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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

A 2004 movie directed by Alfonso Cuarón.

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Slick and Scary, this Harry is a welcome treat this Summer.

  • Jun 3, 2004
  • by
Pros: Great FX and cast.

Cons: Plays as a setup to the next film, may be to scary for some.

The Bottom Line: A classic tale that will delight fans of the films and books.

One of the most anticipated films of the year, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ” has arrived this summer instead of the fall debut of the previous chapters. The film is based on the third book series by J.K. Rowling that tell of the adventures of young wizard Harry Potter and his friends while attending Hogwarts Academy of Wizardry and Witchcraft.

The movie opens with young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), on Summer break with his guardians who have grown leery of Harry and his powers as while they still do not treat Harry well, and make false comments about Harry’s deceased parents. Unable to take the lies Harry stands up for his family honor and practices magic outside of school even though it is forbidden and runs away from his guardians.

In no time Harry is aboard a magical bus that whisks him to the Ministry of Magic where Harry is absolved of using magic outside of school and reunited with his friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger( Emma Watson) as they prepare to board the train to school. Before they can depart, the trio learns that Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from the dreaded Azkaban prison and is likely after Harry as he betrayed Harry’s parents.

Upon arriving at school, Harry learns that Sirius may indeed be heading to the school to get Harry causing extreme security measure to be taken such as the scary Dementors. Despite the added protection, it is evident that Sirius has compromised the school and that Harry is soon facing a threat greater than any he has even known.
Thanks to the assistance of former caretaker and now instructor Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) Harry and his friends set out to stop Sirius and save the day and uncover the true connection between Sirius and Harry.

Naturally Harry, Ron, and Hermione have to contend with Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) and the new faculty of the school including the kind Professor Lupin (David Thewlis), and the kooky Sybil Trelawney (Emma Thompson),

The film has a much darker tone than the previous two films, as while the trademark humor, fantasy, and effects are still present, there is a darker and more sinister tone to the film. Even the color schemes appear more muted and foreboding than in past films. Despite having some nice effects, the film never relies on eye candy to be its drawing card as the interesting and lovable characters are what enables this film shine. The acting is first rate Radcliffe continues to grow with each outing and Coltrane gives a solid performance. Maggie Smith, and Michael Gambon (who seamlessly replaces the late Richard Harris) are sadly underused in the film as they are almost a cameo presence in the film and their stern but kind presence is missed.

The film moves along at a steady pace, and despite its 120+ minute run time, there are few slow moments in the film. Director Alfonso Curan keeps the franchise moving along well and despite the darker tone stays true to the vision that Chris Columbus started in the first two films while imprinting his own unique style.

The only real issue I had with the film was that certain situations and events were left hanging at the films conclusion leaving me a bit unsatisfied. I know this was necessary to set the stage for the later films but it seemed at times that I was watching a setup for the next film rather than a complete story with ongoing threads. That being said, the film will delight fans and already has me looking forward to “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”.

It should be noted that despite its PG rating, some younger viewers might be frightened by some moments of the film. That aside, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is a modern day classic that more than lives up to the hype and is well worth seeing for fans of all ages. The fourth film in the series is already under way and I must say that for many people, myself included, I look forward to seeing what future adventures Harry and his friends have in store for audiences.


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More Harry Potter and the Prisoner ... reviews
review by . December 19, 2010
This film is definitely not my favourite of the potter films, but that isn't saying much, seeing as I love each and every one of them. I would definitely have to say that this film is the transition period from the old, childish Harry to the new, adult, more mature Harry. Like the second film, this film introduces a few new characters, but it still develops the old characters.      The acting, once again, is absolutely impeccable. This isn't only from our main cast, but …
Quick Tip by . October 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A brilliant film without regard to being part of the HP series. It captured the darker and moodier facets of the novel which made it perhaps more mature than the intended audience (of early teens anyway).
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
For Harry Potter fans, the next step is to go back and read other great classics, such as all of Tolkein (Hobbit, Lord of the Rings) and C.S.Lewis (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) Don't just rely on the movies!
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
Cute children's novel, cleverly done!
review by . December 31, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
is easily the best of the Harry Potter films. It has an emotional richness that rises above some of the silliness of the other films. Prof. Lupen as the new teacher and Sirius Black are both strong and complex characters, both with their inner demons and hidden strengths. Lupen and Potter's talks are amongst the most moving moments in the entire series - talks about finding a mentor and retaining one's confidence in the face of fear. John Williams' soundtrack is excellent and really sets the mood. …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #37
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy-adventure film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the third instalment in the Harry Potter film series, and is written by Steve Kloves and produced by Chris ColumbusDavid Heyman and Mark Radcliffe. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The supporting cast features Michael GambonGary OldmanDavid Thewlis,Timothy Spall and Emma Thompson.

The film was released on 31 May 2004 in the United Kingdom and on 4 June 2004 in North America, as the first film released into IMAX theatres and to be using IMAX Technology. It was also the last Harry Potter film to be released on VHS. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards — Original Music Score and Visual Effects at the 77th Academy Awards held in 2005.

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