Harry Potter is or what The Midnight Hour
You have to either be living in a cave or on Mars if you don’t know who Harry Potter is or what The Midnight Hour means to the team that brings you everything that is Harry Potter – from the books to the movies to the video games to the everything. Perhaps no book or movie in history has undergone such scrutinising security as the seventh Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or the release of its fifth movie to date: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The one thing that makes this summer especially special is that both the seventh book and the fifth movie have been launched within a gap of just a couple of weeks of each other.
With the official launch date of July 13, 2007, the Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, has already managed to break the previous records that were held and has managed to generate around $375 million in just three days from its launch. Amazingly enough, the team records the highest number of bookings for The Midnight Hour showings ever.
The director of the film is David Yates, although the film had also been offered to Mike Newell and Mira Nair – both turned it down. The screenwriter (the person who adapts the book version for screen) for all of the previous Potter films (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) had “other commitments” hence did not write the screenplay for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The screenplay was instead written by Michael Goldenberg.
An interesting fact about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is that it was the largest of all Harry Potter books but the movie itself is the shortest of all Harry Potter movies.
I must warn you here, the movie is much darker and more exciting than the previous Potter films. So much so that it has managed to generate a PG 13 rating in America. The film opens to reveal Harry saving his detestable cousin from a dementor and in turn, getting in trouble with the Ministry of Magic with the risk of getting expelled from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, only because he had used magic outside of the school – even if it was to save his cousin’s life.
With the return of Lord Voldemort becoming more and more of an unmistakable, unavoidable reality every single day and with Harry having seen him as well, the world of wizardry is in grave peril. No one seems to realise that however, with the Ministry of Magic living in denial by constantly refusing to admit his presence. Harry on the other hand is quietly shunned by school mates except for Hermione and Ron since nobody wants to be told that the Dark Lord who had been driven away 14 odd years ago will be returning. What’s more is that he will be assembling an army of people. Keeping that in mind, Harry has a mind to assemble his own, calling it ‘Dumbledore’s Army’.
With everything being all dark and grey in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, there is one little shade of pink that one manages to see: in the shape of Dolores Umbridge (played by acclaimed actress Imelda Staunton). Finally, this is a character all of us can relate to. She is our worst nightmare when it comes to a teacher and no doubt, many of us may have encountered teachers like her in real life too. She looks like a sweet, harmless lady on the outside, has a somewhat sweet and pleasant disposition complete with a voice full of mirth. Sound harmless so far? With all that Umbridge also does not listen to any questions that a student may have to ask, prefers to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts theoretically and without magic since ‘you don’t need magic to defend yourself nowadays’ and worst of all, slaps down decree after decree without a single consideration as to its consequences or even looking into the matter that may have caused an outbreak amongst students. Creating a completely repressed environment for the children and crippling little freedoms that they might have, she is only encouraging them to rebel more. And Imelda Staunton more than just brings her to life.
With impending doom right around the corner and with no one helping the students out or equipping them to deal with danger in case it arrives, Harry, Ron and Hermione decide to take matters into their own hands and begin to organise clandestine meetings in which Harry teaches a group of 27 trusted individuals all of the defensive magic he knows, including how to summon a Patronus. Calling themselves Dumbledore’s Army, they work day after day in refining their magic skills.
During this time we see a definite change taking place in Harry. Voldemort’s return is taking a toll on him and he suffers from nightmares day in and day out. Snape on the other hand tries to teach him to cloak his mind incase the Dark Lord might be trying to read or influence it via his dreams. Harry goes through side effects as strong as ones in which he feels bits of Voldemort’s character coming into him and reports feeling ‘angry all the time’ and so on. This is by far the most mature Harry Potter movie plot to date and the entire cast must be credited for rendering it realistically accurate. But then again, what is ‘real’ in the magic world.
At the end of it all, the movie is definitely darker and will keep all Harry Potter fans and non-fans glued to the movie throughout. Although at the end of it all, it doesn’t really tell us anything new: we already know that Lord Voldemort has come. But this movie is important in the sense that it bridges the stories that have been told and the ones which have to unfold. Most importantly, it gives us an insight into the terrible complexities of the magic world and what these elements are capable of doing.