Like every Harry Potter book that has been turned into a movie (a mega-million-dollar blockbuster sort of film), the Order of the Phoenix has a big demand and it delivers - but there is that one problem of trying to fit the entire book into the movie time frame, and it just can't happen. I wanted to see a bit more character development from the house elf that mutters and sputters at Sirius Black's house, but it was great to see that he was even included. I wanted to see the professors teaching and their interaction with the kids, but we did get to see them being drilled and grilled by Delores Umbridge, which was fun.
Upon exiting the film I tried to listen to the whining and the cheering of the people; some really loving it, and others complaining - and it hit me that those who were doing the complaining were the devoted readers of the books. I heard a guy say to his girlfriend "I loved it and I didn't even read a single page of the stupid book, see, I liked it and you didn't." He was actually referring to the fact that the house elves weren't made a part of this movie like they are in the book- they don't come to the rescue, they don't tease the little girl house elf like they do in the book - and Hermie Grainer doesn't form a club to save them either. You see the one or two short and inadequate shots of the elf being a bit on the nasty side, nothing like the book, but it's OK...I understand. What the book had - that the movie did NOT have, was a descent Cho Chin. Sorry, I don't usually say things about young actresses, but this girl can NOT pull off even the simplest acts of the character whatsoever. She was not only weak - she was stiff, unforgivably boring, and a bit on the star-struck side to be considered a real girlfriend, and hey - wasn't he suppose to go to the kid's bar in the winter time, have a few butter beers and end up breaking up with Cho? I may have that mixed up with my imagination, but like I said, they couldn't add everything - and that means they had to nix the winter scenes as well - oh, wait - there's a 20 second scene where we do actually see, just see, the bar, the village - the familiar stages - but not for long.
What was interesting to me was another comment that was made - and that I agreed with - you didn't see much of anyone. Everyone, and I mean EVERY ONE of the characters are in the book - but you don't see ANY ONE of them for long at all. Just a few minutes each - except well, Harry, and Sirius - you see a good amount of Gary Oldham - he's great. You see bits and pieces of Lupin, Bellatrux, Lucius, Voldermort, Hagrid, Moody, Dumbledore, McGonagal, and a few good scenes with Snape - it was all about Delores this time around. She did a great job - NO, do you know who did the best? The BEST BEST performance - Luna Lovegood! Seriously, I don't even know the kid's name - she was the best. Bar none. She skipped her way into the best of show position - the rest was academic really - the story was told.
There you have it - a 3 star film at best for a 5 star book - but, then again, I heard complaint after complaint when the book came out too because of the overt mechanism of the writing, the staleness of the plot - fair enough - but you (like me) bought into it! No spoiler here - we all know Sirius bites the bullet - he did so, and he did so with class. Bravo Padfoot! Bravo!