DVD Tuesday: ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Bourne Ultimatum’

by W. Andrew Powell

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixThis week on store shelves: Harry Potter and his school chums try to take on the evil Lord Voldemort, Jason Bourne is coming to America, High School Musical 2 arrives, and you can find the Lost castaways on DVD.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The final book in J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series has already been laid to rest, as it were, but movie fans still have a wait ahead of them before the last chapter hits screens. Still, we’re getting pretty close and in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the action picks up a few paces, even as the story gets a bit more convoluted.

With all the usuals returning for another go, including Daniel Radcliffe as Mr. Harry Potter, the film gets a certain boost from familiarity alone. For fans who have been watching and reading the series, that’s a reason to watch unto itself.

In Order of the Phoenix, Harry is once again feeling dark and depressed, and it’s because no one wants to believe that the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has returned. Even the magical newspaper is bad-mouthing Harry, and the Ministry of Magic is effectively putting their foot down on Hogwarts. With a little help from his friends (Rupert Grint and Emma Watson), Harry brings a group of young wizards together who want to learn how to protect themselves from Voldemort, and of course, they just happen to end up in trouble and facing off against more than they can chew.

Order of the Phoenix manages some spectacular moments, genuine thrills, and several great storylines at once, but it’s not quite the gem of the series. It’s a lot of fun, but Harry’s angst throughout the film can be a bit much, and next to Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, this film doesn’t feel quite as fulfilling. Fans of the books may also feel a bit disappointed by the amount of plot that gets cut, and how poorly stitched-together the whole film ends up feeling.

The Bourne Ultimatum
Sequels dominated the blockbuster summer, and now they’re putting the crunch on the video store. The difference in this case is that The Bourne Ultimatum is one of the best reviewed action films of the year, and it follows one of the best trilogies in years.

Matt Damon is Jason Bourne, a super-secret, super spy who lost his memory and now wants to find out the truth about his work, and the agency that created him. This time around Bourne faces off against the CIA as he uncovers a government conspiracy linked to his past.

What makes the Bourne series so great is that it balances jaw-dropping fight sequences with a thrilling plot, and for anyone who has ever read the original books, Damon is the perfect Jason Bourne. Ultimatum is however best enjoyed if you’ve already seen the first two films, so if nothing else you can always plan a Bourne-fest and watch all three films back-to-back.

High School Musical 2
For the parents out there with kids and younger teens, Disney debuts the ever-popular High School Musical sequel this week. The good news is the series is genuinely entertaining but be prepared to hear these songs over and over for the next 3 months.

And finally, there is a whole pile of TV shows coming to DVD this week. Topping the list would have to be the third season of Lost, which features that ever-convoluted storyline about the oddball group of castaways fighting to discover the truth about their new island home. For those of you searching for answers, well, you’ll have to keep looking, but the third season does dig deeper and provides a huge cliff-hanger ending that will have you aching for the next season to hit TV in January.

For the retro lovers out there, this week you can pick up boxed sets of Beverly Hills, 90210: Season Three; Voltron, Defender of the Universe: Volume Five; Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection; and Kung Fu: The Complete Series.

In addition, keep an eye out for two sets of Frasier – The Complete Tenth Season and The Complete Series, plus Big Love: The Complete Second Season; Desperate Housewives: Season 3; and Dirt: The Complete First Season.

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