Critical Consensus: "Order of the Phoenix" Rises to the Occasion

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Good thing school's out. Otherwise, we'd expect a lot of half-populated classrooms as kids ditch to revel in the cinematic glow of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," opening tomorrow. The boy wizard had a rocky start on Monday in which he dangled perilously close to rotten territory, but has since made an impressive comeback with the critics.

Fans apprehensive on how newcomer director David Yates would handle the longest and densest "Potter" novel yet can rest easy, according to the critics. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" revolves around Harry's (Daniel Radcliffe) continuing growing pains: first kisses, suspension from school, rebelling with an army of kids to overthrow the educative autocracy, and confronting the murderer of his parents. You know, kids' stuff. While some say "Order" feels like a placeholder setting up the final two sequels, most agree that Yates makes the most of the job (and his CG budget), serving up a relentlessly dark and grim vision of Hogwarts. And with his tight, efficient script, writer Michael Goldenberg eschews the excess while keeping the emotional trappings of the 800-page source novel. With a Certified Fresh 74 percent Tomatometer, the magic continues for the "Potter" series.


This guy waited in line a long time to see the latest "Potter" flick.

"Harry Potter" Movies
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89% -- "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire " (2005)
89% -- "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004)
82% -- "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets " (2002)
79% -- "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone " (2001)

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