Prisoner of Azkaban

You may have a little confusion regarding characters and situations mentioned in passing but I don’t think that would prevent you from following the plot and enjoying the film. I think this is easily the best of the three films so far–Cuaron (sorry if spelling is off there…) made some changes that are visually really dynamic. And not a big thing, but I love the way the landscape of Hogwarts is presented as a bit more rocky and formidable. Aside from visuals, he’s explored the mystery and darker aspect of the wizarding world. I was really impressed.

I can speak as someone who has had no prior Harry Potter experience (either books or movies!) and I really, really liked Prisoner of Azkaban. I’m sure this is in no small part due to my love of werewolves (I liked both kinds of wolf-forms in the movie; note to the Van Helsing character designers; there are two examples of different werewolf designs in the same freaking movie that both work a LOT better than the VH werewolves). I thought that the Dementers maybe looked a little too much like LOTR’s Ringwraiths, but they are still effectively creepy and I found that this movie, although not technically a horror movie, had more genuinely creepy moments and scares than many so-called horror movies that have been released in the past few years.

Can you tell that I’m a fan of the horror genre?

But lest people get the impression that the movie was all about creepiness and monsters, I have to say that the movie was also very funny and well-written, with generally solid performances by the main actors. I was pleasantly surprised, but I fear now that seeing the previous two HP movies might seem like a letdown now.

For me, David Thewlis’ performance was a revelation. I didn’t have high hopes–I saw a few stills and he just didn’t fit my mental image of Lupin–but I am now entirely won over. Lupin’s intrinsic gentleness is there, but Thewlis makes him a civilized, almost dapper man, with a veneer of haggardness that adds this element of pathos.

It makes his transformation in act 3 that much more horrifying.

I love the little touches that establish him as a man separate from, yet unable to escape, his condition: his jazz records, his bittersweet recounting of Lily’s kindness to him, his weary resignation to his collection o’ scars.

I praise him with great praise!

I have mixed feelings about this Lupin. I thought at two points, his line readings were off: when he first speaks, and when he says “yes, I knew your parents” (which is a fairly dumb line used so they can rush the exposition faster) otherwise, he was pretty good, save in the Shrieking Shack scene, which was a real weak point in the film for me.

It was entirely, entirely too fast. If you hadn’t already read the books, you’d have no clue what’s going on. If you have read the books, what you see here are some major emotional turning points rushed through as if they were a chore. I mean, did it remind anyone of that old Michael Caine comedy movie “Noises Off” where burglars come crashing onstage one right after another? [spoiler]Oldman has barely been on the screen for a few seconds when Lupin comes in, and as he appears on the scene, Snape is litterally walking in the door at the same time with no explanation of how or why either or them are there!

Considering that this is supposed to be the big moment when Harry’s world takes a massive turn, they gave the scenes absolutely no time to breathe. The actors were litterally rushing out their lines so fast that by the end almost no one had any clue what had just happened or when Harry had decided to believe Sirius’s innocence.

I felt sort of the same way about the ending: they never explained that James’s animagus form was Prongs: so instead of the touching line about James riding again one last time we just get the goofy bit from Sirius, he’s in here IN YOUR HEART BWAHAHAHA I SHOULD WORK FOR HALMARK, SO LONG SUCKERS!!!

That said, I did enjoy this film more than the other two. But then, this book has that scene near the end (the final Patronus) that always chokes me up. I’m not sure they really nailed it all that well in the movie (see above) but it’s such a brilliant and sad plot twist that it can’t help but be moving.

I just got back from the film and I haven’t yet decided whether or not it’s my favorite of the 3 or the least favorite. It is certainly different.

Some spoilers will follow, so don’t read on if you haven’t seen the movie (real big spoilers will have spoiler boxes)

Good Things

They did a great job managing a lot of plot points without having to explain them. They needed to make changes to the story to get it to fit in the film timeframe, and things such as explaining crookshanks in the Leaky Cauldron or Harry getting the Firebolt at the end instead of at Christmas (if done the way the book did it, they’d need to have another Quidditch match)

Hermione (Emma Watson) was fantastic. Emma is really becoming an excellent young actress, and she really made the character both believable and entertaining.

Buckbeak looked great.

The dialogue was much more like what teenagers would say. There were still some things said that were off, but it was much closer to reality than the first two movies. I love, “But now it’s coming right for us.” “Yeah, I hadn’t really thought of that.” and “Yeah, you tell those spiders, Ron.”

Outstanding tone…for the first time, the threat to Harry and the wizarding world felt REAL. It was scary, impressive, and awesome. The first two movies, you had an ‘exceptionally evil’ character that really didn’t inspire true feelings of dread. In this film, you feel that the things Harry deals with are truly terrifying, great ordeals.

