the time frame in which they are being released is showing on the age of the kids. Truthfully, Daniel Radcliff (who plays Harry) doesn’t look the age he is supposed to be portraying. None of them do.

If you can separate fact from fantasy then there is little that was done wrong. Aside from changes and parts being left out, the movie does its best to stay true to the spirit of the wizarding world. The special effects and computer animation are stellar, as are the costuming and sets. Evidence of the quality of the special effects is especially evident in the portrayal of the Dementors and the huge wizarding duel that takes place inside the Ministry of Magic. An excellent score provided by Nicolas Hooper helps to create the dark and foreboding theme of this film.

Recorded in Dolby Digital Surround 5.1, this DVD doesn’t have any bonus features to add to its value. With none needed, this pre-Christmas release is sure to make little wizards and witches happy across the world this holiday season.

Lets hope that the next movies hold to the same level of excellence as this one and previous did.

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