5 Reasons Why The Order Of The Phoenix Is The Best Harry Potter Movie
Harry Potter's fifth year at Hogwarts brings a whole new world of adventure for him and his friends.
Harry Potter's fifth year at Hogwarts brings a whole new world of adventure for him and his friends. The tone is a lot darker now that Voldemort is back and the Ministry is after Harry. The Ministry has also invaded Hogwarts by way of Professor Umbridge, but the new environment gives Harry a chance to make new friends, especially from other houses.
For the first time, Harry's adventures take him away from Hogwarts. The scale of conflict is much bigger, and he can't fight this battle alone anymore. Thus, he essentially forms a small army - dubbed "Dumbledore's Army" - when he, Hermione, and Ron organize a secret Defence Against the Dark Arts class to make up for Umbridge's intervention.
The fifth Harry Potter film introduces many new characters, perhaps more than any of the other movies do. The real Alastair Moody appears early on, along with several members of the Order of the Phoenix. This in itself opens up a whole new world for Harry and his friends, and sets up much of the film's direction. There's also Umbridge, who is one of the most disliked villains in the entire franchise, portrayed compellingly by Imelda Staunton.
At Hogwarts, Harry gets to know students from other houses a little better, most notably Luna Lovegood and Cho Chang. Dumbledore's Army also includes students from other houses, which later helps Harry as he searches for the Horcruxes. The increased diversity helps to flesh out the wizarding world and remind viewers that it is a world, and that so far the films have only explored a small part of it.
Harry Isn't Alone
Every movie in the series focuses in some way on Harry being The Chosen One, The Boy Who Lived, etc., etc. The older he gets, the more Harry reminds his friends that they can't ever truly understand him, but they still stick by him. The Order of the Phoenix is the first time he's accompanied by his friends on his big adventure. He's alone in the first movie to face Quirrel/Voldemort in The Philosopher's Stone, alone with Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets, the only one being "hunted" by Sirius Black in The Prisoner of Azkaban, and abandoned by his friends to compete in the Triwizard Tournament.
Harry's loneliness is a big part of his character and his journey, but in this film, he finds that he's not as alone as he thinks. Early in the film, he meets Luna Lovegood, with whom he turns out to share a bittersweet connection. They can both see Thestrals, which are beautiful, but the reason they're able to see them is heartbreaking. A sweet friendship blossoms between them and lasts for the remainder of the series. In the fifth film, Luna is one of the members of Dumbledore's Army to accompany Harry to the Ministry. He doesn't have to face the Death Eaters or Voldemort alone, which reminds viewers that this war is about an entire world.
Other Characters Get A Chance To Shine
Since Harry's not so alone in this installment, he doesn't have to shoulder the responsibility for everything. Hermione comes up with the idea to run underground Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, Neville discovers the Room of Requirement, Ginny shines in Dumbledore's Army, and Luna suggests a mode of transport to London.
Other characters are featured more, with a chance to reveal their motivations and add complexity to their stories, like Cho Chang mourning Cedric, or Sirius trying to build a life of freedom for himself and Harry. Similarly, Neville's backstory becomes more apparent and even ties in with Harry's destiny. Harry also learns more about Hagrid, Snape, and Dumbledore, and other teachers like Trelawney and McGonogall take on more down-to-Earth roles. Sirius may not be physically present for much of the film, but his relationship with Harry has never been more important. Harry turns to him when he wants to learn more about his parents and their school days.
Each movie in the series broadens the horizon of the wizarding world, but perhaps none utilize setting as effectively as The Order of the Phoenix. Most of the film takes place at Hogwarts, but it's Hogwarts as fans have never experienced it - the Dark Forest is truly a scary place now, but it's also a setting that can be used to Harry's advantage.
The more the characters discover about Hogwarts, the more mysterious it seems to become. The Room of Requirement opens up a whole realm of possibilities, and it remains a key setting for the rest of the series. Another intriguing location is the Ministry, which is perhaps the eeriest setting of all. It's featured at the beginning of the film when Harry is about to get expelled, foreshadowing the big showdown later on, as well as introducing the real threat: fear. The Minister is too afraid to believe that Voldemort is back, so he denies it, putting everyone in danger as they fail to prepare. Of course, it's also the scene in which Umbridge is introduced.
Feels Like A Teen Movie
This movie dedicates a lot of time to showing Harry being a teenager with his friends. There's gossip, romance, banter, and a lot of lighthearted moments, thanks largely to characters like Fred and George. Their pranks become ubiquitous, and necessary to maintain some semblance of levity in this darkening world. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are preparing for exams - also teen movie-like - when the twins set off a medley of magical fireworks in a fun cinematic display. Scenes like these work to the story's advantage, juxtaposing the innocence of youth against the dangers of darkness.
At the climax of the film, when Harry finally comes face-to-face with Voldemort, he realizes how valuable his friendships have been to him throughout the year. Viewers feel this realization too, and keenly, after watching Harry grapple with loneliness while simultaneously growing closer with his friends. This juxtaposition accentuates Harry's loneliness but also highlights how supported he is, like in the fireworks scene. When he joins his friends outside, he collapses in the middle of a cheering crowd, sensing Voldemort. Hermione notices, but there's nothing she can do.