I liked the way the dementors were foreshadowed. In the books you can explain the oncoming feelings of dread and cold, but you can’t visualize that. Having it transform into a physical change rather than a percieved change (in addition to the mental change) made it scarier and more real for the audience.

I absolutely loved Lupin. I thought he was perfectly cast and played the part extremely well.

Wizards actually USE magic in this one. In the first two, you don’t see a lot of magic outside of spell demonstrations. In this one, you see Snape closing the blinds, Lupin opening doors and packing his belongings, and a few other very nice touches (the candles).

Bad Things

I hated that they never explained that Lupin, James, Sirius, and Peter wrote the Marauder’s Map. Lupin knows how to work it, and Harry doesn’t blink an eye. In the book, when it’s confiscated, Lupin explains how he knows, then explains about them all being Animagi in the Shrieking Shack. Neither of those two things were done. Sure, you could figure out the names, but from the movie alone, you’d never know James was an Animagus.

Lessened class time…it made it feel like there was very little actual school going on. That said, there’s really no way to get around it without making the movie 3.5 hours long.

Brand new Hogwart’s grounds. I thought the new grounds were amazing looking, and very cool, but the discontinuity between the grounds in the first two films and the grounds in this film is a little odd.


The way the Patronus was realized. Big difference from the books in how the Patronus protects against the dementors. The Stag is there, but he doesn’t run around, which is not really what should happen. That said, the way it was portrayed on film is truly an astounding cinema moment, and is probably better than what a charging stag would have looked like.
Overall, I liked the feel. The first two films felt like a fantasy story. This movie made the HP universe feel like something that actually exists, with real dangers and real consequences.

I dont think Professor Lupin will become more of a father figure to Harry now that Sirius is gone, purely because of Molly Weasley. Shes always treated Harry as one of her own, and that could be because of the fact that Ron is Harrys best friend, but I think theres more to it then that. Maybe Im wrong, I would like to see Lupin stay in Harrys life purely because hes one of the last close links to Harrys parents, unless of course Lilly has any friends from school/wizarding world that we havent met yet

I hit reply to early, the above was my responce too Apos and Lamia’s opinion of Lupins future role in Harry’s life.

Also, now that more of you have seen the movie what do you think of [spoiler] the fact that when Hermione went to follow Harry into the pub she got screamed at by those hanging heads which said something like no underage wizards allowd in the pub. Least I assume thats vaguely what they said.

So the kids arent allowd in the pub in Cuarons version of HP, how do you think this will effect later movies, there are several situations where the kids find themselves in the pub, and if there not alowd to be there now, its going to change some things.


The next movie, Goblet of Fire, is being filmed in Glencoe, which I think is the same place as where Prisoner of Azkaban was filmed, so at least for the next two movies there will be some sort of continuity. I prefer the new grounds, makes Hogwarts seem more magical. Although the Great Lake seems to be a bit too great, lol.

Anybody else notice the magical moving scar? If I’m not mistaken, there was one scene where Harry’s scar was on the wrong side of his forehead.

Well interface, oftentimes scenes are “flipped” that is, completely reversed, because a particular framing of something looks better in one direction than the other. So it could be that his scar was always in the same place (I mean, I doubt the makeup people would ever miss a detail like that) but the film image got flipped around in cutting. I dunno if that would make sense, though.

Delly, I saw the film today explicitly watching for this on your tipoff. So I remembered the key words, which were: no underage wizards allowed in the Hogs Head TODAY. Ha!

Did I mention the pub thing twice? Oops, Im thick…

And yep, I missed that, I was kinda shocked by the heads to b honest… well at least that explains it for later moveis so! Cheers Apos

They’re only barred from the pub on that particular day, if I remember correctly. It’s unlikely they’d try to get in if kids weren’t ever allowed in there.

Overall I’d say it’s the best of the three. It has the spirit that was totally lacking in the first two film-by-number exercises. Acting much improved all around, magic much more casually omnipresent, and the soundtrack was not employed as an emotional mallet. There were a number of scenes that just blew me away like the aunt-exploding sequence ending with the tableau of the Dursley family. They didn’t bore us to tears with extended Quidditch sequences. David Thewlis and Gary Oldman were great as Lupin and Black. I liked the new Dumbledore very much as well.

On the downside, it felt a bit rushed and the most crucial plot development scenes (Harry overhearing the adults talking about Sirius Black and the confrontation in the Shrieking Shack) suffered greatly from this. These scenes are vital to the entire story arc, not just the third book. They ended up muddled, incomprehensible messes. Also, what happened to Draco? He turned into a complete wuss. When Hermione attacked him he just caved, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. What happened Warwick Davis (Flitwick) and Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood)? And I could have used a bit more Snapery.

