(Note: There’s nothing in what I’m about to say that isn’t pretty much public knowledge unless you are steadfastly avoiding reviews. If you are avoiding reviews, don’t read on. That having been said, if you haven’t read the book yet, this is full of spoilers.)
In the movie-verse, I wasn’t a fan of PoA, although it seems most of the rest of the world was. I missed Chris Columbus’ take on the books. That having been said, I enjoyed GoF well enough. Now, with OotP, I enjoyed it even more than the first two movies, and this is despite the fact that it is heavily edited from the novel. Several aspects of the story have been outright changed, but I can’t say that it’s for the worse. I am a little worried because some of the setup for HBP is missing, but I’m assuming it’ll get handled next time.
The order of events was also changed, often to suit the edited contents but sometimes for no apparent reason. For example, Snape’s occulmency (sp?) lessons are practically edited into a montage (We need a montage!), and it ends up happening that Harry doesn’t see his father being an ass until after his “Am I evil?” chat with Sirius (which also didn’t quite happen as portrayed). In the book, Harry’s self-doubt comes primarily from realizing that his parents weren’t the gods he’d made them out to be…the tortured visions just make him worry that he’s going insane. Also, Scott aptly pointed out that the movie glossed over Harry’s Snape suspicions completely. In the book, Snape’s occulmency lessons make Harry suspicious that Snape is actually helping Voldemort, but no one believes him because he’s been singing that song for five books now. Given the events in HBP, it seems like this is a little bit of a key point being skipped…but, we did get a wicked montage (we need a montage!).
Anyways, I do think this may be one of the best of the movies. I just can’t get over how it was good while also only barely being true to the book.