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    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban [27]

    Movie Reviews
    This movie has two tough acts to follow. Both of the previous Harry potter movies were outstanding, and incorporated as much of the books' plots and subplots as well as could be expected. J.K. Rowling's third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is much thicker than the first two. So some of the material not essential to the plot needed to be sliced. (The fourth and fifth are even weightier; it remains to be seen what is excised from those. See the next expectation review...) In the end, for the moviegoer seeing this particular movie, what is missing is not so important. Director Alfonso Cuarón gets a shot after making the slightly erotic Great Expectations and the extremely smutty Y tu mamá también. So, how did he land this gig? Nevertheless, he takes up where Chris Columbus left off and does not wander into any wierd areas like in Y tu mamá también (And your momma too)
    The principal actors, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, and Daniel Radcliff as Harry Potter, are all aging. But, I still do not think their age and appearance is inappropriate for their 3rd year status at Hogwarts. It fits in perfectly well for me. They were all 13-15 years old during the time of the filming, which is not really out of line for their ages at that level of school or in the book. Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, and Maggie Smith are still superb in their character roles. Emma Thompson is most welcome and does a great job portraying the severely farsighted Professor Sybil Trelawney. Her ex-husband, Kenneth Branagh, was a hit in the previous movie. (I wonder if she was on a one-upmanship quest.) Michael Gambon was a much more lively Professor Dumbledore, but he did not seem as caring or fatherly as Richard Harris' portrayal. It is hard to replace Richard Harris, but I consider the role well filled. Robert Hardy makes brief appearances as Cornelius Fudge, minister of magic. It is too bad that his role is not a more sympathetic one. I greatly enjoyed Robert in his role of Siegfried Farnon in the All Creatures Great and Small BBC TV Series.

    The effects were great, as they were with the two previous movies. I like how the set for Hogwarts has expanded from the previous two movies. The clock tower with the giant pendulum gets plenty of attention, since time, and its manipulation are major plot points. We get to see the village of Hogsmeade, very cool!

    I loved the marauder's map prop more than any other device in the film. Someone else must have liked it too, since the closing credits were all run on the animated map background. (PORTICVS, and MEDIVS are all over the walls on the map. Roughly: Porticus is Latin for arcade or gallery, Medius means central or community. I do not understand what the significance for repetition was other than they were Latin words.)

    I wanted to see this movie right away after the first showing. It had been a long time since I have been to a movie this fun. It had just the right amounts of Fantasy, horror, and humor to make it a good time. The whomping willow was quite cool. I was quite surprised to hear a loon call and had to research that, in fact, loons do also live in the northern part of the British Isles and not just North America.

    I eagerly await the fourth contracted movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. After that, the movies are up in the air since the cast has not contracted beyond that. A suitable increase in compensation will probably bring them all back for the fifth movie.

    * Spoilers * The relationship between Lupin, Black, Pettigrew and James Potter is glossed over. Also, the marauder's map has no back story in the movie. Readers of the books know that Harry's father, James Potter was a good friend of Remus Lupin's. And also that James, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew had became "animagi" (shape changers) in sympathy of Remus' werewolf curse. The marauder's map was made by the four of them to sneak from Hogwarts when the need arose. Lupin is French for werewolf. And lupus is Latin for wolf, so you would guess that Professor Lupin is a Werewolf. Like his predecessors in the position of Professor of Dark arts, Lupin does not last the school year.

    This is a full price date movie and a DVD purchase. Have a good time, but keep the young children away. This is PG-rated 10 year old minimum content. {BB}

    See Expectation

    Added: July 9th 2004
    Reviewer: BB
    29 Point Scale Score: 27    [27]

    Related Link (IMDB): IMDB
    Hits: 6584
    Language: english


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