TITLE: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
YEAR RELEASED: 2004
DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuaron
CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Gary Oldman, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson
REVIEW BY SARAH BLAIR-DICKINSON
As mentioned in a previous Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) review, I’m a purist. Especially when it comes to messing around with my favourite book in the series.
My biggest complaint about this film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is the omittance of a vital part of the central storyline.
If you’re one of the people that have seen the films and haven’t read the books, you may not know exactly who Wormtail, Moony, Padfoot and Prongs really are or how each one of them plays an important role in Harry’s life.
In the book, when Lupin returns the Marauder’s Map to Harry he tells him who he really is, which explains a lot about the relationship of the makers of the map as well as making it that much more important to Harry.
And for God’s sake, when Harry met the apparition of the stag by the lake, why on Earth didn’t the writers of this film think to include the significance of this meeting?!
It makes me want to tear my hair out every time I watch it.
Despite my complaints this is my favourite film of the series (after making an effort not to think about the book while watching it).
The imagery in this film is beautiful and we get a nice change of scenery—the students are suddenly ‘cool’, sporting Muggle clothing and new hairdos.
Oh, and a new Dumbledore has been slipped in after Richard Harris’ death.
New Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) got a lot of flack, but I rather like him… I think he embodies the spirit and playfulness that I feel Richard Harris’ Dumbledore should have had.