The premiere of the latest Harry Potter movie was another milestone for the UK box office, proving that audiences will continue to flock to the big-budget event cinema experience that J.K. Rowling has created. But the celebration was bittersweet for Harry Potter fans with the sad reminder that the life-or-death struggle between good and evil that the series has become so well known for will soon come to an end.

The Premieres

The Order of the Phoenix, the fifth instalment in the Harry Potter series, was released in the UK on June 22nd 2015. Based on J.K. Rowling’s bestselling Wizarding World books, the film centres around the titular character’s first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as he is faced with the ultimate evil – the return of Voldemort!

The Hunger Games, the blockbuster adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling novel, was released in UK cinemas on March 24th 2015. Based on events in the future, the film tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who returns to the place she always thought of as home – the Hunger Games!

Both movies were a triumph at the box office, taking £13.7million and £13.8million respectively at the UK box office in their opening weekend. But which film will remain in fans’ hearts and minds longer? Let’s compare the two in order to find out..

Which is More Intrusive?

Both movies are pretty high profile events in their respective universes, but which is more invasive? Is one more entertaining than the other because of this?

Let’s take a look at the plotlines of each movie. The Order of the Phoenix is heavily dependent on the books it’s based on, so it will certainly feel like you’re following along with the adventures of Harry Potter as he deals with Lord Voldemort’s return. As the series progresses, the emphasis gradually shifts to an adaptation that is more faithful to the books.

There are several elements that draw on the book series. The first two movies, for example, were partly based on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. So it’s not all new material. This is a positive as the more you know about the source material, the more you’ll appreciate the work that’s gone into the adaptation. What is new is that the stories will be told from a different perspective. The first Harry Potter movie was largely built on events that occurred from the perspective of an unseen narrator, while the second mainly focused on Harry’s point-of-view. Now that we’re in the middle of the series, the emphasis is on showing the events as they unfold through the eyes of those who are affected by them.

Although the film series has been adapted from the books, it certainly feels like something different and the experience of watching it in a theatre is special. The casting is spectacular and the performances are brilliant. Seeing the characters brought to life on the big screen is incredible.

The Special Effects

The special effects in both movies are incredible, but which is more effective? Is one film more imaginative than the other?

When it comes to special effects, The Order of the Phoenix is pure eye candy. Set design is exceptional and the creatures are rather unique, using practical effects rather than CGI. This gives the film a more polished and professional appearance. What’s more is that the effects are all practical and don’t rely on overly complex computer generated imagery (CGI) which can sometimes look a little bit fake.

Then there’s The Hunger Games, which was adapted from Suzanne’s own novel. Based on the books, the dystopian future of the story is a stark contrast to the magical world of Harry Potter. There are no pretty costumes or funny faces, just harsh reality as represented by the Capitol in all of its blood-sugar-raising glory. The opening sequence, which sees Katniss throw a punch to the camera, introduces you to this dark world of poverty, fear and violence. So it’s not so much that the effects are realistic, it’s that they represent pure horror.

The Hunger Games is also famous for its use of special effects which range from practical to incredible. From explosions to creature features, the effects in this installment are spectacular and well-deserved due to the nature of the material. Based on the books, the special effects in The Hunger Games represent the dystopian world of Panem, which is in fact a theme consistent throughout the entire series.

The Soundtrack

Both movies have wonderful soundtracks, but which is better? Is one a musical triumph while the other is a sound effect-packed movie?

The Order of the Phoenix has an amazing array of songs, ranging from piano and violin pieces to heavy metal and pop music. Not only do they fit the scenes nicely, but they also serve as an integral part of the narrative. The piano ballad ‘Obermanidge’ was written and performed by Jonny Buckland and was featured in the movie. Buckland was also responsible for the original score and is one of the most in-demand film composers in the UK. He also scored the first two Harry Potter films. The soundtrack also features the UK band Royal Blood, who took inspiration from the books for their song ‘The Wandmaker’.

The Hunger Games has an equally impressive array of musical talent, with an eclectic mix of electronic music from the likes of Avicci and Deadman providing the background to the story. With an emphasis on practical effects, the film makers went to great lengths to make the world of Panem as realistic as possible, even using dialogue and sound effects to immerse you into the ‘dungeon’ setting. With dialogue a prominent feature of the soundtrack, you’ll definitely hear familiar voices as President Snow, Caesar and the other Capitol inhabitants all lend their words to this exhilarating audio-visual feast!

All told, both soundtracks are wonderful and feature incredible songs, but which is the better overall experience? It comes down to the individual perspective of the viewer. If you read the books, you’ll certainly appreciate the care that went into adapting the material for the big screen. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then it’s safe to say that you’ll enjoy following along as events from the books unfold. If, however, you haven’t read the books and are looking to spend your leisure time enjoying a riveting tale, then you might want to steer clear of The Order of the Phoenix, as it is certainly not for the faint-hearted!