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In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," Harry returns for his fifth year of study at Hogwarts and discovers that much of the wizarding community is in denial about the teenager's recent encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort, preferring to turn a blind eye to the news that Voldemort has returned. Fearing that Hogwarts' venerable Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, is lying about Voldemort's return in order to undermine his power and take his job, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, appoints a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to keep watch over Dumbledore and the Hogwarts students. But Professor Dolores Umbridge's Ministry-approved course of defensive magic leaves the young wizards woefully unprepared to defend themselves against the dark forces threatening them and the entire wizarding community, so at the prompting of his friends Hermione and Ron, Harry takes matters into his own hands. Meeting secretly with a small group of students who name themselves "Dumbledore's Army," Harry teaches them how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts, preparing the courageous young wizards for the extraordinary battle that lies ahead.

Those magical kids return with their obligatory authority figure adults in tow. Only they're not so little anymore and as the last movie proved, they're all well on their way to no longer being kids. Whatever plot lines director David Yates chooses to chase, it's essential that he makes following their slow bloom into adulthood a priority while at the same time avoiding the discussion of things like oh, say, condoms.

I'm not a huge fan of the last movie, but that's one thing that Goblet of Fire's director Mike Newell got right. The awkwardness of puberty, their newfound interest in the opposite sex. Watching these kids grow up on screen is what's most interesting about the Harry Potter series to anyone over the age of twelve, not their bag of magical tricks.

The seriesï new director, as mentioned above, is David Yates. With each new director comes a new, distinctive style. Thatï's a plus really, it gives every movie its own unique energy. But this is the first truly high profile film Yates has ever touched, and itï's certainly his first big-budget blockbuster. Since Columbus, that seems to be the route Warner Brothers is going with their Harry Potter directors. Both of the last two helmers had similar, low-budget resumes and it�s worked well so far. The real difference in Yates is that he's the Potter franchise's first British director. Odd when you consider there's not an American in sight when you check out the cast.

Expect more of the same from the fifth Harry Potter. Only Cuaron's movie, the third one, has distinguished itself from the pack as anything special. The rest have been entertaining but ultimately mediocre, and the sad thing is that Harry's hardcore fans seem to prefer that. Mediocre I suppose, is better than bad. The films have maintained a consistent level of quality, and thats more than most other long-running movie franchises can claim.

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