Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

2006-03-30 12:28

Magic wands and mythical creatures, giants and werewolves, ancient curses and silly hats, all mixed up with a good dose of teenage angst - it can only be the third Harry Potter film.

Fuelled by an enthusiastic new director (Alfonso Cuaron of Y Tu Mama Tambien fame) and the injection of new talent into the cast list (Gary Oldman and Emma Thompson to name just two), J.K. Rowling's third book has come to vivid life in what is undoubtedly the best of the "Potter" films made so far.

This time our young hero finds himself pursued by the infamous Sirius Black - an insane killer who betrayed Harry's parents. Black has escaped from the wizard prison of Azkaban and its nightmarish guards - the soul sucking dementors - are sent to Hogwarts School to guard Harry and recapture Black.

Swamped by homework, Quidditch practice and a whole set of tricky new subjects - Harry must still find time to solve many puzzles: Why does Black want him dead? Why do dementors affect him more than others? And what relationship does the mysterious new teacher, Professor Lupin, have to Harry's past?

Though shorter than the two previous films, the third instalment is by far the most well rounded piece of cinema. Cuaron, aided by the well measured screenplay, has struck a delicate balance between the maintaining both the pace of the plot and the delicious details, that make J.K. Rowling's books such a delight.

Cuaron is also willing to linger over an important scene, flesh out the characters and build tension gradually - things which the detail crazed Chris Columbus seemed incapable of getting right. The younger actors come to life in Cuaron's hands, while the older actors are spurred to push beyond mere caricatures.

The special effects, while less obviously spectacular than the first two films, are superb. Instead of becoming the focus of every scene, they blend seamlessly with the action - forming such a coherent and believable whole that you often forget that they are there.

But perhaps the most impressive decision of the film was to retain all the darkness of the novel. Rather than glossing over the horror of Azkaban and its soul eating guards, the film positively revels in their creepiness. A word of warning though - the sight dementors brought vividly to life will definitely give most small children some serious nightmares.

The one great tragedy of the film is the miniscule screen time that many of the older actors are afforded. The magnetic Alan Rickman and the masterful Maggie Smith are reduced to cameo roles. The always convincing Gary Oldman gets barely more than five minutes of screen time. While this is, in large part, dictated by the plot it still hurts to see such powerful talents playing bit parts. One notable exception to this rule is the ever understated David Thewlis, who gives a subtle and heartfelt performance as Professor Lupin.

While Potter purists may shed a tear for the details that have inevitably fallen by the wayside the third film is considerably better than could be expected from a big budget special effects feast. Perhaps the best advice is just to sit back and lose yourself in the magical world brought to life before your eyes.

A new director and some new faces help make this the best Harry Potter film so far. Hogwarts fans are in for a real treat!

