Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) Poster

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My Favorite Of The Harry Potter Films
ccthemovieman-117 February 2008
I thought this was excellent....better than the first two Harry Potter movies combined and better than what has followed.. That's my feeling, and I'm still sticking to it.

This was just great fun, right from the opening. In fact, the early bus scene is the best in the film. Overall, the movie didn't have as mean an edge to it as the others, although it has a number of scary moments (which might have warranted a PG-13 rating). That was fine with me. I got tired of the dark, nasty and/or annoying characters of the first two films, and especially the irritating blonde wise-guy kid. I give this major points for cutting his role down. Even Alan Rickman's character softens.

In other words, there is no despicable villain to hate throughout the film, which I thought was refreshing. Instead, we just go through one adventure after another until the final surprise ending.

Along the way are a lot of fun special effects and scenery, some humor (Emma Thompson is a hoot as an eccentric tea-leaf reader) and some fantastic 5.1 surround sound. I wish all the Harry Potter films were like this one.
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Darkest and best one yet
SnoopyStyle22 December 2013
This is the third movie in the franchise, and it's the darkest one yet. We're introduced to Dementors, vile creatures who are tasked to guard the prison of Azkaban. When Voldemort disciple Sirius Black escapes, Dementors are assigned to guard Hogwarts putting Harry and his friends in danger.

The introduction of Dementors ushers in a new darker chapter in the franchise. These CGI creatures look every bit the evil creatures they're suppose to be. Accomplished director Alfonso Cuarón shows his great skills in creating tension and atmosphere. Even the darken corridors of Hogwarts are more foreboding. Without spoilers, I also must praise Hermione's part of the plot. The story loops created are usually fraught with problems. This one is done with care, and works great. Looking back, the change in tone is what drew me into the Harry Potter franchise. It is the first great Harry Potter movie and in my opinion, the best of the lot.
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Finally, a movie that captures the books' magic
kylopod25 June 2004
If there's anything this movie proves, it is the difficulty in separating the series from the demands of fans. This is clear just from hearing some of the comments. "Why didn't they identify the names on the Marauder's Map?" "Why wasn't the second Quidditch game shown?" "Why wasn't there more of Crookshanks the Cat?" By focusing on what the film didn't have, fans fail to look at the film on its own terms. I think this is by far the best Harry Potter movie yet.

The only way to satisfy fans would be to include everything from the book, which would require a miniseries. Since that isn't what these films are, the story has to be abridged. The first two films tried to fit everything they could within a reasonable slot of time. The result was a set of films that felt cluttered yet incomplete. Had they continued with this strategy for this movie, based on a much longer book, it would surely have been over three hours long.

The virtue of the latest film is that it makes a real attempt to adapt the story, not just marching in lockstep with the book's events. The screenplay is sparing, leaving out or simplifying loads of details not directly relevant to the plot. But it captures much of the book's delight and humor. The first two films fell short in this regard, because they lacked the guts to tinker with the details, even though that was the key to condensing the story while staying true to its spirit.

The movie is still faithful to the book, of course. Many of the scenes are exactly as I had imagined them. When it deviates, it does so based on an understanding of the story and characters. This is evident in the way they show, for example, the Knight Bus; Hermione's overstuffed schedule; and the introduction of the Marauder's Map, a scene that captures the twins' mischievous personalities. The changes are clever and funny, and they help compensate for the movie's loss in other areas.

Certainly this has something to do with the new director. Columbus's approach was to stick to the books as literally as possible, often draining them of their subtlety. For instance, where the books only hint that Dumbledore can see through the invisibility cloak, the earlier movies make it unmistakable. The new director never condescends to the audience in that way. This is a children's movie, but it is also a fantasy-thriller that we can take seriously, because not everything is spelled out for us. We're given a chance to think.

But part of what makes the movie work is the book itself. The story is gripping from start to finish, because the threat looming over the school is established early on. Harry's personal life is sharply intertwined with the plot. We feel for him as we watch his disastrous (but hilarious) attempts to escape his uncle and aunt, and his humiliating reaction to the dementors. The story avoids common devices such as the talking killer or deus ex machina, which the other books have in abundance. The ending is nicely bittersweet and ambiguous. The plot is so complicated, however, that the book spends several chapters explaining it all. The movie wisely includes only very little of this, allowing the plot twists to become understood as the story progresses. I was surprised to see certain events that were in the movie but not the book lend support to an important theory some fans have had about what is to be revealed at the end of the series. Of course, it is well-hidden and won't give anything away for those who aren't looking for the clues.

