This is a retro-post. I put this online 24 December 2005 using the date it was originally sent out.
Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban (Review)
I saw the movie today. A week late, but it was well worth the wait.
This Potter is different from the other two films as it is still for the kids, no question, but there are also multiple levels and it’s got some very decidedly adult stuff.
You know you’re in for a different Potter from the opening scene where Harry is playing with his wand under the covers to avoid being caught. It’s clear the film is meant to work on more than one level, and it does.
This Potter is darker, and yet retains the friendly tone that makes it feel warm and comfy.
The kids have all grown up. Ron looks the same, Hermione is going to be a hottie, Harry’s turning into a fine young man. Besides visually turning into young adults, there are changes (glances, hand holding, and more).
Puberty was less kind to Draco. At least he’s not a cute cherub-y little kid anymore. However, his character has turned into a whiney cry-baby which is not the same as in the book.
And then there’s Sirius Black. Yay! A fine job here. I can’t wait until his expanded roles as indicated in future books. Dumbledore’s replacement is also good. I was prepared to hate him, but I didn’t.
The big effect for the film is the dementors but I just didn’t feel they were ominous enough. Perhaps it was me or perhaps they were trying to keep it kid friendly. I don’t know.
The film follows the book fairly well, but LARGE sections of the book are missing. The Map (for instance) appears as a gift from Ron’s two brothers but there is no backstory as to why it’s significant.
Two thumbs up for the director! I wasn’t sure if this was going to work, but it did. Although the film is 2h 30m it’s a tight film and it doesn’t seem it at all.
And that’s that!