Ilana Vrey 2004/06/09 12:49 PM
Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban Haven't seen it yet, but believe it would be great, just like the first two movies. I am actaully a bit to grown up for this kind of stuff, but who cares it brings out the child in me, I love it, I love it, I love it, and I am 24. If someone ask me, what my favorite movie is, I answer without hesitation: HARRY POTTER!!! HARRY POTTER - HARRY POTTER - HARRY POTTER
corne 2004/06/09 12:55 PM
crazy about it Makes you feel young again,takes you on a trip of a life time,wish it could be like that, I will be first in line to go to Hogward.And that game Quidditch whow better than Rugby.Just great and CRAZY ABOUT IT. Yes for Young and Old
willem du randt 2004/06/09 3:53 PM
harry potter & the prizoner of azkaban the best movie ever!!! the special effects are great and the story line is prfect. only problem is that the caracters look to young for their age. but the best harry potter movie ever!!!! for anyone with that bit of magic in them
Priveena 2004/06/09 3:56 PM
Crazy 'bout Harry!!! Sounds great..looking forward to seeing Harry on our screens again... Definately...get out there and see it!!!
Cherisse 2004/06/09 4:01 PM
All These are excelent movies, all
Fatima 2004/06/09 5:05 PM
Harry Rockz!!! I tink the new Harry Potter movie is gonna be great.Its a whole new story,with new characters.I'd recommed it for anyone with a sense or adventure!!! Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Donald 2004/06/09 5:43 PM
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban I have seen this movie in the U.k And it is great. I think you should definately go and see it. ** SPOILERS BELOW** Serious Black is actually ......... to Harry. You will find out. Oh wait you guys must have read the books so why i am i wasting my time. Just Go see the movie Spiderman 2
Milize swanepoel 2004/06/09 5:44 PM
Me I think it is a great movie!DANIEL Radcliff is an amazing actor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Troy,Win a date with Tad Hamelton
bamf 2004/06/09 5:46 PM
money well spent.......... i love her too bits just for wrighting such a good book. i have seen the movie in london 4days ago and it is the best harry potter movie ever. i am glad it was the best movie because i paid all that money just to see it before all my buddies!!!!!! enjoy it!!!!!!!!!!!!1 for everyone (dead or alive)
Johan 2004/06/09 7:42 PM
Spellbinding, enchanted, wicked cool stuff! So lively, so realistic... and yet, so unreal after you've watched it. You've heard it, you saw the previews, but not the movie, not quite the movie, have you? If you have not yet, I know a good pshycologist who may help you to try read your head! Watch the movie, it is a once in a lifetime movie, never to be seen, heard, or even smelled from again... I'd reccomend THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW (it's wicked nice)
Tarryn Jenneker 2004/06/09 9:47 PM
Totally "spell"-bounding! I have not seen it yet, but from what I have heard, it is totally spectacular - scary but cool. I can't wait to see this movie. I was so totally blown away by the first two that i watched it over seven times. number one and number two. Absolutely
NATALIE 2004/06/10 5:06 PM
sydney 2004/06/10 9:22 PM
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Finally saw it!) I really loved the film, but i must say that Chris (Columbus) did such a better job with the first two movies, that this third film is not even in the same league. Sorry Alfonso, but i'm VERY glad that you're not doing the next film. The problem with his style is that he changed some of the things from the first two films and he left out important information from the book. I know, i know, the movie is BASED on the book, but still, there are certain things that should be in the movie. Overall, i still think that it was a MAGICAL film. And, of course, i absolutely LOVED Daniel!!!!!!!!!!! He is so HOT!!!! I'd recommend this film to EVERYONE!! Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban & The Day After Tomorrow (Jake Gyllenhaal - Need i say more?)
Eric Shin 2004/06/11 9:19 AM
A change would do you good unfortunately I must admit that the harry pothead series is getting too old.... It is a blatant rip off of J.R.R. Tolkiens The Lord Of The Rings..... you see Lord Voldemort is Sauron.... Harry is Frodo- just a lad who has had a huge burden thrust upon him.... Dumbledore is obviously Ghandalf..... etc etc..... just to say the first two movies were okay.... but lets face facts....
Craig 2004/06/11 3:17 PM
Harry Potter Excellent!
Ingrid 2004/06/11 7:22 PM
HARRY POTTER NR3 Firstly I would just like to say that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I have read all the books and couldn't wait for this 3rd movie. I loved IT.............. BUT, I think that most people are too critical about this third movie. Yes, it does look different, but that is because it is different! It was not directed by Columbus, but by Alfonso Cuaron. Therefore we cannot expect it to look like the first 2 movies. Alfonso is a very creative director and one can see that he tried to put that creativity into this third film. I believed he did a very good job. In the first two movies they tried to do everything according to the book, laying down the foundation (which is very neccesary for someone who hasn't read the books), but in this third movie they explored the idea of darkness and evil a bit further. At first I was dissapointed when Harry, Ron and the others dressed in normal clothes, but after a while i became used to it. I think we should all look at this third movie and compare it with I'd recommend seeing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban even if you not a huge fan.
Sean 2004/06/12 9:14 AM
Shin ding and all that. Poor Shin, I feel that you have missed the Potter jist as the Harry Potter films entered the big screen before LOTR. I have read LOTR and the Potter series and Miss Rowling has never read LOTR with great interest, this is evident in her books. Perhaps you forgot that Rowling wrote these books for young folk. I mourn the loss of the original Dumbledore, he could carry a scene and I feel the new chap is lacking, however it is great that Snape remains and to see a character such as lupin, excellent. I cannot wait to see if they can cast a exceptional Mad eye Moody. Very excellent.
Briony 2004/06/12 2:50 PM
Harry Potter I am a HUGE Harry Potter fane and these movies are the best I've seen yet! I have read ALL of the books, movies, and have the computer games. I cann't keep myself away from the books I just keep reading them over and over again and cannot wait for all of the movies to be out. My school says we should not watch it because it is evil but I DON"T CARE at ALL!! Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is full of adventure, suspense, and magic. Anyone who has not seen any of these movies must watch them I myself in the begining would not watch them because I did not like the sound of it my friends would beg me to watch it and I would say "NO" until one day my friends tricked me into watching it and now I"m begging them. You should really watch it. EXELLENT!
Jayde Couzyn 2004/06/12 2:55 PM
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban ABSOLUTLY AMAZING!!!!!!!! (books were better, though) HARRY POTTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Suanne Cosgrove 2004/06/12 4:02 PM
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban It was absaloutly brilliant. Its much darker than the first 2, but it was deffinitly the best. Alfonso Curon has done a really good job. Yes
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