I was so satisfied with the film that it almost seems trivial to mention the flaws, but there are some. The portrayal of Fudge's assistant as the standard hunchbacked dimwit is out of place here, as it would be in anything other than a cartoon or spoof. The most serious misstep, though, is the casting of Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. Gambon's face seems frozen in a perpetual nonexpression, and his voice lacks resonance. He compares poorly to the late Richard Harris, whose line readings had gravity, and who played the character with a twinkle in his eyes. It is a pure mystery to me why this actor was chosen as a replacement, especially considering the fine performances from other members of the cast. Even the children are in top form here.

Those complaints aside, this is the movie I was hoping they would make when the series began. If it doesn't live up to the book, so what? What's important is that it lives up to its potential as a movie. Fans who want a carbon-copy of the book are looking in the wrong place, because they're never going to get it here. This is probably the best example of a Harry Potter movie that we're ever likely to see.
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Best Film of the Series; One of the Best Films of All Time
joshuafagan-642144 September 2015
I wish Alfonso Cuaron would come back to the franchise. I know that he probably won't, but I still hope. After all, as we float through this empty, depressing world, sometimes all we have is hope. He detached this film franchise from its safe-as-a-CIA-file roots and allowed it to grow wings and fly into a silver ether. To anyone who thinks franchise films cannot be art... check out LOTR. But once you are done, check out this film. It is both ironic and darkly appropriate that this is both the lowest grossing Harry Potter film and the one that many film critic types, such as myself, say is the greatest of the octology.

The film starts off like do all Harry Potter books and most Harry Potter movies. Potter is at the house of his over-the-top, abusive, Muggle adopted family, getting tormented like he always does. Yes, I know it is explained in detail why he needs to stay with them, but such doesn't make it any less of a poor writing choice. But, when and if I do a full review of the Potter series, I'll go over those kinds of decisions.

I only bring this up because it is a base line for these movies and such something I can use to show why this is the best one. In the Columbus films, it is played with a cheerful exaggeration that reminds me of many of his eighties movies. This is not a bad thing, but it is not brimming with greatness either. In the Yates films, it is downplayed as just a backdrop, a facade, if you will, to more serious matters. Cuaron manages to combine these approaches, which is expected, as both this and GOF are the 'transition movies', while adding both sophistication and a level of charged rawness, which is not expected.

We get to see Harry's emotional landscape. Fragile but potent, unstable but unyielding, it is a sight to behold, one that belies the simpler character that we got in both the earlier and later movies. If Harry Potter developed along these lines, he might have actually been a great character instead of the flattest one among a crowd of interesting people.

The scenes are magical, but not in the try-hard way of the first two films. Around the time that I first saw them, I declared myself a true blue of the series. I haven't looked back since. The shots are magical in a way that is both wispy and intense. This is the tone that these movies should have taken, and if they reboot them, something of I am not in favor but something that is a conceivable possibility in today's Hollywood climate, this is the tone I would like them to try to take. Just the thought of that sends chills down my spine. It might even be able to challenge LOTR for the crown of best fantasy series of all time.

After that virtuoso opening, I kept waiting to be let down. I never was. Every new character introduced was interesting and every old character they excluded was not missed. The pacing is the best out of the movies; the first two were too slow and the other five were too fast. The plot was more personal to me than the other movies; this is the one movie in which Voldemort does not appear in some form or another. There is no direct end boss and so the plot has to be more creative. And so it is.

Of course, more of the credit for this has to go Mrs. Rowling for writing the book on which this film was based. But the cinematography is all the work of Cuaron's team. And it is the best in the series by far. Not to say that the other movies are poorly shot; this is Britain, after all: things may be bad, but they are never badly done. But while the cinematography of the first few movies would perfectly fit a kid's fantasies, the cinematography of the fourth movie would perfectly fit a high class ball or gala, and the cinematography of the last four movies would perfectly fit a nature doc, the cinematography of this film perfectly fits the franchise.

It is artful and well-done, but it is not show like an Oscarbaity period piece. The camera feels alive and coated with magic powder. It is exactly how I imagine the heartbeat of a troubled magic society to feel like. The music helps it out. If you listen to Window to the Past and are not sucked into the world Cuaron made for this film, then you just don't have a soul. It is introspective, ambient, immersive, and coated with the kind of cerebral wonder that I think makes life worth living. It is the best tune in the franchise. But do not think it is the only good tune in the movie. Buckbeak's Flight is a good second.

While the characters in the series may never be willing/able to turn back time after this movie for reasons cheap and nonsensical and borderline nonexistent, I hope that you will be wiser. Come back in time with me to 2004. And let the emotional waves of this picture overtake you.
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Abstract and dark themes abound; still the most mature HP entry
jpoulter1119 January 2011
Alfonso Cuarón's masterful adaptation does the source material immeasurable justice by exploring its underlying concepts in an intelligent manner. Of course, it certainly helps that the aesthetics of the film are incredible, the acting remains stellar (and the trio of young actors handle their roles admirably), and John Williams offers an amazing (and eclectic) score. Character development is superb - Steve Kloves penned a great script.

