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*** Official HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN Review Thread


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#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Galen_V

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Posted June 04 2004 - 04:24 AM

I went to a midnight screening this morning, and I have to say I came away from it mixed emotions. I really didn't think that Cuarón's style played well in the first part of the film (especially going with a hand held camera with the Dursley's and the washed out looking Leaky Cauldron), but right after the shot with the carriages and the Hogwarts/Hogsmeade sign, I thought it was perfect. I really enjoyed the middle portion of the book, and I thought the Shrieking Shack segment was great. However, from having read the books, the
time travel part
seemed kind of boring more so than any other part because you knew what was going to happen and you were
just rehashing what happened 15 minutes before.
Obviously that's not Cuarón's fault; I just don't think that ending plays out well on screen (although I don't think that he did a good enough job building conveying the fact
that Sirius was seconds away from getting the Kiss when they freed him.
It just seemed a little rushed.

Also, and I don't know if this was a problem with the theater I was in, but did anyone find that some of the sound effects were a little bit low? I'm not a sound guy but it just seemed to me that some of the oomph was lacking in certain places, like Hermione punching Malfoy or even when doors were slammed or when Snape closes the windows. I'll probably see it again this weekend on IMAX and see how it is there, but I'm just curious right now to see if others experienced the same thing.

#2 of 23 OFFLINE   Jay Gunn

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Posted June 04 2004 - 10:55 AM

I really, REALLY enjoyed it. I really couldn't believe how much Cuaron brought to the franchise; it was truly a breath of fresh air. I don't know if it was his doing, but I thought that the biggest improvement was in the story. It's much more streamlined and gets right to the point, leaving out some things that really don't drive the overall plot, like the Quidditch matches, the House Cup, and points and such. This gives the movie an opportunity that the previous films did not take, which is to be a true "film" and not just a slapped-together translation of the novels.
Special effects were really good too, in particular Buckbeak, who I thought was one of the best, if not the best, CG-character I've seen in a film.

Also, I think it was pretty obvious that Cuaron was inspired by "the Neverending Story" in certain parts, particularly when
Harry rides Buckbeak for the first time and Sirius Black's animagus form, which looked nearly identical to the 'Nothing' from TNS, right down to its glowing green eyes.

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#3 of 23 OFFLINE   Travis_S

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Posted June 04 2004 - 11:22 AM

Wow. I LOVED this one! I'm really impressed with Cuaron's effort in this one and hope he comes back for 5. After the first 2 movies, I was kind of writing off the movie franchise, but after this one I have renewed hope for the series.

#4 of 23 ONLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted June 04 2004 - 01:27 PM

I enjoyed Cuaron's comedic sense in this film, the funny bits came more naturally. I thought the middle section of the film dragged a bit, but overall, I felt it was a visually interesting film to watch with much more of an economy from scene to scene that builds upon what came before (instead of meandering a bit too much in the first 2 films of the HP franchise). Cuaron was able to impart his style while anchoring the film in a reality in which magic didn't seem all that out of place. I approved of the use of a more washed out color palette gave Harry's world a different look that didn't seem too cheery and bright, thus I enjoyed the cinematography of this film.

Radcliffe got a little shrill when he portrayed an angry Harry Potter, but overall, he's got a good handle on the character. The rest of the cast did a good job, though the script is a little light in meaningful character development at the expense of plot and revelations of Harry's past.

The special effects were pretty good in the integration department, I think the washed out look of the film help in that area. To me, Buckbeak inhabited the space in which he occupied on screen, so kudos to the effects crew for him.

Fans of the HP books will enjoy this 3rd installment, and it's going to do really well at the box office.

I give it 3.5 stars, or a grade of B+.
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#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Evan S

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Posted June 04 2004 - 02:03 PM

Adam, I couldn't agree more.

I saw the film last night and I really enjoyed it. Nothing groundbreaking, but a nice two hours at the movies, which is what I am hoping for whenever I go.

