The Half-Blood Prince was the only Harry Potter book that left me looking forward to the sequel. But before I take that step forward this coming weekend, I took a step back and watched the film adaptation of the series' most boring entry, The Order of the Phoenix.
The movie's opening is fashioned after one of the novels' most lamentable traits: a complete lack of introduction or context. Anyone who is just a casual fan of the series — that is, those who read the books only once each — will have trouble recognizing Dudley Dursley or Nymphadora Tonks in the opening scenes. Indeed, many characters' roles have been reduced, Potter's love interest is of little note, and the titular Order is rarely seen or referenced.
Most disappointing than these cuts, necessary to adapt this behemoth of a book to film, is that the parts cut were the parts I liked. Ginny Weasley speaks not a single word in the entire film, whereas in the novel, she provided a helpful connection between Potter's current dilemma and the one she faced in The Chamber of Secrets. Potter's hesitancy to pursue lessons with Snape is absent, yet that motivation is vital to understand the depth of Voldemort's manipulation. And though we know the Dark Lord is seeking a weapon, but the movie never solidifies what the weapon is, or its value and implications (including to Neville Longbottom and Professor Trelawney).
The Potter films often serve as a useful refresher to anyone who hasn't memorized the source material, and in this case, I was hoping to be satisfied by the movie in a way I wasn't by the book. Though the film was well-acted and had some nifty special effects, its lack of detail — or rather, its choice of detail — left me hoping the silver screen has not overwritten my memories of the original text.