First-time and young viewers will likely enjoy the film for its merits based on plot and 'adventure' alone, but it takes multiple viewings and a critical eye to enjoy the abstract ideas and nuances. Cuarón himself credited the source material as being laden with real-world issues: oppression, racism, loneliness, power, friendship, justice and so forth.

This is the Harry Potter film that stands on its own and as a tremendous cinematic achievement. It challenges viewers and yet doesn't patronize them or attempt to offer answers to all of the questions presented. For instance, the ending is bittersweet at best and retains a healthy amount of ambiguity.

If you've never read the books or understood the acclaim of the series as a whole, watch Cuarón's 'Prisoner of Azkaban' and you'll understand why this entry is clearly the zenith of the seven.
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A visual feast with bite
madam_Q13 June 2004
Harry Potter is growing up! The voice is deepening, the shoulders are broadening and...hurray! You no longer feel like a creep for having a little crush on Daniel Radcliffe...whoops, did I say that out loud? Say what you will, I see him making the jump from child star to adult actor in a way that Haley Joel Osment only dreams of.

Appropriately, this third film in the Harry Potter series has matured along with it's young stars. At first glance the storyline itself is relatively simple - Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban Prison and young Harry is on his hit list. But the reality is that this movie is about being a teenager and all the trials and tribulations that go with it. On one level, Harry is like any other kid at school - he puts up with torment from bullies, gets into scrapes with his teachers and hangs out with his friends. But this is not just any school. This is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and Harry has a whole OTHER set of problems. Like an escaped madman who may just want to kill him, for example.

The plot contains the requisite amounts of twists and turns. The focus is on Harry's past - Sirius Black was his godfather but just may have been in league with he who's name cannot be mentioned. There is the usual game of 'are they or aren't they?' when it comes to deciding which characters are really the baddies. Alan Rickman continues to walk the finest of lines between good and bad with his marvelous performance as Professor Snape. Has there ever been a better match of actor and character? Snape shows again that, while he may take occasional delight in making his students' lives difficult, he does have their best interests at heart - like any good teacher. Other plot quirks worked well - I enjoyed the way the time travel angle was worked in and the map showing the location of everyone in Hogwarts was a delight.

Visually, this is a much darker film and it is a sumptuous treat for the eyes. There is so much incredible detail in the sets that it's impossible to absorb it all in one sitting. All the staples from the other films are there - the paintings talk, the staircases move, ghosts roam the halls - watch out for the knights on horseback crashing through windows! The special effects are all top notch. A word of caution for any parents - there are some genuine scares here. The Dementors are particularly nasty, and I would certainly think twice about letting very young children watch this film. This is without even considering it's running time - two and a half hours - which is a very long time to expect some children to sit still.

One of the most impressive things about this film is the way that the young cast are more sure of themselves. As Hermione, Emma Watson grated in the first film with her occasional woodenness. Pleasingly, she has grown into herself as an actor and her performance here is much more mature. A leading lady of the future, perhaps? Hermione is growing up and is tired of being taken for an irritating goody-two shoes know it all. Rupert Grint provides comic relief and Daniel Radcliffe gives an outstanding performance, considering the whole film rests on his shoulders. Harry is the hero - the audience needs to identify with him. By the end of this film teenage girls will want to take him home to mother, while their mothers will just want to take him home and adopt him!

New cast members acquit themselves well. The role of Sirius Black was tailor made for Gary Oldman - he has a requisite creepiness with just a dose of humanity to bring the character to life. Daniel Thewlis is good as Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts master who takes Harry under his wing. Emma Thompson is amusing as a Divinination professor with bad eyesight. She can see into the future but can't tell which students are falling asleep in her class!

Many have criticised Michael Gambon's performance as Dumbledore. While it's true that he is no Richard Harris, I personally was pleased that he didn't attempt to imitate his predecessor. Gambon is accomplished enough a performer to stay true to the character while at the same time putting his own stamp on it.

Take away the magic and monsters, and what you have is a coming of age movie. Harry is forced to grow up and confront both his past and his future, and come to terms with the reality that he is no ordinary wizard. With the spectra of 'you know who' continuing to loom on the horizon, roll on film four!
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last of the really sweet episodes..
A_Different_Drummer21 November 2015
.. and near perfect film making.

Why does every major fictional story that starts off so light end up so dark? Sorry, rhetorical question. The answer is that we live a polar world, light and dark, night and day, positive and negative.

