With its fifth cinematic outing, the Harry Potter film series has ascended to another level. In addition to providing a self-contained, well-paced adventure, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix also begins to coalesce the epic ether that has been building over the past four films (especially the last two). With this movie, we sense that we're on the brink of something big, dark, and ominous. "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes…" For a franchise that began under the lightweight guardianship of director Chris Columbus, these pictures have gotten progressively darker. The Order of the Phoenix is easily the gloomiest yet. The movie is not suitable for young children (although, considering that Harry's core audience has aged considerably since the release of the first book in 1997, that shouldn't be a big problem).
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