They gave him a couple of loopy lines. Like his exceedingly odd digression about kids and dreams. Overall, I don’t think he got enough screen time to really make an impression. Unlike the other two movies, they cut out the bit at the end where Dumbledore talks to Harry.

Heh, I liked the loopy lines. Dumbledore is a space cadet sometimes and in this film we got to see it. His final scene was classic. The Dumbledore of the first two films came off as senile, not delightfully weird.

I liked it quite a bit. It’s been a while since I read the book.
Was that first scene in the book? I busted up laughing but was the only person in the theatre laughing. I mean, here is 13 year-old Harry Potter in his room at night playing with his wand, trying to make this white light come out and he has to quickly cover up what he is doing when his uncle pops in on him.

Oh I was dying.

I also liked the little fun scene of the boys in the school goofing in the dorm room. It felt like real kids and Ron having a nightmare and talking in his sleep is great stuff.

I thought the candy store in town was strange. I remember it from the book. But at these kids ages aren’t they getting a little too old to be that excited about candy?

I agree the store looked just like a candy store per se, rather than a novelty store where the candies did strange and often disgusting things to their owners. I could see kids of that age being excited about the novelty aspects, which didn’t come across in the film.

All the negatives I’ve seen pointed out here and elsewhere are valid. The editing is choppy, the pacing often rushed, Draco’s sudden wussdom undercuts any effort to make him menacing, key characters have so little screentime one wonders why they bothered. Yet, the movie as a whole worked well for me, far better than any of the others. I would hestiate just a bit to take anyone not conversant with the Harry Potter mythos to see it, but I enjoyed it immensely.

I want my own pet choir toad in the worst way.

Oh, I know, it just seemed a little odd that such an obvious editing mistake would make it through so easily, especially on a film that is so anticipated and important to the studio.

I was nervous about Lupin because I had pictured him as Eddie Izzard when I read the books, but I thought David Thewlis carried the part wonderfully with easily the best part in the movie.

Not enough screentime for Snape and Sirius Black. Also I wished the movie had done a better job of explaining the outcome of Aunt Marge’s floating away. Like others have mentioned, so many important things got glossed over and felt rushed. Although I thought Columbus’s movies were a bit too bright and left out too much plot-wise, at least the Important Points were emphasized and clearly explained.

I missed all the quidditch scenes – not because I enjoy watching them but because they were important to the plot in the third book. No Oliver Wood.

The “romance” (or whatever) between Ron and Hermione was laid one pretty thick in the movie. I think one or two lines or bits of business would have been OK but I think it was too obvious.

Not to be pervy but Neville really looks cute in this movie. I think he could reall be attractive in five or so years.

I noticed that too but I chalked it up to it being filmed in the mirror. Many of the shots in that scene are clearly filmed looking into the mirror so I assumed this was another case of it.

I imagine most of the posters here are bigger HP fans than I am. Still, I’ll say that this was easily the best of the movies so far (Chris Columbus not directing helped). I thought it was the best book, too.

I found the New York Times review pretty much captured my feelings- the big thing was that this movie felt like it was adapted instead of just copied from the book. It was better to look at, that’s for sure. I liked the new grounds. It sounds like some traditional Harry Potter stuff got cut, but it let the drama flow much better.

It’s not like it’s going to hurt the gross. :wink:

Last thing: am I the only one who thought David Thewlis looked like Jeffrey Jones (Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)?

Ok, I saw it last night, so now I can read this thread and talk about it.

Overally, I liked it. Really liked the new Hogwarts grounds - definitely a reminder that this is an old school. I think I would have liked CoS a lot better if there had been some of that darkness to the school and grounds. The kids are doing much better as actors - and since the ones that play Fred and George annoy me so much, I’m glad they didn’t get as much screen time (even with their new looks. That just creeped me out).

Did anyone else notice the incredible increase in diversity among the students? I think that it would be likely that the school had a variety of students, but there’s such a huge increase between the first two movies and this one that it seems really obvious, at least to me. Maybe it’s sort of supposed to be that Harry’s more aware of the people at the school - not just those who arrived with him.


I got a laugh out of it too - but it wasn’t exactly in the book, because of all the emphasis on how underage wizards are not allowed to use magic outside of school. Instead, he’s writing an essay under the blankets.
The one scene that made me groan is when Harry rides Buckbeak for the first time - when he was flying over the water and spread his arms out, I had this sudden though of I’m the king of the world!, and got the giggles because of it.

Draco was obnoxious, as usual, but this was much more of the obnoxiousness of the very rich, I think. A boy who’s been given everything - not just making him cartoonishly evil, but giving H, R & H more reasons to dislike him than just his dislike of muggle-born wizards & witches.