I really think this franchise is lacking something when there isn't much interaction between Potter and Malfoy. Yeah, there was a little bit between the boys in this film but there was no Lucious Malfoy and he is a real asset to the films IMO. Of course we get our share of him in the forthcoming segments, don't we? I think with Cauron at the helm and a more prominent Malfoy family in the next two stories, this franchise is only just beginning.

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#6 of 23 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted June 04 2004 - 04:55 PM

A give it a B+/A-

Really enjoyed it, but I think the "silent" movie irises were a bit odd to use in this film.

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted June 04 2004 - 06:33 PM

Went to the late show this evening. Really liked this Harry Potter film. At first, I was having some trouble truly getting in to it but found myself slowly enjoying it and before long, I was totally wrapped up in it. The sound mix was excellent too.

It's different than the first 2 films and that's ok. I do miss Richard Harris. Posted Image

For me, it's hard to top Sorcerer's Stone but I give this film the same rating as Dome.

B+/A-....

Want to see it again. Something I didn't really feel after seeing Chamber of Secrets.

#8 of 23 OFFLINE   Vickie_M

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Posted June 04 2004 - 09:10 PM

STAY FOR THE END CREDITS!!

I just thought I'd tell you all that. Posted Image


I had a great time, but as if the movie itself wasn't fantastic enough, I LOVED THE END CREDITS!! They were just about the best end credits I've ever seen. The whole thing, all the way to the very end, was lettering on that locater map, with footsteps weaving in and through the letters. I was having a blast watching them. If the feet came up against letters it couldn't cross, you'd see them disappear for a split second then both feet appear at the same time on the other side, meaning they jumped over the letters. Sometimes you'd see cat paws or bird claws. Sometimes you'd see human feet turn into cat paws. Sometimes you'd see a little kid's feet. Sometimes you could tell that the footsteps were hopping and skipping. Sometimes they were jumping in place, like jumping rope. Sometimes they dragged. Sometimes they were hopping on one foot, then the other. They were delightful! Only a handful of people stayed and we were all enjoying the hell out of the credits. And, there were a couple of tiny bonuses after the credits were completely done, one happening even after the screen went black.

If you didn't stay or don't usually stay for credits, I urge you to do so. Don't let the people you're with pressure you into leaving, and don't let them distract you from carefully watching the footprints. I promise you'll have a big grin on your face.
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#9 of 23 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted June 04 2004 - 09:40 PM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



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#10 of 23 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted June 05 2004 - 02:08 AM

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image out of 4 Posted Image s

#11 of 23 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted June 05 2004 - 06:26 PM

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image - out of four, great movie

That was bloody brilliant!

Wait what? Performances? not just good or adequate performance but outstanding performances? Outstanding lighting and camera work? A tight script filled with lovely original touches that expand organically on Rowlings world without redefining it? Realistic feeling relationships between characters? Consistent visual effects? beautiful pacing (wait it's over?)?...

WTF happened?

The whole franchise feels as though it's been injected with a shot of adrenaline (or is that just hormones?). I mean the direction of the actors and the performances they deliver because that is simply staggering. Damn! just Damn. There were some great moments gotten out of Hermione that felt incredibly natural, in the first film she was the worst because you could always tell she was acting, she just couldn't wait to say HER lines, and never gave a real response but more of a performing recitation. here she does actual acting and disapears into the role. Ron's humorous sidekick role is perfectly placed, the way he relates to the characters feels like an integral part of his personality instead of hamming up a role or filling a slot. His good humor is something he enjoys and his friends love using against him as well (to his pleasure) just look at the way Harry and Hermione react after returning to the hospital wing at the end, that says as much about Ron's performance and role as Rupert Grint's actual work. And Daniel Radcliffe, is that really the same actor who gave a flat emotionless performance in the first two films? I think he really understands the role for the first time, and he didn't just grow into it but it was coaxed and coached into him by Alfonso Cuaron. Just look at how well he acts in the beautiful tribute to Bridge on the River Kwai when Lupin talks about his parents.

