Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Review Thread

Adam Portrais

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Adam Portrais
Howdy all,
I just got back from a sneek preview of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (that's right, two weeks early!) and thought I'd be the first to let you know my thoughts on the film.

First off I want to say up front, I have not read any of the Harry Potter books (I've had too many good books turn out to be bad movies, so I don't read them anymore) and I'm not what you might call a huge Harry Potter fan. In preparation for seeing Azkaban I decided to watch Sorcerer's Stone (I had seen most of it but not all) and Chamber of Secrets (which I had not seen at all). I enjoyed both movies and was anxious to see what the third one would have in store.

In a way I wish I had read the book so I can tell you how the two compare story wise. But since I didn't, here's the basic outline (of which I'm sure most of you know) and what I thought of the story in general: As with the previous movies we first see Harry at home with his aunt, uncle and ever-so spoiled Dudley. While short this did show us again why Harry does not belong in a world of Muggles but with wizards like himself.

Before going off to school Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is informed (secretly, of course) by Ron Weasley's father that Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), a man seen on many a "Wanted" poster, has broken out of Azkaban prison and it seems that he broke out just to finish what his master (better not say his name) wanted to do, kill Harry.

When Harry arrives there is a new Defense against the Dark-Arts teacher who we later find out has a connection to Harry, amongst other things.

I could go on about the story but I'm afraid I'd give something away (but then again, a lot of you know the story and know what's going to happen so me saying it or not will hold no water).

The story as well as the style of Azkaban is much darker then the last two films. I belive that it's darker not only for reasons of the story but that this time around Harry and the gang have another director; Alfonso Cuarón (Chris Columbus steps back but stays on as a producer). Ever think the guy who directed Y tu mamá también would direct a Harry Potter movie? Me either. But he seems to do a good job with the material.

The cinematography this time around was diffrent as well. Michael Seresin (of Midnight Express, Fame and most recently The Life of David Gale fame) comes on replacing Roger Pratt from Chamber of Secrets (and to any film buffs who want to know he replaced John Seale from Sorcerer's Stone). The look of the film goes very well with the more dark theme of Azkaban.

The acting was on par with the previous movies and if you ask me, Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson (still cute as ever) stand the chance of becoming fine adult actors (given that the take the right material). And I can't mention casting without saying something about the absence of late Richard Harris (died on October, 25 2002 from hodgkin's disease). Harris for me brought a scence of class to the previous Harry Potter movies. When he spoke, it was like hearing a man who had lived for hundreds of years and was wise beyond many of them. And while the new Albus Dumbledore (played by Michael Gambon) is good, he doesn't quite seem to have the touch that Harris did. He will be truly missed.

Over all Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was a worthy successor in the series and is an all around good time (You'll even get some Back to the Future style fun)
. Good story, great acting, good special effects and good storytelling for me is what makes an enjoyable movie and this one definalty qualifys.

out of



Adam Portrais
(05-23-04)
 

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