So this may well be the last episode in the series which is both exhilarating and innocent.

Especially if you compare it to the last two in the series, which I suggest you do not do because you will lose your lunch.

The cinematography does not get better. In the winter scenes you can feel the chill and in the flying scenes you get airsick.

And the story includes a "time loop" twist which is handled so perfectly that you want to see the film a second or third time to make sure you got it all.

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The best of the Harry Potter films so far
colettesplace17 December 2004
This third Harry Potter film is the best one yet. Director Alphonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien, A Little Princess) has taken over from Chris Columbus and has stuck less slavishly to the original JK Rowling Books.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are back as Harry, Ron and Hermoine, with Hermoine in particular getting to do a lot more. There are less Quidditch matches, and more menace, in keeping with the improved complexity of Rowling's third novel. Hogwarts is not safe, Draco Malfoy is no longer a menace, but just a pain in the ass. And the new CGI-scripted character Buckbeak the Hippogriff (half eagle, half horse) looks fantastic and has personality.The kids are all supposed to be thirteen but look older - hey we'll forgive them. Neville Longbottom has lost so much weight he's almost unrecognisable.

Great performances from Emma Thompson hamming it up as the ditsy professor of foretelling, Prof Trelawny, Michael Gambon as the new Professor Dumbledore (not as magical but good), David Thewliss as Prof Lupin, and Gary Oldman as the Prisoner of Azkhaban.Thrilling, complex, menacing, ****/***** stars.
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So dark, I love it
dskywalker05 March 2021
This is one of my favourites of the franchise because I love Sirius Black and time travelling. Harry Potter's universe was still full of surprises at this point and the films never failed to impress. I also noticed a better soundtrack as well - not that it wasn't already pretty good in the previous ones, I just liked this one better. Oh, and RIP Richard Harris (this is the first one with Michael Gambon).
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Best of the three
cosmic_quest31 May 2004
Although this film isn't all that I'd hoped it would be, I believe that it was the best of the three 'Harry Potter' films so far, thanks largely due to director Alfonso Cuaron. In 'Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban', the trio are now thirteen and beginning their Third Year at Hogwarts, under the fear of an escaped criminal who played a part in the deaths of Harry's parents and seems to be stalking the school, preying on Harry.

The child acting in this film has improved slightly with Emma Watson and Rupert Grint probably faring the best in comparison to their young co-stars. Although he is lumbered with a Ron who has once again been reduced to a comic character, it's a sign of Grint's abilities that he does well without looking embarrassed or too clownish. Dan Radcliffe was still very poor, obviously struggling to portray Harry's darker emotions in a manner that isn't wooden and awkward and and this was very apparent in the scene where he makes an atrocious effort to cry when he finds out his godfather had betrayed his parents to their deaths. while Tom Felton was let down by poor scripting of Draco.

The adult cast were excellent. Remus Lupin and Sirius Black were perfectly cast. Lupin was soft yet stern when needed and you could feel there was a parental rapport between him and Harry, and I couldn't imagine anyone other than David Thewlis in the role. And Gary Oldman was great in depicting Black's determination, mingled with an hysterical madness due to his incarceration in the hellish wizarding prison Azkaban. As for Michael Gambon, who was recast in the role of Dumbledore, I felt he was an improvement. Richard Harris was a gifted actor but his Dumbledore had a cold, aloofness to him whereas Gambon was able to portray the warm, eccentricity of the character without diminishing the power and wisdom of Dumbledore. And the rest of the regular cast, such as Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith, were perfect although we expect no better from them now!

One of the best aspects of this film is how it no longer pandered to kiddies like the previous two films did. There was a darker, moodier edge to the story and the characters. The wizarding world no longer seemed like a perfect haven and the characters had grown beyond being innocent children; this reflected the book itself since many feel PoA was a turning point in the series where it finally felt like Harry Potter- boy and book- were growing up. The Hogwarts' setting differed from the previous films yet not only was it definitely more faithful to the books but finally it felt as if the castle was in Scotland rather than perpetually sunny Disney Land and this enhanced the mood being set in the film. The clock was a nice touch, linking to the theme of time in the actual storyline, as was the bridge in being a place for Harry to mull over his problems. Also, in many ways, this film could have ended up a muddled mess in regards to the ending but Cuaron handled the Time Turner scenes well.

However, there were flaws to the film, which let it down. The characters of Hermione and Draco were poorly scripted so they seemed like two completely different characters from the ones we know and love in the books. Although Watson as an actress has improved since CoS, the main problem with the script is that Hermione is being portrayed as being too cool and cocky compared to the bookworm who has no interest in fashion that we know Hermione to be in the books. Steve Kloves, the scriptwriter who admits he's responsible for the change, really needs to learn heroines don't need to be cool Buffy types to be admired; part of why Hermione is so popular as a character in the books is that she appeals to girls who are bookish themselves and easily identify with her. And as for Draco, he comes across as too much of a cowardly, weak girlie-boy rather than an insidious, vicious brat who can be a threat to Harry when he chooses to.