The dialogue is also better than Rowlings, of course Kloves has the chance to streamline bulky passages and the benefit of the next two books to draw on to create his own little foreshadowings but there was a definite crackle to the repartee in this film that was completely missing from the previous films. I cannot wait to see what he does to fix the awful ScoobyDoo/Sherlock Holmes ending explanation in Order of the Phoenix, that was simply too much information just clumsily dumped in an awkward scene--hopefully it will be improved in the final rendition because it's my one issue with the fifth book.

Set and creature design was wonderful. I loved the outdoors feel to the film (although the friend I saw it with did not, but she's sort of a vampire person sho doesn't really like the light anyway Posted Image ) and the way all of Hogwarts and its grounds felt much more organic and castley than the grand central station feel of the first two films. Buckbeak is an especially wonderful achievement! I couldn't see where the CGi began and the model ended, and that's saying something. FANTASTIC work that should win an oscar unless Spidey or another film really manages to show it up.

one complaint is that although Hermione is given a few nice moments of girl power, those seem to be completely contained by having her shriek and weep all over Ron and Harry when danger strikes or threatens. It was annoying to see her act so, well, ditzy.

I like Michael Gambon in the second half of the film much better, I couldn't help thinking in the first part how Richard Harris' delivery would be completely different but I had come to accept this new and perfectly acceptable interpretation of dumbledore by the time he meets with the kids in the hospital wing.

I like the way they redid the shrieking shack scene, worked pretty good and took out the silly invisibility cloak device sprung on the audience in the book. But I missed not having Mssrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs not being explained.

I was a bit disapointed in the way the patronus was realized. I like the idea of wispy threads or the fully formed locomotive animal--shield blast patronus was a bit less effective I felt--though I liked the way we only see the patronus the way the dementors percieve it when Harry is looking straight on at it and sees the form.

I always thought it would have been interesting for Harry to have the Avada Kedavra curse come almost unbidden to his lips when he
nearly kills Sirius and then backs off
. In the books it seems as a bit of the Voldemort connection of book five is foreshadowed at this moment and I think they missed an oppurtunity there, but that's just me.

in all very minor complaints for an utterly wonderful enjoyment of a film.

Adam
 

#12 of 23 OFFLINE   Edwin Pereyra

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Posted June 06 2004 - 02:24 AM

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The third time’s a charm? Not quite.

Narrative and plot wise, this series is almost becoming to be like the James Bond films where repetition is not quite flattering. Let’s see… Harry Potter escapes from his “cruel” relatives where we can always count on something big is going to happen in the introductory scenes (similar to the opening shots in a Bond film), ends up in an intervening place (M) before going on his mission, goes to school, meets with Hagrid who introduces yet another contraption, err… gadgetry, err… animal (Q), something evil lurches, then the final showdown where Potter and his cohorts save the day.

The series has also become very episodic. Some of the characters introduced in the first two films are either missing or given very little screen time this time around while new characters are added. Malfoy is up to his old tricks again of being a bully but when confronted almost immediately becomes a wuss. (Seen it before, tired of it now.) Even a capable director like Alfonso Cuaron, and British thesps, Gary Oldman and Emma Thompson, cannot add anything to the banality of the story where convenience replaces the art of wit.

While it’s been said that this film has streamlined the third book, it still feels quite fat with the middle segment dragging quite a bit. That is the problem when dealing with a self-contained book in a series. One is confined within the boundaries of that book and unable to work outside of it so as not to infringe with the elements of the next book. If Azkaban is supposed to be the best book thus far in the series, we are in for some very tough times with the next two films.

Harry Potter’s journey to becoming a great wizard is also becoming quite a very protracted process where very little happens with each installment but very profitable to everyone else involved (not that there is anything wrong with that Posted Image ). Literally as with the films, each passing year is becoming to be a long and laborious process, yet the public continues to gobble it up.

J.K. Rowling and the film series have played it safe so far. But safety, convenience and repetition are qualities a great film does not make.

