Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Oh my gosh! They are so cute! It’s like a little tiny Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and what’s his name.* They’re just little guys! Little tiny actors!

Watching the third Harry Potter film on its own is a very strange experience context-wise. It’s not an origin story and it’s not the main event. Of all of the Harry Potter films, I would say this one was the lamest, tamest, and felt more like filler than anything else. (Yes, I know. There’s a lot of important backstory, but as far as adventures go, this one was the most boring.)

That said, I really enjoyed the film. The movie is 142 minutes long. That’s 2 hours and 22 minutes, using the metric system. But it doesn’t drag along like some other films I’ve had to watch.

To be entirely honest, the first 10 minutes of the film felt more like an Edgar Wright masterpiece than a Harry Potter sequel. They really had a good time with this one.

Did I mention that the actors look really, really young?

While the pacing of the movie is pretty good, the portrayal of proper student behavior is abysmal. The writers are relying heavily on circumstance to make people seem very evil for no other reason than you aren’t suppose to like them. Take Snape for example:

He enters a class room, asks the students to open to the correct pages and the main characters complain. He assigns homework, and the main characters complain. I don’t think he’s asking for anything entirely unreasonable, I’ve had plenty of teachers who jumped forwards and backwards in a text book or assigned papers to write and I never complained. Yet the good characters have to antagonize him anyway. I might be cranky too, if I had to teach a bunch of obstinate adolescent know-it-all wizards. (Just saying.)

Overall the story is pretty tight. Nothing seems to happen extraneously, though as far as the action goes things feel pretty low key for the most part. The overall story is that Harry finds out more about his life and parents, but his adventures are mostly within the walls of Hogwarts and the challenges he faces are not quite as deadly as ones he has already overcome.

My favorite character from this film is probably the Whomping Willow. They did a fantastic job using this beautifully irritated tree to show the quick progression of time–the changing of the seasons, and he even came into the story as possibly the deadliest challenge our little baby hero had to overcome. It was quite endearing.

I’m not sure if J.K. Rowling was trying to be obnoxiously overt with her foreshadowing about the new teacher being a werewolf, or if she lost a bet and had to use every wolf reference she could think of before the big reveal. There’s at least four hints in the movie, but I might forgetting a few. It’s a tad… riddikulus.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a good film. If you haven’t seen it, find a few friends and give it a watch, though you’ll probably be best to watch the first two films beforehand, and then you might as well watch the last four when you get done with that. It’s a long sit, but so is flying half way around the world, and people do that everyday.

*Rupert Grint.

Review by Phil Wels

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