Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Warner Bros. presents a film directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Written by Steven Kloves, based on the novel by J. K. Rowling. Running time: 136 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for frightening moments, creature violence and mild language).

I’d just like to say, first, that I’m not the biggest Harry Potter fan on my block. Hate me already? It’s not without reason that I’ve scorned the first two films, while also singing their praise. They are too long. Miss J.K. may have her nose a little too far pressed onto the screenplay. There are those of you who would be quick to say, “well it’s her *$#!ing story.” You would be right, however this is a *$#!ing movie and studies have shown that people don’t want to sit in front of a flicker show for five hours, especially for the sake of indulging the creative genius responsible for the whole thing.

On to the movie…

I’m there two hours early, catching the midnight train to Azkaban. Kids are dressed up. Slightly taller kids, almost resembling adults, are dressed up and it’s not even Halloween. Needless to say, there’s some anticipation here. The lights go off, you can barely hear the, always brilliant, John Williams score due to the enthusiastic swelling of applauds. It begins and ends and we all had a good time.

I’ve read several reviews since seeing this film, most of them having remarked on the increasingly dark tone of the film. Upon reflection I’ve realized that the film is darker, because a greater portion is taking place at night time, where you generally have less light. It’s an obvious difference between the first film and the third. The Sorcerer’s Stone had a bright rainbow of colors, closely resembling a bag of skittles. There were broom flying lessons outside, a game of quiditch on a sunny day and a trip to the train station during a sunny day. Are these merely coincidences or is the director trying to lighten up the atmosphere, because he is aware of the slightly evil dangers that appear in about every frame of film. During my second viewing of Sorcerer’s Stone I was reminded what I liked about it so much. The language with which the teachers and adults confront the young students with is so frank and so cavalier. With conversations about death and dismemberment between them, it fills me which such respect for the characters and furthermore, the writer for braving politically incorrect conversations. Thus saving us from a cookie cutter, heart shaped, made for television morality speech. These characters didn’t pull any punches then and they continue to knock me out now. Emma Thompson’s minor, but monumental (in entertainment value, that is) performance as Professor Sybil Trelawney is so threatening, the 40 year old super fan boy next to me gulped. He actually gulped. Sure, he could have had an over abundance of spit he saved in order to limit his swallows, therefore giving his hearing the utmost and proper respect for the dialogue. Super fan boy’s movie watching techniques are not the point. The point is that the certainty of death is served up main course without any reservation that it might just scare little old me right into a coma.

I don’t think I need to give you anymore reasons to see this movie, but here are the basics. Visually the movie is great. Should be, though, I mean the biggest check went to Mr. George Lucas. The character performances by Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Robbie Coltrane and the before mentioned Emma Thompson are great. Of course they’re great; they would be great in a bowl of cereal. This is the shortest of the Harry Potter films to date. The editor has our collective “thanks.” My yawns were limited to eleven. That’s an improvement from a 49 average between the last two films.

There aren’t many whimsical films, that create a reality as rich as the Harry Potter films. I think each succeeding film will get better than the ones before and I think the preceding films will only get better with time.

But hey, that’s just one fellow’s opinion.

Charlie Baker

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~ by fumikaelson on June 8, 2004.

4 Responses to “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

  1. You… well you kick ass!

  2. Ebert Watanabe, you are so confused. This was the worst installment of Hairy Potter. For a great 3rd movie check out Matrix Revolution! Now that is great a film. For the camera work when The Agent and Neo caused that big water ball, man that was nifty stuff.

  3. Ebert Watanabe, you are so confused. This was the worst installment of Hairy Potter. For a great 3rd movie check out Matrix Revolution! Now that is great a film. For the camera work when The Agent and Neo caused that big water ball, man that was nifty stuff.

  4. Harry Potter is my FRIEND! And YOU stole my story! RO

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