Harry Potter, in outline form (Part 2) (SPOILERS)
As for the movie ...
HARRY: Is it my imagination, or is Daniel Radcliffe getting a touch overact-y? Well, I'll let it go in this movie, since he's cranky and pubescent:
HERMIONE: No imagining on this one - even Emma's eyebrows are overacting. And it doesn't help that every other shot in the movie is of her glowering and twitching. Yes, we get it, she's quite pretty. Now if only she would quit enunciating so damn much and talk like a person.
RON: Love, love, love! Rupert Grint is proving to be the best actor of the three, and his character is evolving from idiotic comic relief to quiet rock for the other two spazzes to lean on.
NEVILLE: "I'm quite proud to be their son." I'm actually welling up just a bit right now, sitting on my couch. If only there had been time for the scene at the hospital. But oh, dear - they do put him in dreadful clothes, don't they? Just because he's not so great with magic doesn't mean he's got no fashion sense.
CHO: Again, too bad they had to truncate her storyline. I think it works much better in the book, where they just - as Harry says - fall apart, and there's no wacky misunderstandings about her betraying Dumbledore's Army. That wasn't even really resolved, so it doesn't work on the movie level, either.
LUNA: Some people I was with were annoyed by Evanna Lynch's portrayal, but that's the point of Luna, isn't it? I quite liked her.
DUMBLEDORE: Better. I've always regretted giving Michael Gambon's performance the thumbs-up in my CiN Weekly review of Goblet of Fire. Unfortunately, I can't link to it because our archives don't got that far back, but I believe I said he succeeded in taking Dumbledore in a different direction. What I failed to consider was whether Dumbledore needed to be taken in a different direction, and I think it's pretty clear he didn't. Richard Harris' Dumbledore was note-perfect, and an actor's wish to distinguish himself from his predecessor doesn't excuse not being true to the character. Thankfully, in Order of the Phoenix, Gambon rarely runs around clutching Harry's arm and yelling. You see a bit of anger and worry in Dumbledore, but that's appropriate at this point in the story.
UMBRIDGE: Oooh. Perfect. You can read all about how awesome Imelda Staunton was in pretty much any review out there, so I won't belabor the point.
SNAPE: A confession. As the credits rolled, I turned to Stacie, put my thumb and forefinger a centimeter apart, and said, "I'm this close to thinking Snape might be, you know, kinda hot." I don't know what it was about this movie, but somehow, Alan Rickman turned on the hotness. For me, anyway - I know there are many people out there for whom he (and Snape, for that matter) have always "done it"; I am not one of those people, and I was surprised by how attractive I found him in this movie. I think it was his reserve and discipline.
THE MUGGLES: Seemed far weirder than usual, particularly Uncle Vernon. I liked them, but the change from previous movies was jarring.
THE LOOK: Wonderful. From the unfinished suburban dystopia of Privet Drive to the black halls of the Ministry of Magic, everything was bleakly lovely. Loved the enormous banner of Fudge and the Hall of Prophecy. With Umbridge around, we spent more time in the bare stone hallways of Hogwarts than ever before, making the school feel like a cathedral - a nice way to evoke another oppressive institution, the medieval Church. Whoa, I'm getting way too analytical here, so I'll dial it back and say that I really liked the newspaper transitions. It's kind of a film cliche, but the moving pictures and headlines gave it a twist.
THE ACTION SETPIECES: Thrilling, especially the big showdown between Voldemort and Dumbledore.
THE MUSIC: My favorite of any Harry Potter movie to date.
THE VEIL: Confusing. In the book, Sirius dies because he is pushed through the veiled arch. In the movie, he dies from a curse from Bellatrix and is then sucked through the veil. So, is whatever's beyond the veil just where EVERYONE goes when they die, and movie Sirius was pulled in because he happened to be standing very close to it? So then why would book Sirius have died when he went through it? There's a cause-and-effect problem here. (I know, I know, movies aren't canon. But still.)
THE MIRROR OF ERISED: Makes a couple of appearances here, which is interesting to me. Some theories postulate the mirror returning in book 7. If that's the case, this would certainly be a good time to remind moviegoers of its existence.
OVERALL: I always have a little feeling of disappointment at the end of a Harry Potter movie. There are always certain scenes that are beautifully realized and utterly satisfying, but so much has to be cut or expedited that the movie as a whole always feels disjointed. This was no exception - but so very much was done right that I think I'm prepared to call this my second favorite Harry Potter movie, after Prisoner of Azkaban.
P.S. I missed you at the show, AE - and Art Boy too. :)