The Prisoner of Azkaban
Runtime: 2 Hour 22 Minutes
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
The Prisoner of Azkaban opens with Harry Potter studying magic beneath his sheets. When Aunt Marge arrives at the Dursley household, Harry endures her presence to receive permission to visit Hogsmeade. After Marge blows up into a balloon and floats off, Harry leaves the Dursleys. After being picked up by the Knight Bus, Harry is taken to the Leaky Cauldron and spends the rest of his summer there. While on the Bus, Harry learns of Sirius black, a criminal who recently escaped Azkaban, the wizarding world’s most high tech prisons. With this murderer on this loose, Harry begins his third year at Hogwarts.
Our main three characters are the same as the first two movies so I’m going to touch on our new characters. Sirius Black is Harry’s godfather and a known criminal. He has escaped from Azkaban and is thought to be out to kill Harry. Lupin is the newest Defense Against the Dark Arts.
This is another great entry in the Harry Potter series and it is remembered fondly due to its darker themes and great filmmaking. The actors are as good as ever with everyone getting quite familiar with their roles and they understand the ways their characters think. One of the themes that this movie demonstrates is Harry’s loneliness as in most shots Harry is separated from the rest of the group showing his internal struggle. The creatures in this story play a large role from Buckbeak the hippogriff having an important impact on the story, to werewolves being a subject for discussion, to the evil dementors that loom over Hogwarts and cast a dark shadow over the school. The characters continue to evolve here with Harry taking even more steps towards independence and leadership. Ron and Hermione’s bickering seems to have become more than just the standard friends’ arguments. Dumbledore, now played by Michael Gambon due to the tragic passing of Richard Harris, continues to be multiple steps ahead of everyone. The new characters in this story, Remus Lupin, and Sirius Black seem to have a lot of ties to Harry and they both play an important role in Harry’s life. Lupin plays a wise fatherly figure who knows how to comfort and help Harry. Sirius is set up to be a villainous mass murderer but (spoilers) he is revealed to be one of Harry’s parents’ closest and most loyal friends. Hagrid continues to have a big presence as he continues to be someone Harry goes to when he is worried or has a problem. The story itself opens up the wizarding world a bit more with the idea of a murderer after Harry who escaped from prison and the introduction of the ministry of magic who plays a big role in the films to come and who have a big influence in the magical community. This story also has some of the best twists and reveals in the series.
All in all, this was another great entry in the franchise with some great new characters and a fantastic mystery. I definitely recommend you check this one out!
Favourite Moment (Spoilers):
When Harry casts his Patronus to save everyone at the lake. It shows Harry’s power and how he is actually quite good at magic. It also shows how he continues to risk his life for others.
Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite Harry Potter movie, book, anything. I was happy to see the consistency between the book and the movie remained, but it didn’t feel overly slow or like they used every single little scene. This might be the best plot out of the 8 movies, and it feels so different from the first two. We get more of a detective type of story and we take a step back from Voldemort. The impacts of this movie play hugely on the main series long tale, but it was interesting to learn a lot more backstory on Harry and his parents. The second best part about this plot has to be the insane amount of time spent on day-to-day interactions. It’s awesome and keeps me coming back to this movie. The way the plot revolves around different classes, and the movie almost slows down to develop what life is like at Hogwarts is a wonderful change of pace. Hogwarts is by far my favourite part of this series, and for sure why I like this movie so much.
I could go on and on about how our main 3 develop flawlessly again, or how their relationships continue to flourish, or how they are some of the most likable characters around. If you want that, go find my previous two reviews. Today I’m gonna talk about Sirius and Lupin. I am going to jump into some slight spoilers here so if you don’t want that skip to that last paragraph. Anyways, I think Sirius might be one of the better plot/character twists we have seen thus far. The image that is set up before we actually meet him makes his character that much better, and by the end, he was one of my favourite side characters. The animagus is a super cool touch, and it also explains away the Grim. Lupin is the best teacher our characters have had so far, and he is such a great character. The way he was written to balance between being their teacher and also being their mentor for other things made him much deeper than I had anticipated. The whole Werewolf twist came out of nowhere, but if you want it a second time it’s heavily foreshadowed and pretty darn obvious.
All in all, this is my favourite Harry Potter movie. The animation of the Dementors was super cool and really brought out the intensity they should have. The plot and the characters were both great, but my favourite moment was really the Coup-de-Gras.
Favourite Moment (Spoilers):
I mentioned this in the last one, but my favourite moment is a classroom moment again. All of the simple interactions are really cool, but I thought the learning of ridiculous and fighting the Boggart was fantastic. It was a comedic moment that showed us a little bit of information about a ton of characters that wouldn’t really come up naturally otherwise.
The Prisoner of Azkaban is another solid movie adapted from the novel. Although this one wasn’t a 1:1 copy of the book, I still found The Prisoner of Azkaban more enjoyable to watch compared to The Chamber of Secrets. From a smooth plot, to fun, new characters, to even a nice blend of school life and extra magic, I enjoyed the balance of The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Of the three movies so far on this site, I enjoyed this one as much as The Philosopher’s Stone. The only thing holding this movie back was that it was a bit boring. Compared to the other stories found in the Harry Potter series, The Prisoner of Azkaban is less incredulous. This one explores more the school life of our three protagonists. As a result, everything felt slower pace. When reading the novel, the focus on school life doesn’t feel as slow, since the novel has more character interactions that fill this void. In movie form, most of these interactions are lost.
On the other hand, I enjoyed the plot and the characters introduced in The Prisoner of Azkaban. Plot wise, I enjoyed learning about Harry’s past through the use of Sirius Black and his return. The introduction of Sirius and Lupin gave fun characters that were entertaining to watch and enjoy. The plot itself also featured some solid points. Although some areas were a bit rushed, the realistic feel and flow with a focus on school was a nice balance to the heavy amounts of magic used in the previous two movies.Overall, The Prisoner of Azkaban was another solid entry into the series. Although it was good, I didn’t enjoy this more than the first movie, whereas in novel form, this story was one of my favourites. Due to the school focused story, it feels more natural in novel form more than a movie. There are some great characters and moments that will make up for the slower pace.
Favourite Moment (Spoilers):
My favourite moment in The Prisoner of Azkaban was the opening scene with Marge. Watching her blow up like a balloon was entertaining and a funny way to open up this movie. It also felt very deserved, so I enjoyed watching karma in action.