Friday, November 8, 2013

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) review


This third addition to the Harry Potter canon is a great improvement over the first two with an even darker atmosphere, matured acting, a complex story, and improved direction overall.

PLOT:Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) returns to Hogwarts for his third year after a big fiasco with his aunt and other family, but with great care. This year at Hogwarts, a watch is out for the escaped murderer, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), who is rumored to be after Harry himself for some strange reason. Posted around every major entrance to Hogwarts is one of many Dementors, which are dark, ghostly creatures that feed off of people's lives and happiness. Harry, after a conflict with one on the train that caused him to faint, has grown a fear for the Dementors. This year is like treading on broken glass for Harry and his friends, for there's a killer on the loose, there are dangerous guards on every corner, and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin (David Thewlis), has a bit of a mystery behind him. Will Harry and the rest solve the mysteries behind Sirius Black and the rest? I'll leave you there. It's a brilliant plot executed excellently.

ACTING:The performances in this Harry Potter film are even better than that of its predecessor. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson have really matured by this point in their roles as Harry, Ron, and Hermione. By now, you can tell they're teens with more of a clue of what they're doing. Their acting skill has built up a lot by now. You could say that the same follows for most of the other youth performances as well. Of the adult performances, the introduction of Gary Oldman as Sirius Black and David Thewlis as Professor Lupin were excellent. Gary Oldman played a great part as the convicted prisoner, and David Thewlis did brilliant as well as the strange professor. The other great adult performances would have to be from Alan Rickman as Professor Snape, Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley, Emma Thomspon as Professor Trelawaney, and Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew. All of these performance, returning and new, convinced me and just showed evidence of very skilled acting. The other couple of performances I would like to mention in specifics would be Lenny Henry as the shrunken head and Dawn French as the fat lady in the painting.

SCORE:The score in this addition was a little more intense than the past two have been, with a choral song added into the mix. John Williams, returning to the Harry Potter score chair, does a really good job at conducting the score to this one.

EFFECTS:The effects in this one were really good as well. The effects aren't as fresh as they were before, but it was still pretty cool to see the Dementors and the Hippogriff in action. The Dementors and their effects had to be the coolest of all the effects in this film.

OTHER CONTENT:This film is probably one of the best of the Harry Potter films out there. Unlike the first two, this addition has a more complex story to tell with many more secrets to find out and more aspects to play with, such as time travel. Along with the matured performances and more complex story/storytelling, this film adds a darker atmosphere to the franchise and shows evidence of a change in direction. The tone was pretty dark in this film's predecessor, but the addition of certain death, intense family struggle, and murder scandal make this one a more mature film overall. Aside from character development, this film could almost stand on its own without any assistance from the other films in the franchise. This one I really enjoyed in particular for its story, tone, and change of direction, for it births a more mature film all around.

OVERALL,an epic Harry Potter film with a brilliant plot, matured and convincing performances, more in-depth and intense score, cool effects, a more complex story, a darker tone, and an evident change in direction.

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