Also, there was no telling of what Black did to Snape in school that left him so bitter in his hatred and I wished they'd included the scene where he let slip what Lupin was, especially as this animosity between him, Black and Lupin plays a larger role as the books go on. And speaking of Lupin, the werewolf CGI was atrocious. He looked like an emaciated rat rather than the wolf-like creature who leaves even the more powerful wizards quivering in fear. I wished there was more in the ending too as I would have loved to see Vernon's face when he found out who Black was. Kloves needs to learn how to round the Harry Potter films off properly as this was also a sticking point in CoS.

At the end of the day, there were scenes left out, some of which we didn't mind skipping but others (an explanation to Harry of James Potter's friendship to Black and Lupin) were sorely missed. It was a great film but it could have done with being made longer or skipping on non-essential scenes (less of the Knight Bus and Hermione punching Malfoy in a manner that makes her out to be a thug) to make way for scenes which are more important. I think I was disappointed because I was expecting something along the lines of RotK but it's still great viewing. I'd give it a seven-and-a-half out of ten with the hopes Cuaron will return to the helm again although preferably not with Kloves as the scriptwriter. I think Cuaron would be excellent working with a script produced by someone who has a better handle on the darker aspects of the books and a deeper understanding of the HP characters.
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Directing and screenwriter stand out in perfection
HotToastyRag17 June 2019
Everyone's favorite of the Harry Potter movies is the first one, right? A close second place for me and my family is the third installment: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Not only is the story very interesting, fast-paced, and full of mysterious twists, but director Alfonso Cuaron turns ordinary exposition shots into works of art. After seeing the same castle and sets the past two movies, it's intriguing to see them filmed differently. It reminds you to pay attention to details as well as the big picture, and it subtly tells you that you'll need to see the movie at least twice to understand its full potential. There's a famous transition he films through the clock tower that's continually gorgeous no matter how many times you've seen it.

Onto the story: Once again, Daniel Radcliffe starts the movie unhappy in the home of his aunt and uncle, Fiona Shaw and Richard Griffiths. This time around, since he's entering his teenage years, he gets fed up and runs away to the wizarding world before summer vacation has ended. Everyone's worried about him because there's been a prison break from Alcatraz-I mean, Azkaban-and a dangerous criminal, Gary Oldman, is on the loose. Entering his third year of school with all that on his mind, he still has to deal with the hostility of his least favorite teacher, Alan Rickman, taunts from the school bully, Tom Felton, and the presence of some very scary guards hanging around the school who are on the lookout for Gary but might kill anyone else on accident. Hogwarts sure isn't the safest school out there, is it?

Believe me, that's just the start of the plot, and as the film progresses, you'll be endlessly fascinated by the story. Screenwriter Steve Kloves managed to sew the scenes together tightly without making anything feel rushed, and since the audience already knows the ins and outs of the Hogwarts world, there's no time spent on explanations or exposition. There are a few new additions in this movie, of course: the Marauder's Map that shows the locations of everyone on campus, Hagrid's pet Hippogriff, the speedy public transit for the wizarding world, the Dementors and the special spell that repels them, and the new "guest star" teacher, ¬¬¬David Thewlis, who's very sympathetic and easy to like. Keep an eye out for Julie Christie, who has a cameo as a pub owner, Emma Thompson as the "psychic" divinity teacher, and Timothy Spall.

