Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)
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As Harry Potter readies himself for his third year at Hogwarts, an incident in which he is unable to control his anger forces him on the lam. At the same time, a dangerous man named Sirius Black escapes from the Azkaban prison with one thought on his mind: to track down and kill Harry Potter. The third year at Hogwarts is full of excitement and danger for Harry and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
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I watched it with her the first time and we both really enjoyed it. She thought it was the best of the Potter movies she'd seen yet (she's only seen 1 and 2 so far), and suggested that maybe it was because Voldemort doesn't make an appearance (she may be on to something there - dude is super creepy).
I don't think any of the movies are better than the books, but I'm a total book snob, just so you know where I'm coming from. ;>
Please keep in mind that the above comments are 100% subjective so you may feel differently.....and that's totally OK!
I've never seen the ABC Family extended version, but unless it includes more than the four deleted scenes on this disc, totalling all of 5 minutes (or less), I sort of understand the decision not to re-edit the entire movie just to incorporate this little bit. The scenes are nice for die-hard fans, but not remotely essential and easy to see why they were cut. Still, for the lack of an extended version I subtracted a star.
What does irk me is disc 2, which so far seems to be only more tiresome games for the kiddies with no real bonus content. Don't know for sure, I gave up after two games. I don't know which would be more annoying, having to fight through the pointlessness to get to actual material or fighting through it with nothing to show for it at the end. So I skipped to disc 3. (EDIT: Found them, in the "Hogwarts Grounds" and "Divination Class" sections. Thankfully don't have to play games to get them (I still haven't forgiven WB for the hoops I had to jump through to get to one deleted Snape scene on the Sorcerer's Stone first release). Here there's a tour of the creature shop and a very entertaining 45 minutes of cast and crew interviews. Except no sign of Alan Rickman. Am I the only one who remembers he's in the movie?)
Disk 3 has some really in-depth material. Halfway through the featurette on creatures I placed my order for Year 4, because it's been so long since I've seen any new HP material (well, since DH Pt 1 in November) and it really is (almost) worth the purchase price. This disc also includes a "trailer" for the Film Wizardry book that I've had on my wish list since Christmas, that makes me give it more serious consideration.
So far there's precious little Snape content (which is what I REALLY care about in the franchise), but my hopes are still high for the final movie to take care of that.
My new concern is a website I came across speculating that WB will abandon the ultimate editions for the second half of the series and go back to a more "conventional" special edition. I really hope this isn't true, having now invested myself into four oversized volumes on my shelf that will look damn silly next to four more regular cases. Please, WB, finish what you started.
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