It’s the plot of Harry Three that really stands out, the way that Hermione manipulates time to make everything come out right in the end. Not only do we learn why Hermione is so smart (because she can control time she can take twice as many classes and do twice as much studying as anyone else), but in the final sequence, where everything goes wrong, Harry and Hermione go back and make everything right. Along the way, they also show us that we only thought we saw everything go wrong. This double sequence, which stitches everything together in the manner of an 18th-century novel, is one of the best I’ve seen in films, a lot better than the one in, oh, I don’t know, Citizen Kane, for example.
There just isn’t much cleverness in Harry Five. The dummies at the Department of Magic screw everything up, because that’s what bureaucracies do. Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), who sometimes seems like a parody of Margaret Thatcher (who, of course, hated bureaucrats), is entertainingly malicious, but ultimately she doesn’t prove to be much of a menace. If, when push came to shove, she’d turned into an enchanting temptress, to lead Harry over to the dark side, as it were, now, that would have been fun. Instead, we get a lot of Harry having bad dreams, courtesy Valdemort, of course, but showing a character having bad dreams doesn’t really dramatize torment. When Harry’s in real trouble, Dumbledore or someone else pops up and saves him, in contrast to Harry Three, where Harry, Ron, and Hermione all had to save themselves.
Harry’s first kiss, with Cho Chang (Katie Leung), lives up to expectations, and the gang gives him a proper rassing as well, but why isn’t Cho now part of the gang? We get the feeling that Harry’s embarrassed to be seen with her socially. Most of all, there isn’t enough of the gang. I’m big fans of both Ron and Hermione, and they don’t have enough to do in this pic. As for the Order of the Phoenix, well, they seem to be a pretty motley crew. Who needs adults anyway?
This is the first Harry Potter not scripted by Steve Kloves, who also wrote and directed The Fabulous Baker Boys. Michael Goldenberg, with remarkably few credits under his belt, did the script for Harry Five. Goldenberg worked on the 2003 version of Peter Pan, which explored the latent sensuality of that work in a way that earlier films hadn’t, at least, that’s how Roger “Mr. Latent Sensuality” Ebert sees it. David Yates, a relative newcomer who previously had mostly worked in British TV, was the director. Alfonso CuarÃ³n directed Harry Three.
 Looney Luna (Evanna Lynch) would probably make more sense to me if I’d read the books. She shows up at several dramatic moments, but I could never tell why.
 The Dementors, which we first saw in Harry Three, also show up in Harry Five, but they’re so “dark” (we can’t see their death’s head faces) that they aren’t as scary. I’m guessing that Harry Five, despite all the “darkness,” was deliberately made less frightening than Harry Three, which, with its werewolf and black dog transformations at the end, was probably too intense for a lot of kids. It certainly would have been for me.
 I never saw the point of that “twice through” bit. It just made the film more boring.
 Kingtrio9 from Kansas is ga-ga over Natalia Tena as Nymphadora Tonks. “Natalia is sheer delight. She is the penultimate punk rock witch girl (think Dead Milkmen here).” I am thinking Dead Milkmen here, dude, and I’m liking it, a lot, but if Natalia is the penultimate punk rock witch girl, then what I need to know is who is the ultimate punk rock witch girl. (And, not to be a total asshole, but couldn’t Nymphadora have been a little more, you know, nympho?)