Three stars (out of four)
The latest Harry Potter story takes a darker turn, and it is evident that Harry, Ron and Hermione have reached adolescence as the storyline moves to more mature themes -- including an on-screen kiss for Harry Potter with the longtime object of his desire, Cho.
The supersecret Order of the Phoenix as well as other "grown ups" (like the Weasley parents) begin to recognize Harry's maturation and begin to see him as nearly an adult with the potential to fight and conquer the evil Voldemort.
Harry's fellow students band together to secretly learn their defensive strategies against the dark arts.
The movie relays themes of friendship, love and the importance of reaching out for help rather than going it alone.
The battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore in the final scenes is epic and visually spectacular. These final few scenes, complete with flashbacks to prior movies, are well worth the price of admission.
-- Kendra Eades
Three and a half stars (out of four)
This is the first of the Harry Potter movies that I have seen in the theater, and I have to say it was a pretty amazing mix of reality and fantasy.
The Harry Potter trio are all grown up and facing new and stronger enemies. Harry is targeted as a liar and Hermione and Ron struggle as they stay true to their friend.
Together they and their classmates show how young adults struggle with first love, misguided authority, self-esteem and the need to decide within themselves whether they will act on the good or the evil that dwells inside us all. Believing in yourself, your friends and discovering where your loyalty lies is a strong part of this movie.
I recommend this movie for all ages.
-- Barb Gleason