Summer Box Office Wrap-Up
‘Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix’
This summer was the ‘Summer of Potter.’ ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ and the seventh and final novel ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ were released. However, the Potter magic flickered out on the big screen, leaving the highly anticipated ‘Deathly Hallows’ book to stand on its own this summer despite record-setting box office numbers.
‘Phoenix’ begins with Potter trouble at the Dursleys and climaxes with a confrontation between Potter and Voldemort, with some assistance from Dumbledore. This foreshadows the final showdown in the seventh book which was released a week after this film.
Director David Yates takes a dark look at Potter’s coming of age and the diabolical events that take place at the same time, depicting themes of power and corruption and displaying Potter’s angst and confusion with screen effects such as the use of shades of blue.
Many critics have commended the movie’s cinematography. Although some of the sets and special effects were undoubtedly captivating, they were not enough to save the film from its patchy plot lines.
Explanations of certain characters and events were overlooked and importance was given to smaller, more insignificant details that did nothing to drive the plot. Mrs. Figg, for one, was never explained; she just appeared, and the audience was expected to have previously known her significance in finding Potter being attacked by the dementors. Also, the thestrals, who were only visible to Potter and a few others, were later ridden by several characters who had previously been oblivious to their existence, with no explanation.
However, several new characters were introduced who definitely improved the quality of the film. Imelda Staunton made for a creepishly delightful Professor Umbridge, the only power-hungry villain with an immense love for kittens and the color pink. Bellatrix Lestrange was deliciously displayed by Helena Bonham Carter, whose knack for playing Tim Burton-esque monstrous females made her ideal for this role. The quirky Luna Lovegood was played by the equally quirky newcomer Evanna Lynch, who J.K. Rowling stated was ‘perfect’ to play the part of Luna.
‘The Order of the Phoenix’ had some entertaining scenes, but it left fans wondering how Rowling could accept this adaptation of her world-famous novels.
People who haven’t read the book really like the ‘Order of the Phoenix’ because they don’t know the details and don’t pick up the magical inconsistencies like the fate of the thestrals. For them it just becomes this magical cinematic journey.
‘The Bourne Ultimatum’
‘The Bourne Identity’ ends with Jason Bourne and Marie living a life free from his shackles as an assassin . The sequel, ‘
The Bourne Supremacy,’ proved equally pleasing, if not more so, as Bourne is forced back to his life of running to discover more about himself after being framed for a failed CIA operation and losing Marie. However, ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ continues a sequence in which each movie is better than the first, a rarity for Hollywood blockbusters.
‘Ultimatum’ picks up with Bourne wounded and running through the streets of Moscow. Of course, immune to death as are all the movie heroes, Bourne makes it out with a couple of brilliant moves, barely detectable amidst the chaos and goes back into hiding. He is forced to come back when his memory is triggered by a journalist’s discovery of ‘Blackbriar,’ a top secret project in which Bourne is a central part. The audience excitedly follows Bourne through Europe as he pursues his mission to discover the meaning of Blackbriar and get the closure he desperately needs in figuring out his past. Needless to say, this ‘tri-quel,’ rounded up the summer very nicely.
With disappointing releases such as the highly anticipated ‘Spiderman 3’ and ‘Shrek the Third’ earlier in the summer, the twists, turns and unexpected but pleasant surprises of ‘Ultimatum’ were definitely needed. The movie ends with the biggest surprise of all