the darkest of the three 'Potter' films, 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner
of Azkaban' completely separates itself from the colorful foo foo that
was present in the earlier films directed by Chris Columbus. With the
replacement of Columbus with "Y Tu Mama Tambien" director Alfonso
Cuaron, we are introduced to the deeper 'Potter' story rather than a film
that relies on the 'Potter' magic. A change the should be greatly welcomed
by almost all viewers.
Prisoner of Azkaban- The Story
off, I have read the 'Harry Potter' series and understood the idea behind
the plot even before viewing the film. Therefore, the story is where I
have found my only complaint. Cuaron does a fantastic job applying the
book to the big screen and encounters only one fault along the way, the
book, written by J. K. Rowling, introduced the character, Professor Lupin,
in order to supply the reader, and Harry, a link to Harry's past. Or,
more importantly, a link to Harry's mother and father. Lupin was a good
friend of Harry's father, even though this was barely conveyed in the
film. The importance of this fact resides in other aspects of the film
as well; all of which were left unexplained
biggest mistake was to allow Professor Lupin to leave the film without
giving Harry closure [something that was done repeatedly in the previous
films by Dumbledore]. The film leaves its viewers with unanswered questions
including why Harry conjured up a stag as his protection and who created
the Marauder's Map. A map that Lupin was able to open and read without
Harry ever wondering how he [Lupin] ever knew about it in the first place.
All these questions were so easy to answer too. The movie already passed
the two hour mark, what was another five minutes to answer these questions
and give the audience better closure to the film?
will neither answer these questions as I hope for the possibility of the
next 'Potter' director, Mike Newell, to add these elements into the next
film. And, if you want to know for yourself, read the book!
lack of closure on certain questions, such as those stated above, is my
only criticism of this film. Besides that, every aspect of 'Harry Potter
and the Prisoner of Azkaban' is significantly better than the previous
What's Not to Like?
though the 'Harry Potter' book series continues to gain more and more
young readers all the time, the original audience has been growing up
since the first release of 'Sorcerer's Stone.' Therefore, it seems only
fitting that the film should grow up as well. This is especially true
of 'Prisoner of Azkaban,' which is years ahead of its predecessors. The
film drops the color and childish magic of the previous films to adopt
gloomy tones and dark settings. The movie could have almost been shot
completely in black and white.
some of the younger age groups may find the new 'Potter' film scarier
and upsetting, most will welcome its new wardrobe. Besides the setting,
the characters themselves are also grown up and offer much more emotion
to this film than the previous ones. Harry shows a temper that also exists
[and grows] in the books as well. Hermione and Ron Weasley begin to show
some sexual tension between them [a tension that I believe remained undeveloped
until the fourth book, 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire']. Most age
groups, including the lower teens, will be able to relate more to the
characters as they experience their first stage of adolescence and puberty
in the film.
stated, Cuaron is most known for the film "Y
Tu Mama Tambien," which tells the story of two boys and their sexual
adventures with one sexually mature female. Cuaron begins 'Prisoner of
Azkaban' with what I believe to be a wonderful analogy to boys as they
come into puberty. The audience is re-introduced to Harry as he secretly
plays with his wand late at night while everyone is asleep. Everytime
he feels he may get caught by his Uncle he lays and acts like he, himself,
is asleep. The scene ends with an explosion of light from his room after
he successfully uses his wand. I do not want to look into this too deep
but it seems as Cuaron introduces the idea of masturbation through other
symbolic means... But maybe that's just me.
a Whole New Film
you have seen the previous two 'Potter' films and have not yet scene this
one, be warned. This film is completely different as it works to separate
itself from the ones created under Columbus.
The differences are not limited to the lighting either. The sets, such
as the placement of the Whomping Willow and Hagrid's hut, the editing,
and even John William's score are different. It actually took a few scenes for me to finally warm up and enjoy the
changes that had taken place during production. The new score is also
a vast improvement from the previous films as it follows the new mood
layed down by Cuaron.
But do not fret,
the film still manages to remain much of the same humor that existed in
its predecessors. The introduction of Professor Trelawney allows the film
to show its lighter side while still remaining faithful to the story and
the overall mood already set down. I sorely missed Alan Rickman [Professor
Snape], who seemed to get much less screen time in the new film, as well
as Gary Oldman [Sirius Black] who I had hoped would have much more screen
presence. However, viewers can count on both characters being around to
at least book number five, 'The Order of the Phoenix.'
The last great improvement
were the overall special effects used in 'The Prisoner of Azkaban.' I
deeply remember, and try to forget, the pheonix from the last film that
looked as if it were pulled directly from the Disneyland ride 'Pirates
of the Caribbean.' Viewers are now introduced to a realistic looking Hippogriph,
a creature that is a mix between a bird and a horse, and more powerful
looking magic. The Hoggwart's castle also continues to improve in realism
with each new film.
Go See Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' may be over two hours but works out
to be a very fast film. The series, under new director Cuaron, continues
to increase its ability to impress its viewers while offering a magical
world with characters that people can relate to. This film has
everything a child or adult can ask for and more. I cannot wait to see
where we are heading with the next film, 'Harry Potter and the Goblet
Final Judgment: A wonderful
addition to an already impressive series. B+