Friday, January 4, 2013

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Alfonso Cuarón, 2004) Review

Well, now Harry Potter is a trilogy. I guess that's a good thing considering that, so far, the films have been doing pretty well (both getting 8.5) but now it's time to take a look at the third film in the series which is usually the better film (Toy Story 3 for example...but saying that Robocop 3 disproves that theory) so we can go into this film with high hopes, right? Well then, am I right or wrong? Let's find out.

Having finally had enough of his Aunt and Uncle, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) runs away but encounters the Knight Bus on his travels. The bus takes Harry to his friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) who begin their third year at Hogwarts. The problem? A criminal named Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has broken out of Azkaban prison and is trying to find Harry and presumably kill him in order to aid Voldemort. To make matters worse, creatures known as Dementors are let loose and are causing more trouble than it's worth (while being bone-chillingly terrifying).

This iteration introduces not one, not two but three of my favourite Harry Potter (not my top 3 but...three nonetheless). Sirius Black, Professor Lupin (David Thewlis) and Wormtail (Timothy Spall) join the cast and, unlike last time, actually become recurring characters. I mentioned in the last film that the cast improved. Well, this trumps it and even the regular cast is better...but there is one cast member that sticks out. Not just because of his performance but for the character he plays. Michael Gambon joins the franchise and takes over Richard Harris' role of Dumbledore after Harris' death. While Harris embodied the character more, Gambon is a nice pick for him and makes him more compassionate...and funny.

This is when things were at it's best in terms of magic and creatures. I already mentioned the Demontors but there are know werewolves (guess who that is...the name of the character kind of gives it away), Hippogriffs and Boggarts (makes sense in context) but we also get some nifty gadgets (if you can even call them that) such as the time turner and the Maruder's Map. The series definitely got more actionised by this film and it works well. The climax is especially good and even quite clever as a result of... something I'm not going to ruin.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is easily my favourite in the series (yeah, I just spoiled which is my favourite. Go figure). This is down to the more grown up moments, the clever twists, some great action, fantastic new characters and improved acting. It may seem like the other two at first and, while there are some funny moments, it's much more serious and, you know what, that's just the way I like it

My favourite in the series. An improvement on the previous films and plenty of new things that make it just that much better.

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