“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is the title of the movie, and with due congratulations to the media machine that created it, those words alternatively inspire frenzied excitement or complete exhaustion. Not a benevolent soul who wanders the streets of the Western world this month will go without some discussion of Harry Potter, which for many is a dream and for others is a biyearly fact of life they must endure with the arrival of each new installment.

Jessica Boullion
(Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Since the Harry Potter enterprise retains its most persistent influence in the literature that birthed it, the films are typically a footnote in the craze. Indeed, the first two movies, directed by Chris Columbus, had the stilted aftertaste of films created for the exact purpose of providing fans with a stock visualization of the books on which they are based – a broad, inoffensive whiff of public television. That seemed to work well enough, but with the third movie, the ceaselessly inventive director Alfonso Cuar

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