I knew our heroes were well past the throes of puberty when Ron Weasley waved his wand over Hermione and shouted “Breasticus Augmenticus!”
Despite seeing the previous Potter movie almost nobody in this one is willing to accept that the Dark Lord lives again. And that’s because the Dark Lord’s agent knows there are two movies, countless licensing opportunities, hundreds of millions of dollars and dozens of awkward moments between the sexes remaining before the Final Confrontation between good and evil.
Some of the childhood quirks of the lead characters are wearing thin. Take young Malfoy. What kind of bully is 19 years old and 6’1”? Not surprisingly, Malfoy is barely in this movie, fulfilling his contractual commitment for three lines and various sour expressions for the second-unit Muggle crew.
And what about Ron Weasley? “There are two ways not to get laid if you’re an 18-year-old geek,” said Ron. “One is by being too busy cashing out of a Web 2.0 platform driven by network effects and an architecture of participation. The other is by peeking out from behind Harry Potter’s left shoulder.”
Meet some new characters, such a not-so-jolly green giant who resembles some kind of freakish Lou Diamond Phillips pituitary experiment gone awry.
And then there’s Imelda Staunton in lots and lots of pink: It’s the Color That Should Not Be Spoken in more shades than any language can muster. While the world may be short of many resources, pink tweed is evidently not one.
Thanks to Imelda, there’s a new rule at Hogwarts: “Boys and girls are not to be within 8 inches of each other,” which leaves out all but the best-endowed boys and the most fortunate girls.
Harry is visited by Voldemort in his dreams the way most schoolboys are visited by Hayden Panettiere. But is Harry becoming more and more like Voldemort? Is his dark side taking over?
“We all have both light and dark inside us,” says Sirius Black, a.k.a. Gary Oldman. “What matters is what we choose to act on – or, in my case, generally overact on.”
Harry has a love interest – if that’s what you call his utterly passionless excuse for a first kiss. “I needed to practice,” said Harry, “but both my arms were crossed in a previous engagement.”
Hermione sure knows how to hand out a compliment: “I’m sure Harry’s kissing was more than satisfactory,” she said.
That’s what we all strive for, Hermione, “more than satisfactory.”
Another Harry Potter movie means another Defense against the Dark Arts teacher. Author J. K. Rowling could reduce her carbon footprint by recycling these teachers instead of tossing out one after the other.
The great Maggie Smith, who doesn’t look a day over 100, has long since bypassed the makeup department to have her greasepaint applied by the Teamster crew. “They have to paint so many layers,” she says, “my grandchildren have mistaken me for Vanessa Redgrave and the Great Sphinx, depending on the angle and whether or not I’m discussing the Palestinian plight.”
Say, what have Hermione and Ron been doing between Potter movies, fan conventions? Said Ron, “I went to a fan convention just the other day –as a Klingon.”
“Voldemort is on the move!” said Sirius.
“You mean He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken is relocating from the Location He Must Not Originate From to the Place Which Must Not Be His Destination!” said Harry.
Suddenly Harry smells trouble: “It is He Who Must Not Be Smelled!”
Push comes to shove and it’s time for lightning to flash between the wizards, because that’s what happens when you fight with your wands.
“Boys and their wands!” exclaims Ron Weasley’s mum.
“Rugby-tatis!” said Hermione, as she cast a spell over the wardrobe department resulting in a variety of striped shirts dizzying enough to send J. Crew into a psychotic tailspin.
Look out! He Who Spends No Time in the Sun is angry: “You’re no Muggle, Harry Potter!”
“Not when I’m wearing this corduroy jacket – no Muggle would be caught dead in this,” replied Harry.
He Whose Nose Must Not Be Visible in a Profile sighed in agreement. Had he not killed off a generation of fashion role models, perhaps That Which You Must Not Wear After Labor Day would be different.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is slow to start even if it’s fun to finish. It may be the weakest film in the series to date (who can remember all of them?). And the older these kids get, the more I’d like to see them point their wands at other projects.
Too bad this Phoenix didn’t order something more nutritious.