A Review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Ok, this is way off topic, especially considering my prolonged absence from blogging, but I just have post my thoughts on this. I haven’t seen many reviews that mirror my thoughts on this.

Last week the grandparents babysat so my wife and I could see the new Harry Potter. We are both fans of the books and liked the first two movies. It had been a few years since I had read the book so I reread it to be ready for the movie. I am glad I did because otherwise I think I would have been lost. I kept hearing this movie was different “in a good way.” I didn’t know what that meant until about 15 minutes into the movie. This is a movie directed by an art-house goon who had a very different view of the books than I do. To me Harry Potter lives in a fairy tale world that though similar to reality, it is most definitely a fantasy. The stories of JK Rowling are very good and central to the enjoyment of the series, but the world and its little delights are just as enjoyable. Alfonso Cauron seemed to like neither the story nor the world as both are different from the previous movies and the book. The Whompimg Willow and Hagrid’s hut have mysteriously and unnecessarily changed locations and looks. The children are dressed in American clothes and rarely wear their required school wizard robes. Add to these minor annoyances, we get only a brief glimpse of quidditch and the obsessive team captain Wood is not seen at all. This really annoys me, because not only is Harry in love with quidditch, but one of the most important and funny scenes takes place in the match against Slytherin. Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle dress up as dementors and Harry, who is fooled, scares the pants off his enemies while overcoming his fears.

The lighting used in the movie made me feel like I was watching Braveheart. One of the things I like about the Potter stories is the escape from reality. My wife once said to me, “I wish I could go to Hogwarts,” and I agree. I wasn’t sure Harry was not mistakenly sent to St. Brutus’s in this movie. The Hogwarts charm is notably absent. The teachers are mean, the students are bullies, and even the portraits on the wall insult you…not to mention the hideous guards who suck out your happiness but can’t seem to keep a crazed killer out of the dormitory. And I don’t like the new old-hippie Dumbledore.

And then there is the editing. The first three-fourths of the movie is just a highlight reel of the book. A few choice scenes, some differing from the book, were pasted together as if only to appease those who had read the book. It is very choppy. Once they were out of the way we could proceed with the ending, which was the best part of the movie. We finally get some dialog driven scenes in the shrieking shack, although I think more explaining is needed for those who did not read the book.

Overall, I liked the movie, though I would have preferred the Christopher Columbus true-to-the-book formula. Luckily, the story is too good to let a poor artistic interpretation ruin it.

2 Responses “A Review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

  1. laura says:

    book is great and fun to read its one of my favirtis

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