~Edwin
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#13 of 23 OFFLINE   Tino

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Posted June 06 2004 - 05:42 AM

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban is a good film, not a great one.

I enjoyed reading the book much more than watching it's filmed adaption. Sure the film is streamlined down to its essential plot, but I enjoyed all the other little moments in the book that have been dropped here. I wanted more, not less.

All three young actors have certainly improved their craft, especially Daniel Radcliffe.

Technically the film is top notch. Visual effects, sound, cinematography,
all excellent.

The tone of this film is so different from the first two it's almost jarring, but I attribute that more to the source material than to the new director. Some people here take joy in slamming Chris Colmbus as a hack director but I actually prefer his first two films slightly over this one.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Mr. Cuarons style. He is definitely a god director and has stamped this film accordingly, but I attribute this films early raves as more a tribute to JK Rowlings story and the actors growth in craft than the new director.

The film on the whole is not a very happy or joyous one. Sadness, death, murder, soul sucking Dementors...all very serious themes and are handled as such.

Still, I enjoyed it for it's story, performances, and the fact that I know that many of the plot points not fully explained now are important and play important parts in the upcoming films and books.

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
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#14 of 23 OFFLINE   ScottR

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Posted June 06 2004 - 10:16 AM

Didn't care for the new landscaping of Hogwarts' grounds....didn't like the new bridge.
The film adaptations are missing the school aspect of the story, which really hurts in my opinion.

Was this film different? Definitely....Better? No.

Sorceror's Stone:
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image /Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Chamber of Secrets:
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image /Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Prisoner of Azkaban:
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image /Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

#15 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin Korom

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Posted June 06 2004 - 10:45 AM

I've seen it twice now, and my general impressions are very favorable. As with any source material that you're very fond of, any alterations will disappoint you, and you need to somewhat divorce yourself from the book.

Technically, it's a much better film, especially cinematography. CGI is mostly outstanding, especially Buckbeak- best CGI character I've ever seen. Lots of small background details that really add to the "magic" of a film.

Is it an excellent movie? IMO, Yes. Would it have been a better movie with more of the story in place, even if it stretched out the running time? IMO, a definite YES. I feel they listened too much to the fans who complained the first two were too long (I would vehemently argue they were too short, but that's a different thread). This movie begs for a DC, but it doesn't sound like there'll be one.

So here's how I rate the series so far:

PS/SS: 4 out of 5 stars
CoS: 3.5 out of 5 stars
PoA: 4 out of 5 stars
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#16 of 23 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted June 07 2004 - 02:00 AM

B+. Felt less like a mega-production than the first two. I liked the drab colors compared to the warm colors of the first two. Still, the HP movies never really seem to grab me into the story like the LOTR movies. I always feel like I'm watching a bunch of actors going through the motions in a big budget movie. This 3rd installment was the most involving of the three though.
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#17 of 23 OFFLINE   Mikel_Cooperman

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Posted June 07 2004 - 04:29 AM

I throughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed the first two but didnt Love the first two and I think what Cuaron's was a plus. More adult, more dark, great cinemotography and some great action scenes that didnt pull you away from the story like so many Blockbusters do these days.
Great performances and some nice twists.

The time travel part seemed kind of boring more so than any other part because you knew what was going to happen and you were just rehashing what happened 15 minutes before.


I liked the
time travel
aspect. Like BTTF 2 & 3 the point of the story was to rehash some of it so you can see how they got to that point in the first place.



Quote:
. Some of the characters introduced in the first two films are either missing or given very little screen time this time around

The movie is called "Harry Potter." If you put every character and every scene from the book in there, we would be in there for 3 or more hours. I dont think kids would be able to sit that long.

#18 of 23 OFFLINE   dpippel

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Posted June 07 2004 - 04:29 PM

I caught Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban today with my 8 year old stepson and came away THOROUGHLY entertained, as did he. In my opinion this is the first Potter film to actually capture the feeling and tone of the novels. Cuaron's direction was spot-on for the most part. Too bad he wasn't in the chair for the first two, which felt like Martha Stewart readings in comparison. Azkaban is what a Harry Potter film should be.