The only blot of imperfection on an otherwise perfect film is the replacement of Richard Harris with Michael Gambon. Even if you managed to get used to him in later films, it's quite a shock to have him installed in this movie. Not only does he look nothing like his predecessor, but he's fashioned differently and delivers every line as if he thought to himself, "How wouldn't Richard Harris have said this line?" If he truly did have a vastly different interpretation of the character, it would have been nice to ease the audience into it. The replacement couldn't have been helped, unless a huge change to the rest of the stories was made-had the school given a very sad but touching funeral for Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall been promoted to Headmistress, the rest of the stories still would have been functional, and with an added boost for feminist viewers-but we'll all miss Richard Harris's twinkling blue eyes and kind, sensitive delivery.
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A valiant effort bringing a truly complex book to screen!
TheLittleSongbird21 April 2009
This is certainly darker than the first two instalments, and not as funny. But based upon a truly excellent but complex book, it is a very good film nonetheless. In my reviews on the first two films, I forgot to mention the music by John Williams. In all three movies, it is very good, but not Williams's best work. His scores to Star Wars, ET and Home Alone are better. The only real quibble i had with the movie was Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. Richard Harris, the first and better Dumbledore, had died, and although Gambon was good, Harris suited the character a lot more in terms of looks and sincerity. The three leads are still likable, and they are given solid support by Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman and Robbie Coltrane. The real treat lies in the newcomers though, namely David Thewlis as Lupin, Emma Thompson as Trelawney and Gary Oldman as Sirius. Timothy Spall I felt was a little odd for Wormtail. The Dementors I felt quite terrifying, a lot more chilling than they were in the book. All in all, very good. 8/10. Bethany Cox
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A Dark and Impressive Film
Hitchcoc3 August 2015
Harry is maturing and becoming more and more involved in that past that has brought him here. Sirius Black becomes the spoken adversary, but his presence is a bit obvious and we moviegoers are a suspicious lot. The three compadres begin to work together in more productive ways, moving the action rather than being moved by it. Hermione begins to become more flesh and blood here and deports herself well. Harry is now dealing with the horror of the potential end of his life and must make his way, discovering clues along the way, knowing that everything isn't always as it seems. Hagred and his hippogriff are pretty cool in this one and the unraveling of the plot with those spooky wraiths guarding Hogwarts is really captivating. There are a few rules that could bear some explanation. I've not read the books and would probably benefit from an occasional explanation. I'm ready for the fourth installment.
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Mischief managed!
BiiivAL5 June 2018
The third film about the young wizard is the most controversial, for it was he who split the fans of the novels about Potter into two warring parties: conservatives and innovators.

The first group of fans absolutely condemned and condemned the actions of the director Cuaron, altered "Harry Potter" in his own way. Say, they did not like the strange werewolf, all sorts of jokes-jokes, interspersed by the director in addition to the script, and in addition to all the claims they discovered the disappearance of the atmosphere of magic, because of which the popular expression of "Quaron in the furnace" was born.

The second group, on the contrary, furiously began to praise Cuaron, extolling him to the unprecedented pedestal of fame, thus creating almost a cult of personality. They liked everything that only they could like in the third film.

Only now it became clear that both sides are not right in their convictions. So it should be, movies must be different in essence. The error crept in from the very beginning: Chris Columbus took the first two films, and this put the old debate on what kind of movies Harry Potter should be about. Columbus did not have to give the right to shoot two films, and one would suffice. Spectators are used to the atmosphere of the first two films, because most of the audience took the innovative approach of Quaron to the screen version of the third novel with bayonets. Now the producers make a mistake again - they give the right to shoot two films (The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince) to the new director David Yates. This should not be done in any case. It is necessary to preserve the diversity of director's visions. Hogwarts is not accidentally depicted in different ways in films, like Hogsmeade. Everything in novels is seen differently every time, because all the reader and viewer sees through the eyes of Harry Potter, and in films through the prism of the director's vision, the viewer must perceive the magical world through the eyes of a young wizard. Alfonso Cuaron still hit the spot with his timely vision of the plot of "The Prisoner of Azkaban."

He created a sparkling tragicomedy for the growing up of a young wizard.

In general, Cuaron's film reminds me of our old Soviet films. For the reason that the whole film can be easily taken away on the shots, quotes, fragments, heroes, soundtracks, etc., etc. Despite everything, this film is much kinder than the previous two, differing in their gloomy Gothic style. It's more fun, crazy, and it should be, because it's Sirius Black himself on the scene!

For the whole of Rowling's novel, like the film of Quaron, is a tribute to the memory of the crazy, hooliganistic and such lonely Sirius Black ... Black, whose heart is beating violently, hot blood flows in his veins, and in the soul is truly dog devotion. The third film, as well as the film, is dedicated to the looters - James Potter (= Harry Potter), Peter Pettigrew, Rimus Lupine and Sirius Black - a group of friends who used to be friends a long time ago ...

The film ruthlessly shows how easy it is to lose friendship and how difficult it is to acquire a friend ...

Thanks to Alfonso Cuaron, who did a talented work, showing in one stroke all the huge gallery of the characters of the magical world and their essence: the Minister of Magic plunges into a puddle; the soothsayer with big glasses on her nose stumbles on her own table; The evil teacher Severus Snape closes the children from the werewolf; eccentric Dumbledore slams his hand over Ron's gnarled leg; Remus Lupine, at the lesson, takes a snack with an apple; portraits of Hogwarts, it turns out, also like to sleep; Stan Shanpike with his brave words is not very strong in dragging student suitcases; Hagrid and ties are incompatible things; Tom from the Leaky Cauldron has a nehyl auto; Ernie, wearing spectacles with large lenses, is led by the "Night Knight"; Sirius Black finally began to talk moral nonsense ... Also it is necessary to thank the new actors, so successfully merged into the old line-up:

Emma Thompson (Sibyl Trelawney); Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore); David Thulis (Remus Lupine); Julie Christie (Madame Rosmerta); Gary Oldman (Sirius Black); Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew) and many others. By the way, if my memory does not change me, then the two actors from the third film (cleaning woman in the bar "Leaky Cauldron" and Aunt Marge) Quaron quietly consigned to his other project - "Child of Man", but that's another story ...

