Critical Consensus: "Harry Potter" Is Certified Fresh; "Captivity" Fails To Capture Critics' Hearts

This week at the movies, we've got the latest in the "Harry Potter" series ("Order of the Phoenix," starring Daniel Radcliffe), and a tale of kidnapping and torture ("Captivity," starring Elisha Cuthbert). What do the critics have to say?

Fans apprehensive about how newcomer director David Yates would handle the longest and densest "Harry 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. It may be the worst-reviewed entry in the series so far, but at 74 percent on the Tomatometer, "Order of the Phoenix" is still Certified Fresh.


Rehearsing for "Harry Potter: The Musical"

The latest entry in the burgeoning subgenre of torture-porn, "Captivity" isn't being shown to American critics before it opens Friday. However, our mates in Merry Old England have gotten a look at it, and they don't like what they see. "Captivity" stars Elisha Cuthbert as a top model, who is kidnapped and subjected to brutal torment at the hands of her sadistic captor. "Captivity" has already gotten plenty of press for its tasteless ad campaign and its perhaps-slightly-less-so-but-still-pretty-tasteless premiere party in L.A., both of which could arguably be overlooked if the movie delivered the goods. But critics say "Captivity" is little more than exploitative nonsense: nasty, brutish, and bereft of any real scares or psychological insight. At 13 percent on the Tomatometer, the scribes say "Captivity" is more tortuous than entertaining.


All those critics can talk to the hand.

Also opening this week in limited release: Patrice Leconte's "My Best Friend," a dry French comedy about a grumpy antiques dealer (Daniel Auteuil), is at 86 percent; the anime "Tekkonkinkreet," about a gang war over the construction of an amusement park, is at 83 percent; "Talk to Me," a biopic of pioneering talk radio legend Petey Greene starring Don Cheadle, is at 76 percent; "Interview," a duel of wits between a reporter (Steve Buscemi) and a starlet (Sienna Miller) is at 75 percent (check out our review from Sundance here); the South Korean import "Time," a drama about a couple spicing up their relationship by way of plastic surgery, is at 73 percent; and "Drama/Mex," which tells three interlocking stories from one wild night in Acapulco, is at 57 percent.


Don Cheadle as Ralph "Petey" Greene in "Talk to Me"

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

Alex Vo contributed to this article.

Comments

edgeoforever

Edge oforever

[b]Harry Potter and TOOP is the best in the series![/b]
It boggles the mind to see that the previous installment got such high critical praise - it was a mess, best left forgotten. David Yates proved he knows, understands and loves the book - and preserved their spirit. His storytelling was flawless (not choppy and incomprehensible like Goblet of Fire).

Jul 12 - 06:46 PM

TeeHeeBitch

Alex Rooney

This harry potter was more of a mess than the other ones. But it will probably make more sense after the next movie. Am I alone in thinking Prisoner of Azkaban was the best one?

Jul 12 - 09:23 PM

aknddon3

andrew kruzel

No Prisoner sucked because it was nothing like the book, they ruined that movie. THis was the best second was Goblet of Fire.

Jul 13 - 01:40 AM

edgeoforever

Edge oforever

[b]While the movies are a different medium [/b]
than the book, they are a derivative product - i. e - they are an [b]adaptation[/b]. No one expects everything in the book to be in a movie - but keep the spirit of it!
Only someone who never touched any of the books can give Goblet of Fire any credence at all. they went for flashy images at the expense of story telling, making sense.
The Prisoner of Azkaban - made after one of the best books - was my favorite movie - until The Order of Phoenix. Yates uses some of the Cuaron's visual whimsy and expands on it. The creativity in providing narration (via newspaper headlines, nailed edicts to the wall) was appreciated by this moviegoer. The Order of Phoenix is a very long story - almost impossible to cram in a regular length movie. yet, I feel this movie managed to keep all the relevant stuff - and at least give the fans a nod for the plotlines that couldn't be included (i.e: Percy's betrayal - by having him present at Dumbledore's arrest). There were epic visual scenes here too, but unlike in the previous movie, they were in relevant parts of the story (Dumbledore vs Voldemort fight) rather than random ones.
I am delighted that the producers got rid of what's his name who did Goblet of Fire. He wasn't adapting JK Rowlings book, he was making some silly personal statement about how "adults sometimes let you down" - and had the audacity of making the most formidable wizard in the story appear senile!!! Had he continued, I would have shunned the movies altogether.
P.S. is it still possible to cast Peter O Toole as Dumbledore instead of Gambon? Yates got the best performance out of him, but he still lacks presence and is simply ruining the scenes he is in (love him in other stuff - he is miscast here)

Jul 13 - 04:43 AM

adml_shake

Robin Goins

[b]You have got to be kidding.[/b]
This was one of the worst adaptations I've seen to date. In a adaptation the "spirit" of the book should have at least been kept. In this mess they seemed to feel the need to rewrite how everyone acted and felt. Where was Harrys out rage at the beginning? Why make harrys girl the bad person when it would have taken all of 3 minutes to put her friend in it? Why water down what the Weasley twins did? Nobody I know of who hasn't read the book yet had a single clue what was going on and why people were doing what they were doing. At least with the other movies, ALL the other movies, you could watch it and still have a general understanding what was going on. However this movie was so screwed up that you would have had to read the book to have any idea what the hell was going on. My hope is that some day in the future these movies are made in CG or something and the writers don't feel the need to butch the book or the over all story so much.

