Opened: July 11, 2007
Directed by: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Harry Melling, Kathryn Hunter, Adrian Rawlins, Geraldine Somerville, Natalia Tena, George Harris, Timothy Bateson, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Bonnie Wright, Robert Hardy, Chris Rankin, Sian Thomas, Tom Felton, Jamie Waylett, Josh Herdman, Katie Leung, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, David Bradley, Devon Murray, William Melling, Alfie Enoch, Afshan Azad, Shefali Chowdhury & Warwick Davis
With David Yates joining on as director and staying for the rest of the series, the films get a shift in tone.
Although Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has returned, the wizarding government is choosing to ignore the dangers and sends Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) to be new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends must work covertly to prepare themselves for battle.
Taking the longest book and making it into the shortest single film, Yates creates a fast-paced and enthralling film. While there are a few missteps, the pace, music and characters feel better than a majority of its predecessors.
Staunton also creates the best villain of the series whose sweet act could be more hated than both Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter).
Final say: Intense from start to finish. ★★★★☆