Friday, February 18, 2011

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

In case anyone hasn't noticed from the previous entries, on my way to reviewing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I, I'm reviewing all preceding Harry Potter movies. So far, I've reviewed Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire. While Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban passed both the Original and Reverse Bechdel tests, Sorcerer's Stone failed OB-3 and Goblet of Fire failed OB-2. Goblet was also the first movie reviewed here at Reverse Bechdel to fail the second level of either test.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released in 2007. It made $938 million worldwide, a 4.8% improvement over the previous movie, but still worse than the first movie of the series, Sorcerer's Stone.

The first "man" is a disembodied male voice, apparently giving the weather forecast on radio or an unseen television. The first woman is a mother at a playground telling her son it's time to go home.

blug1.png The second male is the first woman's son, a boy at the playground who asks whether they have to go home, before the camera zooms in on Harry Potter.

blug2.png A group of male bullies approaches Potter, who asks them if they've beaten up another ten-year-old. The leader, Dudley, replies that this one deserved it. Harry remarks that it would've been five against one. Dudley then teases Potter, who apparently has been having nightmares about the death of Cedric Diggory from the previous movie. Harry tells Dudley to shut up, but Dudley then teases Potter about his mother being dead. Order of the Phoenix easily passes RB-2 within a few minutes, but it's not clear that it has passed RB-3. Only Dudley has any lines about Cedric, or even Harry's mother. Harry's only lines are about an unnamed, unseen ten-year-old of unspecified gender.

pink1.png The second woman in the movie is Mrs. Fig, one of Harry's neighbor's who walks him back to his house. Miss Fig only talks to Harry. The third woman is Aunt Petunia. The fourth woman... er... the letter from the Ministry of Magic was written by a woman, Mafalda Hopkirk, and the envelope speaks with Mafalda's voice. I don't know whether that counts as a woman, but Harry is the only one who the envelope talks to anyway (and he doesn't even respond). The fifth woman is Nymphodora Tonks, who breaks in and rescues Harry along with Professor Moody and some others.

blug3.png As Harry and his rescuers are leaving the Dursley house, both Moody and Kingsley trade a few lines with Harry about his expulsion from Hogwarts. Harry has two lines with Moody, who has a line in between, and Kingsley has two lines with Harry, who himself has a line in between. Both conversations satisfy RB-3. Order of the Phoenix passes the Reverse Bechdel test completely before passing the second level of the Original Bechdel. Will it do better than Goblet of Fire on that count?

The sixth woman in the film is Mrs. Weasley, who keeps Harry out of the adults' meeting. The seventh is Hermione; the eighth is Ginny. Ginny is the first female to even talk to another; close to the 15-minute mark, Ginny says, "Hi mom," on her way down the stairs to eat dinner. At the dinner table, Tonks is making faces-- turning her face into that of a pig, then a duck-- and Ginny is laughing, but neither of them actually speaks.

The ninth woman is Amelia Bones, who speaks up at Harry's hearing. Shortly after, Mrs. Fig begins her testimony at the hearing, and Bones asks her, "Please describe the attack. What did they look like?" Mrs. Fig describes the boys, rather than the dementors, and Fudge corrects her. Since each woman has only one line, this does not strictly fit the definition of "conversation" that I've been using here at Reverse Bechdel, but more than twenty minutes into the movie, it's the closest we've gotten.

The tenth female is Dolores Umbridge; the eleventh is Luna Lovegood. Hermione introduces her to the others, then says, "What an interesting necklace." Luna replies, "It's a charm, actually." Again, each girl has just one line spoken to the other.

pink2.png pink3.png In their first Defense Against the Dark Arts class, Hermione raises her hand while the books are being passed out. Dolores Umbridge says, "Yes?" Hermione asks, "There's nothing in here about using defensive spells?" Umbridge replies, "Using spells? Haha! Why, I can't imagine why you would need to use spells in my classroom." Although the exchange is short, Order of the Phoenix passes OB-3 not long after the half-hour mark.

About fifteen minutes later, there is a longer one-on-one conversation between Dolores Umbridge and Professor McGonagall about the disciplinary methods used on Potter. Potter himself is not mentioned, although it is clear that Umbridge's treatment of Potter was the trigger for the conversation. Towards the end, Umbridge talks about loyalty to the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, and that he will want to take immediate action at Hogwarts. Even though this conversation probably does not pass OB-3, it clearly passes OB-2.

A few minutes after that, Umbridge has dismissed Professor Trelawney, and there is a confrontation in the courtyard between Trelawney, Umbridge and McGonagall. No one else is involved until Dumbledore appears halfway through, and the conversation between the three women easily passes OB-3.

The movie overall is male-dominated, but there is far more of a female presence than the previous film. The six students who went to the Ministry of Magic to rescue Sirius Black were split half-and-half-- Hermione, Ginny and Luna are all girls, while Harry, Ron and Neville are all boys. The Order of the Phoenix includes at least three women-- Mrs. Weasley, Tonks and Mrs. Figg. There are also women on the bad side, like the escaped Death Eater Bellatrix and Dolores Umbridge, who worked for the Ministry. Even though the leaders of all three groups are male (Dumbledore, Voldemort and Fudge, respectively), and the movie is, after all, primarily about Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had far more female presence and interaction than any of the previous four Harry Potter movies.

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