Jul 13 - 10:16 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

How is making it entirely CG going to improve the movies again? I for one was glad the movie wasn't 5 hours long(what it would have had to have been to incorporate everything). The rest is your opinion and you're entitled to it.

Jul 16 - 10:30 AM

aknddon3

andrew kruzel

What are you talking about? Goblet of Fire was more like the book than Prisoner. The only people who like that movie are the ones who never read the book.

Jul 13 - 10:58 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Please stop speaking in such absolutes. It makes you sound retarded. Everybody hasn't agreed on one thing ever in history. Heck there are people who still believe the Earth is flat.

Jul 16 - 10:32 AM

Gimy

Gimy Moo

listening to harry potter geeks is worse than comic book nerds and trekkies combined...jesus christ.

Captivity is horror...would you REALLY be SO much more into a horror flick if the critics said they loved it? too gorey, tasteless...nasty is being used to describe the marketing and the movie? dude...sounds good to me. already started off well with casting a hot lead chic. next step...losing that shirt she's wearing...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand AAAACTION! only thing i wanna see anyway is Rescue Dawn(bale is the sh3t), which of course isn't showing yet(if ever) in theaters near me

Jul 13 - 05:58 AM

TeeHeeBitch

Alex Rooney

Haha yeah. I don't go so far as to read the books. Harry Potter is a bag o' fag anyways. Gary Oldman is the best part of the movie. Who's with me in saying Transformers will kick the wizard kid's ass in the long run?

Jul 13 - 08:08 AM

Wooby

First Last

[b]One large vanilla shake, please...[/b]
This movie was just like the rest...

Bland by itself. Vapid and very pedestrian unless you've read the books. Then it's basically the perfect companion piece. I find it amusing that these movies would probably garner only modest success (and there certainly wouldn't be 7 of them) if the books didn't exist. Thank god LOTR didn't fall into this funk.

Sheep.

Jul 13 - 09:09 AM

dastly75

Sushiil Shettigar

*sheep noises*

Jul 13 - 10:16 AM

adml_shake

Robin Goins

[b]You have got to be kidding.[/b]
This was one of the worst adaptations I've seen to date. In a adaptation the "spirit" of the book should have at least been kept. In this mess they seemed to feel the need to rewrite how everyone acted and felt. Where was Harrys out rage at the beginning? Why make harrys girl the bad person when it would have taken all of 3 minutes to put her friend in it? Why water down what the Weasley twins did? Nobody I know of who hasn't read the book yet had a single clue what was going on and why people were doing what they were doing. At least with the other movies, ALL the other movies, you could watch it and still have a general understanding what was going on. However this movie was so screwed up that you would have had to read the book to have any idea what the hell was going on. My hope is that some day in the future these movies are made in CG or something and the writers don't feel the need to butch the book or the over all story so much.

Jul 13 - 10:16 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

How is making it entirely CG going to improve the movies again? I for one was glad the movie wasn't 5 hours long(what it would have had to have been to incorporate everything). The rest is your opinion and you're entitled to it.

Jul 16 - 10:30 AM

dastly75

Sushiil Shettigar

*sheep noises*

Jul 13 - 10:16 AM

The Witless Wonder

Sam Bowman

Loved the movie and felt it was a pretty faithful adaptation to the book. OOTP is my favorite book and now my favorite of the movies. My friends who did not read any of the books, but have kept up with the movies understood the movie fine. There were a couple parts where they were confused ((PERCY)) but he didn't have a big role in the movie.

Jul 13 - 10:57 AM

aknddon3

andrew kruzel

What are you talking about? Goblet of Fire was more like the book than Prisoner. The only people who like that movie are the ones who never read the book.

Jul 13 - 10:58 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Please stop speaking in such absolutes. It makes you sound retarded. Everybody hasn't agreed on one thing ever in history. Heck there are people who still believe the Earth is flat.

Jul 16 - 10:32 AM

TeeHeeBitch

Alex Rooney

I read the book. And I liked the movie. And no one fucking had a big role in the movie besides Harry. Even the new people were pointless to the plot of the movie. And Ron and Hermoine had like 5 lines each. Its not hard to understand the movie, but, its VERY hard to like it. Maybe when the sixth one comes out, I will look back and say I needed it, but as of right now, it was one of the most pointless installments of any continuing saga...since The Godfather Part III. And seriously, Wooby is right, is it really the right choice to put this story into seven books? Its ridiculous. It always ends up in a fight with Voldemort at the end anyways. It would be like having seven original Star Wars movies and Luke fights Darth Vader everytime. It is getting really repetative and I REALLY hope they kill Harry Potter off the the last book just so it will put an end to my ongoing frustration with the Harry Potter franchise.

Jul 13 - 02:54 PM

aknddon3

andrew kruzel

Wow teeheebitch, all you just said made you sound like a little *****.

Jul 13 - 05:18 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

How is making it entirely CG going to improve the movies again? I for one was glad the movie wasn't 5 hours long(what it would have had to have been to incorporate everything). The rest is your opinion and you're entitled to it.

Jul 16 - 10:30 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Please stop speaking in such absolutes. It makes you sound retarded. Everybody hasn't agreed on one thing ever in history. Heck there are people who still believe the Earth is flat.

Jul 16 - 10:32 AM

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