Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, David Thewless, and Gary Oldman
I will admit, my exposure to Harry Potter has been primarily through the movies, and I must say, I like what I’ve seen. The first one felt like it was the beginning of this huge epic. The second one started taking us down dark corners as we began to explore some of what Voldemort is about. And now, the third one. While not first in line like some students I had in Japan (I caught them skipping my class so they could be first to see Chamber of Secrets!), I held back for a few weeks until I finally got around to seeing The Prisoner of Azkaban.
It’s year 3 for Harry Potter at Hogwarts. He’s getting older now, the hormones are starting to kick in, and he’s starting to develop a bit of a rebelious streak. He gets fed up with living with his human family, the Dursleys, and runs away from home! But that’s OK, as it’s time to go back to school anyway. But, there is a new evil on the loose. The evil Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban Prison. It turns out Mr. Black has a sinister connection to Harry Potter and the night Harry’s parents died. It’s feared that Mr. Black is heading to Hogwarts to kill Harry. Just in case it is so, the fearsom Dementors, the guards of Azkaban, are sent to guard Hogwarts. But, Harry is able to stand up to this threat thanks to his old friends Hermione and Ron, and a new ally in the new teacher, Professor Lupin. Will Harry uncover the secret of Sirius Black? Or, will Harry hunt him down on a quest for vengeance?
With this installment, Alfonso Cuaron takes over directing duties from Chris Columbus. While the film still meshes with the other two, it’s just slightly different. A fresh perspective helps you look at everything in a new way, and it’s kind of cool. Michael Gambon actually brings life to Dumbledore, and it makes you see why these kids love this headmaster so much. David Thewliss as Professor Lupin is nice and mysterious, and becomes somewhat of a surrogate father to Harry. I know Mr. Anderson is curious to know what I think. Seeing as to how I haven’t read very many of the books, he wants to know how well the mythology is holding up to us muggles. I’d have to say it’s holding up pretty well, but sadly, in this film, it’s kind of all rushed in at the end. But, the climax is very clever, reminding me of Back to the Future Part II. All in all, it was pretty good, but I still think Chamber of Secrets was better.