Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
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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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"The Prisoner of Azkaban" has richly detailed sets, even by the standards of the first two movies. We get to see much more of the interior and exterior of Hogwarts, and many of the scenes outside Hogwarts are set in the breathtaking Scottish Highlands. Sharp-eyed viewers will recognize Glenfinnan and Loch Shiel. Some marvelous guest actors help fill out the cast, and our three heroes are growing up. Harry learns more about his parents, Hermione learns to be in two places at once, and Ron discovers something rather terrifying about his pet rat. Altogether, it's a wonderfully entertaining movie, highly recommended to fans of the series.
After the magnificent one-two punch that director Chris Columbus had done for the Harry Potter franchise in Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, he decides to leave the franchise and return with his family. Leaving a new director in its place in Alfonso Cuaron. This director takes a more teenaged element to the franchise as well as upping the notch for the storytelling and the scenery. More of a livelier atmosphere is injected, fantastical but still respectful of the previous works.
Harry Potter has triumphed against Lord Voldemort's attempt to return in two straight adventures and now must deal with a new threat presented with the escape of a wizard that had ties with Voldemort and now things are more difficult than ever for Harry when it comes to living his life in the wizarding world. Things aren't how they appear, but there is plenty of action and amazing new effects along with some old and new faces.
Sadly the death of Richard Harris must bring a new Dumbledore in Michael Gambon, personally I would have selected someone stronger like Peter O'Toole or Ian McKellen or Patrick Stewart. I also don't like Cuaron's style, its a little too loose, I preferred Chris Columbus's style. Some of the cast is amazing. Gary Oldman and David Thewlis were well cast. But I dislike how much was ripped out from the book, especially considering the depth and breadth of what led to the escape of Sirius Black and of course how and why Voldemort's servant had been able to hide for so long. As well as other things that could have made the movie better.
Still its good. Love the Blu-Ray and Digital Copy. C+
This Harry Potter film is directed by Alfonso Cuaron ( Y Tu Mamá También) who is a much-lauded Mexican film director. Great choice: There is a darker, more muted color tone which fits the book series, where the books become more and more serious as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named grows in power. The acting seemed better too--more personal, more touching and more meaningful between characters; the scenes with Lupin and Harry are even better than those with Sirius (possibly because I didn't like Sirius much as a character, not sure why this is so but I just don't.)
There are the inevitable changes to the story, which I really found I liked; you do have to telescope some of the long scenes down in a film, and often you have to conflate a character or two to keep the film moving.
Buckbeak, the hippogriff (half eagle, half horse) and the flight scenes--excellent CGI. The rescue scenes were handled well, too. I actually enjoyed the film more than the book.