Loved the edginess, loved the pacing, loved the performances turned in by Watson (especially) Radcliffe and Grint, loved David Thewlis, Alan Rickman was wonderful as usual, loved the cinematography, loved the Dementors. And what a GREAT job on Buckbeak! As others have mentioned in this thread, he is the most lifelike CGI creation I've ever seen on film. ILM has reached a new level of realism with this character. Fantastic work.

Did NOT like the bleach and grain process they used on the film stock though. Very simliar to the technique Spielberg used on Minority Report, and I found it annoying. But that's a minor quibble. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is an excellent film. It's made me want to pick up Goblet of Fire (which I never finished reading) again as well as Order of the Phoenix. Four out of five stars from me. Wonderful film.

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#19 of 23 OFFLINE   Iver

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Posted June 07 2004 - 06:13 PM

This is a great movie for kids in the 10 to 14 age range. But for younger kids, I'd suggest one of the first two HP films.

The film is just too long (about 2 hrs.), and the plot too complex, for youngsters with highly abbreviated attention spans.

What really jumped out at me about this movie was the similarity it had, in many places, to the look and feel of Tim Burton's movies. Cuaron must have spent more than a little time watching Burton's films. If you really loved the look of Tim Burton's The Night Before Christmas, you'll probably like the look of Prisoner of Azkaban too.

Much of the movie was obviously CGI, which sometimes looked a little too much like CGI, but some of the external shots appeared to use real locations and several of these were gorgeous. Just taking a wild guess, I would say some of the outdoor shots were done in Scotland or perhaps Wales.

Overall, the sets had a great dark, gothic, magical feel that I think was somewhat lacking in the Fellowship of the Ring.

Cuaron used some excellent British actors. It was good to see David Thewlis, who gave a fine turn in Mike Leigh's 1993 film Naked, playing Professor Lupin.

Anybody who caught Timothy Spall's touching lead in the great little English movie All or Nothing (2002) will probably enjoy his role here as Tim Pettigrew. Somehow he just has that slightly rodent-like quality to his face that makes him perfect for this role. Or maybe it was just the prosthetic dentures.

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted June 07 2004 - 11:57 PM

I finally got to see it...my first film of the summer! I had a blast, and my wife was a bit disappointed in what wasn't included. I thought the acting was excellent, with the young cast keeping up with the legends in the film. It's a bit tough, because there are characters you love, and they literally get one line. It's like going to a party of old friends, and not getting to spend time with your favorites. But...it has to be done.

What I loved about the third film was Hogwart's itself. I never really got a sense of it freom the first two films. It felt like a set. This Hogwarts was spooky and beautiful, and I understood the layout much better. I don't think Hogwarts ever looked better. I enjoyed the directorial flourishes myself, especially the mirror work. The "fantasy visuals" bar has been significantly raised since HPSS in 2001, thanks to LOTR. I thought this film did fine for itself. Buckbeak and the Dementors were excellent, and I loved all of the real sets.

Onto the acting, Gary Oldman is always fantastic, though I wish the Shrieking Shack scene had been a few minutes longer (to discuss the Animagus', the Marauders, and the relationships). I thought David Thewlis carried his scenes remarkably. I envisioned a different Lupin years ago, but he embodied him rather well. I'd go as far as to say he was my favorite performance in the film. That said, I wish Rickman had more time, and I hope it's coming to him. Still, any scene with Thewlis, Rickman, and Oldman cannot be a bad thing. The kids themselves certainly felt more natural. Rupert's a little stuck doing his bit, but he does it naturally.

The actor who played Neville certainly shot up. My wife gasped when she saw him.

The negatives...missing some key scenes. The ending did seem to be a bit off in terms of pacing (too slow and then too quick). Again, I miss some of my favorites.

The technical aspects were the best in the series, IMO. That includes the score.

9/10,
Chuck
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