Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Reviews
Too boring and almost uncomprehensible for all those who haven't read the book.
In his third year in Hogwarts, Potter and his friends face a new menace, but this time it comes from outside the walls of Hogwarts: A highly dangerous criminal has escaped Azkaban, the most secure prison of the magical world, and is on the hunt of Potter.
Changing the person that sits in the director's chair is a more than wise decision for a franchise as it injects new blood as each chapter goes on and Cuarón manages to take this child friendly franchise and give it a mature style. "Prisoner of Azkaban" suffers from an improvement in the acting department (the trio fells more confident in their respective roles), the cinematography is gorgeous (even if it's palette is mostly grays or grayish blues) and the best of the franchise, the script is more condense and less faithful to the source material (which is something this franchise desperately needed), Williams' score is the best of the franchise (it may not be as iconic as the one he made for "Philosopher's Stone" but is more powerful and overall more involving), the story is the more subtle of the 8 films as it is 100% focused on character development unlike its predecessor, Cuarón's directing manages to create a perfect balance of whimsical and spooky tone and his attention to detail gives more personality to the world plus his camera work is as remarkable, to say the least, as always; the new characters are welcome additions (Gary Oldman is just freaking perfect in his role and is the most fun presence of the film), the special effects are seamless, and the pacing issues of Columbus films are mostly gone. But needless to say, this film has problems. The ending is a little frustrating as it just introduces a huge problem solver (downright Deus Ex Machina) that eliminates any tension (which is why it is never used again) and this is the chapter that starts with the plot holes (from now on every Potter film will break/bend the rules stablished for this world or start to include convenient artifacts just to be forgotten on the next film).
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" is hands down the best Harry Potter film as it is the one film of the franchise that focuses on character development rather than world building or mindless action intertwined by a generic plot. It is as captivating and charming as the first film but it's more mature and it has a far superior crew behind cameras that managed to inject new blood to the saga (this film is so well made that it manages to hold its own regardless of its two predecessors).
Realmente impresionante, Alfonso Cuarón lleva esta saga a otro nivel con esta magnífica producción.
Harry and his buddies have turned 13, his first year of his teens, and this film subtly tackles some common issues that an early teen has. Not only is Harry dealing with the angst of trying to be independent from his muggle family, but he then is forced with coming to terms with an estranged family member returning to find Harry, Sirius Black. All the films have relatively the same setting, characters, and tone, but Prisoner of Azkaban is clearly a part of a maturation process for Harry. There's something to be said for a film that takes its franchise in a totally new direction (i.e. Fast Five), but I also can't help but think this film was missing a few familiar plot points.
Alfonso Cuarón took the reigns from Chris Columbus and he brought a refreshing take on the Potterverse. Just by simply looking at the advancement of technology in CGI and in the unique camera movements/shots, this was going to be a different Potter film. Cuarón brought along Michael Gambon as the new Dumbledore, after the unfortunate passing of Richard Harris. As great as Harris is, his calming presence may not have worked as Dumbledore here. Gambon fits in well as a more demanding and mysterious headmaster than in the previous two films.
With that said, Voldemort's lack of presence is definitely felt. I enjoy the late-game twist in the film's villain and I understand we don't necessarily need him every film, but there was barely any mention of him. Yes, that's the way it is in the book, but for me, it degrades the score a bit. The focus here is more on Sirius Black and Professor Lupin. Both of which have unexpected twists and turns that make the third act quite the whirlwind. To me, this film plays more as a part 1 of 2 to the Goblet of Fire, because we only get a glimpse into Pettigrew and his relation to the dark lord and Harry's parents.
Either way, Prisoner of Azkaban is a welcomed changeup in the film's franchise and one that, on repeat viewings, only gets better. I mean, who doesn't love time travel, Hippogriff's, a long awaited punch, a little quality time with Harry & Hermione, and one big twist right? It's a slower pace and a darker tone, but Prisoner of Azkaban is no slouch of a film.
+ Cuarón's different style
+Gary Oldman enters the picture
+Hermione & Harry team-up
-No Voldemort presence