James Potter and Sirius Black are on the hunt for a member of the Order of the Phoenix who has disappeared without a trace and is believed to have been captured by Death Eaters. This is episode 1 of the fan-made Harry Potter TV show The Order.
We have always found fan films to be a great creative outlet, the only issue is that they are very hit and miss. We have seen some great ones, but we have mainly seen very poor ones, yet no one can criticise the enthusiasm of the people who make them. They are after all fans of the source material and the last thing they want is to do is upset people with the same taste as them. We are pleased to say that Episode 1 of The Order Rosier is a very strong start.
Linked to the extraordinary creative work of J.K. Rowling, who created a mythological world that was so big it always could expand indefinitely, produce new characters without limit, and create many spin-offs, The Order takes place in the years between the events of The Secrets of Dumbledore and The Philosopher’s Stone. Although it’s not quite as magical as the original franchise, it does compare favorably to Fantastic Beasts and attempts to fill its world with wit and humanity. The Order focuses on Harry’s dad James Potter (played by Nathan Whitebrook) and his group of close friends Sirius Black (Lyud Hristov), Remus Lupin (Jack McGinn), and Peter Pettigrew (Josh Edwards) as young men who are searching for a fellow member of The Order Of The Phoenix.
Director and writer Victor De Almeida has created a darker, more ominous Potter project, with an ending that hints at the deep dangers James and his friends may face in future episodes. The world of the first films, with their postal owls and Quidditch matches, seems very innocent now but De Almeida manages to capture the feeling of the original films by providing us with vivid supporting characters who crowd the story. The series has always been about personalities, personal histories, and eccentricities, and not perfectly built supermen crushing everything in their wake; De Almeida manages to show, more than ever the flexibility of J.K. Rowling’s original vision.
I like what De Almeida does with the look of the episode but found the initial questioning scene a bit too dark and murky; better lighting would have worked well here and vastly improved the experience. I also think it was a misjudgment to drop f-bombs during the episode. I understand De Almeida is aiming for a more realistic and grounded approach, but the swear words don’t add anything to the plot and wouldn’t be missed. All the swearing manages to do is alienate a younger audience who are a huge part of the fan base.
But even with those issues and without the enchantment of the earlier films, The Order still manages to be a fine piece of work. For a film made on such a limited budget and with no input from major studios, the special effects by Matthew Chang are genuinely mind-blowing, with the action sequences containing some genuine power. The main battle looks that good it could easily have been ripped straight from one of the movies.
Is The Order as good as the films? Not quite. It doesn’t have any real sense of joy or wonder and it needs to explain more than it should, but the world of Harry Potter remains an interesting, sophisticated, and great challenge for aspiring filmmakers wanting to add their own spin on a richly created tapestry.