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9.3 6 10
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Coming into this film after my favorite in the series, The Order of the Phoenix, I was massively disappointed when I first watched it in the cinema. Re-watching after having seen the whole series, it fares better, though it’s still disappointing. I’d attribute this to two main factors: that OotP was the sole HP film written by Michael Goldenbaum, and also that several of the performances in this film get very campy at times, which is completely at odds with the overall darkening tone and serious plot of the movie.

This edit blessedly cuts many of those lines and moments, though there’s still far too much Lavender for me. The film would be much stronger with her simply as a footnote, a catalyst to bring Ron and Hermione together. Her and the girls gawking over the love potion could be trimmed, her train scene could be cut, shots of her at lunch after the breakup could be cut, etc. Ron’s dopiness after the love potion could also be trimmed. Thankfully, most of the cringingly awkward scenes between Harry and Ginny are cut. On the other hand, all the great deleted scenes are added back in. So overall, the narrative flow of the film is made clearer, although I would’ve liked the further hints at the cabinet to have been included, as well as Harry and Snape on the Astronomy stairway.

The edit looks great, as the reverse-engineering of the godawful green color-correction of the film has allowed otherwise gorgeous cinematography to really shine here. The video editing flows very well, and audio has been patched in nicely. It’s technically a marvelous edit, it just comes down to narrative choices. As well as what I mentioned above, I also missed the waitress intro, for example. I know some fans don’t like that it was added after the book, but I thought it was a great glimpse of the normal world serving as a friendlier place for Harry, where he was starting to come into his own and could get his mind off the wizarding world. And it also sets you up to wonder if Harry is truly safe in the muggle world, and who might seek to find him there. This works well when paired with the Deatheater attack on the Weasley house, and it's burning (cut from this edit) which shows their vulnerability.
It's actually an improvement on the book, where we only heard about things like this happening to wizards but none of the main characters were directly affected. So these omissions didn’t serve any purpose for me. So in the end, while this improves on the theatrical version of the film, it’s not quite a perfect edit, yet. Maybe a version 2.0?

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