Forget Abracadabra and Allakazam: Harry Potter's fifth cinematic installment — bringing emotion-ridden, pubescent characters and political agendas — is anything but child's play. Well, almost anything: there is, of course, the series' signature fantastical element. And this ride around, it's better than ever before.
Practically sorcerers themselves, Academy Award Winners Stuart Craig (Gandhi, The English Patient) and Tim Burke (Gladiator) return as the production designer and visual effects supervisor for the film, stewing an exhilarating, thrill-enthralled experience to cast onto the big screen. The book's ornamental creatures are born onto the reel, waffling in and out of the film's harsh, intense political plot and emotional weight. This year, not only does Harry have to confront his adolescent feelings of loneliness, incapableness, and the rest of the -nesses that are adjuncts of brace-faced, boner-springing male hormonal change, but he courageously leads an idealistic army against a government that is corrupt and stricken with fear (sound familiar?), and ultimately spiraling him into defeat against his nemesis, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).
In addition to age-old battles, Hogwarts houses some new characters this year, like student Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), a delectable neo-flower child, and the wicked, fascist yet perky teacher, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). Still gravely missed is the late Richard Harris (the original Dumbledore); with a lack of sincerity and sensitivity, Michael Gambon — the current Dumbledore — is the only dent in the casts' performances.
Ever since Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, we've seen the books' film adaptations form an inclined plane. Science tells us what goes up must come down. However, historical evidence concerning the H.P. screen series — this latest one included — proves differently. And if anyone is going to defy science, who better than Sir Harry Potter?