Harry Potter

film 3 of 8

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 5, 2014

Bang! It’s the change in director, isn’t it? ¡Bienvenido, Sr. Cuarón! And it’s the fact that these kids are wearing their own clothes, and that they’re shooting on location. Instead of constant cutaways, instead of constructing performances and manipulating the audience, we have scenes that go on a bit, a relaxed pace that parallels the characters’ mounting mutual affection, as well as our own increasing interest and investment. The night bus is not attempting to be funny. It just is, light and confident and satisfying. The Sirius poster! The Dementors on the train! Here’s where Rowling’s darkness really starts to register, which causes the light to mean so much more.

For example: there’s a scene early on up in the Griffindor tower when the boys are trying those Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. The scene is pure exposition, but it’s not really planting for any subsequent harvest, or moving us down the road at all. It’s just nice, fun, loving. In relationships you don’t always want plot. You just want to be in the same room with a person. They’ve got it!

We continue to have our doubts about D. Radcliffe, but watch Mr. Grint and Ms. Watson as they start to emerge (ie. that Draco beating). This HP3 does a terrific job handling all of the book’s important expansions and extensions. Kudos also for managing to clearly communicate Ms. Rowling’s mind-melting conclusion. The time turner is fun at first, and quantum physics at last. Very contrapuntal, challenging, beautiful. Oldman! Gambon!