Let me love the fourth film about Harry Potter (director - Mike Newell), but I always revise the Curaron part - it is the brightest of all existing.

In a word, long live Rowling and Cuaron!

"Potter, come back!" (Severus Snape, potions teacher).
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Charming and Extraordinary
moongear7 January 2005
As with previous Potter films, this one is wonderful. The mischievous trio are back in their third year at Hogwarts.

Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is a slightly different character in this film as the anger inside of him for what happened to his parents has grown over the years. This made, for me, the film much more enjoyable than the first and second.

As one would no doubt assume, Gary Oldman's portrayal of the character Sirius Black is nothing less than perfect. However, Sirius Black seams an unlikely roll for the talented Oldman. I enjoyed him more in other films, such as 'The Professional' and 'Immortal Beloved'. Let us hope he has had the chance to 'play it up' a bit more in the much anticipated 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'.

The original music of John Williams is more than I could ever hope to hear. It is absolutely splendid, making the film worth a listen even if you do not watch. Williams has created memorable compositions such as the theme music to 'Star Wars', 'Jaws' and 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'.

Overall, any age should enjoy this film. The visual effects are not the most spectacular I've seen, but fantastic enough to take your imagination away from the real world for 141 minutes. Even the closing credits are kind of cool.

Now, go watch the film. You'll be glad you did.
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Black Could Be Anywhere
gavin69422 May 2011
It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.

Of the first three Harry Potter films, this is by far my favorite. The atmosphere shifts to a darker place, which may be partly due to the story and partly due to the new director. Besides the darker images, I like the characters introduced here -- Professor Lupin, the best Defense Against the Dark Arts professor thus far, and Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), who is my favorite character in the entire series. We also have the Hippogriff, which is a fantastic creature, and Doby the house elf. And a time travel element that plays out just as effectively -- and with more sense -- than "Timecrimes".

Harry Potter purists may have some complaints here. Hermione now has normal girl hair rather than the wild, frizzy hair, making her less of an outcast that she may be supposed to be. And they spend very, very little time in their school uniforms. Of course, they are more often outside of the school grounds, so that explains itself. I was curious why Ginny never appears even once. Perhaps she does not appear in the book, but at this point she should be becoming a more important character.

There is a line in the film that really stands out: "Black could be anywhere." I do not wish to dwell on this, but I cannot help but wonder if this is some sort of inside joke...
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bevo-1367831 March 2020
Pretty decent movie but I think the book is better
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My favorite book has become my favorite of the movies
cricketbat3 January 2020
My favorite of the books, and the movie is pretty good, too. I do miss Richard Harris, though, and I was a little disappointed by the look of the werewolf. Too spindly.
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awesome special effects, decent plot
MLDinTN10 June 2005
I think movie wise, this was the best of the Harry Potter films. The story was OK, but of course the books are better because they have so much more detail.

The special effects are incredible. At times, it looks realistic. Like when Harry is flying on the half bird/half horse creature. The animal looks like it has depth. Another example is the extremely fast bus Harry catches a ride on at the beginning. It's refreshing to see a film with good effects that don't look like they belong in a video game.

The acting by the kids has gotten so much better than in the first film. Too bad some of the teachers aren't featured more like they are in the books.

