The Mescan and I went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last Wednesday night and I have to say that while it started out a bit slow and frankly, retarded – it picked up quite a bit as it went on.

I can deal with the fact that young Mr. Potter looks like he’s 25 already, I can deal with the fact that there was hardly any Hagrid in this installment, I can even deal with the fact that Hermione has me feeling a little creepy as she has gone from 9 or 10 when shooting the first one to a pretty good looking 17 year old, what I can’t deal with is the typical problem large book conversions to film face. You just can’t bring in all these characters in such a short time without them coming up a bit short in their development.

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For the readers of the book series, it is not a big problem – when they see a new character like Nymphadora Tonks (that’s subtle) or Bellatrix Lestrange, they have pages and pages of information from the books to flesh out the character. To someone like me who has yet to open any of books, their flatness jumps out. This story could have been better told as three films – of course then it would be clear how much J.K. Rowling has stolen from other writers.

I know I am probably turning a large percent of my audience into haters because I am dissing a cult figure like Harry Potter, but I gotta call it like I see it. Bottom line? I found the film entirely enjoyable once it got past the first twenty minutes or so. I felt it didn’t deliver on the promise setup in that first act, but I didn’t leave the theater feeling robbed. (Well, unless you count the blandest popcorn I have ever tasted.) If you are a rabid Potter fan, you will likely love OotP. If you are a casual Potterista, you will find it a fun outing. Either way, it’s worth watching and it was a step up from the previous film.

RATING 7 out of 10