Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; fantasy, UK/ USA, 2004; D: Alfonso Cuarón, S: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Robbie Coltrane, Gary Oldman, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Richard Griffiths, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Fiona Shaw

Harry Potter (13) runs away from his foster parents and heads back to the Hogwarts school of magic. He teams up with his friends again, Ron and Hermine, but hears rumours that a certain Sirius Black escaped from the Azkaban prison and allegedly wants to kill him, just like he allegedly killed Harry's parents. However, thanks to teacher Lupin, Harry discovers that Black is actually innocent and he was framed by the real murderer, Peter Pettigrew, who disguised himself as Ron's rat. Peter escapes when Lupin transforms into a werewolf, but Hermine and Harry travel back in time and manage to save Black from a death sentence.

The 3rd film in the overrated and overhyped "Harry Potter" film series, "Prisoner of Azkaban" is an autistic sorcery fantasy film with a contrived plot that is filled with so much patchwork (werewolves, ghost horsemen running through the school's hall, a time travel subplot (!) in the last 20 minutes...) that after a while the viewers get the impression that practically anything can pass to be written in the story, no matter how careless, just as long as it artificially prolongs the story to a feature. The time travel subplot at the end is the weakest link, especially since it is so lightly presented, as if it was 'no big deal', and is surprisingly underused (one would think that, after getting a second opportunity, Harry and Hermine would at least hire someone to catch Peter, instead of letting him get away for the second time!). It is difficult to believe that the movie was directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the same man who directed "Children of Men", but unfortunately, the marketing executives probably did not want to allow an artist to "meddle" too much with their franchise. The only good sequence is the comical ride inside a super-fast bus through London's streets, the cinematography is refreshingly color rich (as opposed to grey cinematography in some other "Potter" films) and the location scout should be given a medal for finding the wonderfully steep hill with an equally steep path leading to a cottage, which slightly appeases the otherwise "gibberish" hocus-pocus storyline that is often inappropriate (Harry causing aunt Marge to bloat and float away, after which she is never seen again in the film) and difficult to connect to.

Grade;+

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