A specific example is Severus Snape, played to perfection by Alan Rickman even within the slivers of time he has on screen. The private classes with Harry are amongst the most intense sequences in all of the books, yet here they are given brief attention and the feeling is that ultimately they were covered out of necessity than choice, never really being tied into the broader issue of Harry’s doubts as to his worth. As for Radcliffe, he does fine – Harry Potter, for me at least, represents a strange central hero as throughout the series he has spent his time responding to the actions of others and events outside his control, succeeding only with the help of others and good fortune. Potter admits as much during the film and it is where he strives to take charge and lead Radcliffe is at his most refreshing, not labouring us with the same monotone angst. The film though belongs to Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge, her initially strange casting making perfect sense now. Staunton oozes true menace through the bureaucratic pink haze surrounding her. She is the perfect representation of the darker themes at play and sense of foreboding. The film is most enjoyable at this point, the struggle of the magic boot camp against the new regime compensating for the neglect of the back story of the Order of the Phoenix who earn a mention in the title but little else.
So at who’s door can I lay the blame for this? Simply – no one. While specific faults and improvements could be suggested by every Potter fan there is the over riding point that in constructing the story sensibly, directing how it is portrayed, delivering spectacle where possible and delivering a fresh perspective on a setting we have visited 5 times now, director David Yates and his crew have succeeded. The true litmus test for this installment should be whether it is enjoyable and entertaining and if we are to extend the limits of judgement considering the event movie it is then I feel we can also confidently state it acts as an effective adaptation of the novel, though not always fulfilling.