BANV & son just returned from the 12:40 showing of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” at the Regal in Abingdon. We both really enjoyed it. And, we didn’t have the anticipated crowds to deal with. The woman in front of us in line said the earlier show had sold out and her family couldn’t get four seats together. But at the 12:40 p.m. show, it was just her, us and a couple of other people behind the special rope line they have set up for Harry Potter movie goers in the lobby. On our way out of the movie, however, there was a long line of people behind those ropes waiting for the next show. So lunchtime seems like a good time to go. I had been a little concerned that with the PG-13 rating, it might be too scary or too adult for my 9-year-old. But, quite frankly, it was the commercials and previews that were too adult. The dementors scene early in the movie was scary and there were two shots of characters with bloodied faces that bothered him, but otherwise it was OK. I enjoyed seeing this particular one of J.K. Rowling’s books brought to life on the screen because at 870 pages, it was a bit of work for me to keep track off all those Order of Phoenix and Death Eater characters. Helena Bonham-Carter is great as the completely mad Bellatrix Lestrange. And, I thought, Gary Oldman as Sirius Black cut an elegant figure in his long pinstripe coat, particularly after watching him straggle through “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” in prison rags and blackened teeth. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter stepped out from the ensemble in this film and really seemed to own the starring role. Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge was malicious in mauve and it was fun to see her in a different rosy outfit in every scene. Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore looked more tired, less confident and magical in this film, which I imagine is a prelude to the next installment. This film was more action-packed than previous films with the students in Dumbledore’s Army hurling each other across the Room of Necessity with stupefy spells and the final battle between Ralph Fiennes’s nose-less Voldemort and Dumbledore looking a bit like something out of Avatar: The Last Air Bender as they each use earth elements against each other. I’m continually surprised by how long movies like this run. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” ran 2 hours and 18 minutes. Ratatouille, which was saw a couple weeks ago and also enjoyed very much, ran 1 hour and 50 minutes. When the credits rolled and I stood up on achy knees, I thought to myself, oh, I’m getting old. But then I noticed both my son and the teenage girl in front of my shaking out their legs as well.
We have a year to wait for the next movie. According to the IMBd movie database, the movie for the 6th book “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is due to be released Nov. 21, 2008 and the movie for the 7th and final book due to be published July 21, is scheduled for release in 2010.
But we have only 10 days to wait for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 620 Marketplace Drive in Bel Air is hosting the traditional midnight party. But when I was there today, I picked up a flier that says we can celebrate a little earlier. It says wristbands needed to purchase a book that night will be distributed as early as 4 p.m. July 20. If you’ve already reserved a copy, you get to line up first in front of those who plan to buy without a reservation. The festivities begin at 9 p.m. and are expected to include wand-making, house badges, face painting, trivia games and scavenger hunts. The flier also says that they expect so many people to attend the party that they may have to “limit access to the store until some party guests have left.” I guess we had better get there early.