FINAL VERDICT: If you have watched the first two films, then I'm sure you'll be watching this one. But, if you have never read the books are seen the other movies, then you best not start off with the third film because you will be lost.
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A Good Potter Film, But Not The Best!
g-bodyl29 June 2008
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a fabulous movie for entertainment but a teeny disappointment for avid HP book readers like myself. This time around, Harry enters his third year and he must deal with an escaped convict who is seemingly after Harry. The acting in this film is better than the first two. As the main actors(Radcliffe, Grint,and Watson)grow up, their abilities seem to improve. The supporting actors were good, but they needed a bit more screen time. Also, it's nice to see normal clothing instead of robes. The new director, Cuaron did a good job. He added a different style into this film. The music by the famous John Williams is different, but good. Finally, some sub-plots were cut out. I wished to see Harry and his win of the Quidditch cup. Other than that, this movie is pretty good. I rate this film a 9/10.
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prisoner of azkaban
marmar-697804 December 2019
Prisoner of azkaban is defienenetly the best part of this series ,the best part is that is also great stand alone film and it can be watched like that and not as part of huge franchise,cuaron brouth to us one visually beautiful film fulled with great story expecely time traveling part that is made percise and with good sense how time traveling works,for that this makes prisoner of azkaban my favourite part and i bealive to many others fans also
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
JoBloTheMovieCritic8 January 2020
10/10 - the third installment is a cinematic tour de force that does not let up in its wondrous adaptation of the even-better series of novels
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Expecto Patronum!
freemantle_uk25 November 2009
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is easily the best of the Harry Potter films, and there is one simple reason for that: Alfonso Cuarón! After two films done by the capable, but workmanlike Chris Columbus, Warner Brothers realised their needed a stronger storyteller for when the Harry Potter films started to turn darker, and an excellent Mexican director stepped into the frame.

Set during Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts a murdered named Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) escapes from Azkaban prison. Sirius was believed to be a follower of Lord Voldemort and its believed wants to kill Harry. The Minstry of Magic use a creature called Dementors to protect Hogwarts from Sirius. The Dementors can suck out happiness and the live out of people, which has a really powerful affect on Harry considering his past. Harry asks for help from the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) to help him defend himself against the Dementors. Harry overhears that not only does Sirius want to kill him, but that he used to be a friend of his parents. Sirius betrayed them, telling Voldemort where they were hiding, and kills their other best friend Peter Pettigrew. Harry swears he will kill Sirius for what he did.

Cuaron has such visual flair to directing which Columbus lacked. He knows action and where the camera should be based or follow, such as the fight scenes and the scene involving the Whomping Willow. He got the pacing right, making the film shorter then the previous two, and he focused on a characters and the story. He also offered some very stylist shots, worked well with the special effects (using both CGI and traditional techniques) and got the best out of his actors. He builds the relationships between the characters, especially Harry growing anger and need for a father figure. Cuaron also shows that he is much better at handling the darker elements of the story, whilst still having time for some physical humour. The main three actors, Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson all improve a lot from the first films. Radcliffe and Grint show that they have good potential in the acting world after the Harry Potter series, whilst this is Emma Watson's best performance in the film. Adding Gary Oldman into the cast is always a good way to improve film straight away, and David Thewlis is a fine addition to the film. Michael Gambon is a good replace for Richard Harris who sadly died in 2002 and Alan Rickman has a lot more to do in this film then in The Chamber of Secrets. In novel terms, Prisoner of Azkaban was when the Harry Potter started to improve and look at darker themes. It is also the only novel/film where Voldemort doesn't show up as the main protagonist in some form. J.K. Rowling, screenwriter Steve Kloves and Cuaron all hand the third act involving time travelling with real talent and tie-up all the sub-plot which was needed.

Best of the Potter films.
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andrewchristianjr3 April 2020
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban takes on the power of time travel and does an amazing job explaining itself throughout the movie and making everything tie in. Between the Uncle and the rat, the twists were unforeseeable ending creating a great third movie in the series.
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The best of the Harry Potter movies!
joshuadrake-9127515 September 2015
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN is the third installment of the HARRY POTTER film series and it is directed by Alfonso Cuaron.

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN is considered by critics and fans to be the best installment of the franchise. It is also the best-reviewed film of the series.

The story follows Harry Potter's third year at Hogwarts as he is informed that a prisoner named Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban and wants to murder him.

The story definitely follows the book nicely, with a few new things added to it. Since Chris Columbus, director of both "Sorcerer's Stone" and "Chamber of Secrets" decided he would not direct this film, Alfonso Cuaron was chosen as director for the third film.

The musical score is composed by John Williams for the last time and this was the last HP film to be rated PG. The script is solid and Steve Kloves did a really great job creating an amazing movie. The direction is very amazing and fantastic and Alfonso Cuaron knows how to make a very entertaining movie.

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Bonnie Wright, Rupert Grint and Tom Felton all shine out in this film. The rest of the original cast is amazing and they have good performances in this film. Gary Oldman plays Sirius Black and he did a good job. The rest of the new actors are really good in this film.

Since Richard Harris died after the second film was released, a new actor was chosen for the part and Michael Gambon would play the part.

The visuals and production values are amazing and spectacular. The costumes in the film are wonderful. The pacing is still slow, but it is amazing as heck. The make-up is really interesting and this film goes down as for having the best make-up in a film in my book.

The rest of the production designs are very amazing. Overall, I like HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN and this is the film that transformed this franchise from being a book adaptation franchise into a film franchise and PRISONER OF AZKABAN is a true example of a fantasy movie filmmaking.

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