Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

After finding that the second movie was much better then the first and then seeing the trailers for the third, I was really under the impression that the third would outshine the first two. The comments were that it was much darker and adult, and that was backed up by the trailer.

Oh sure it was better than the Philosophers Stone, but better than Chamber of Secrets? Surely, with the more adult storyline and the darker mood, surely it was better. The Director had even been changed, and that could make it go either way.


Well I wasn’t so much disappointed as not excited enough. Yes, it was darker and much more for an adult audiences taste with an extremely clever plot, but there were still some problems with it all.

Firstly, the eighty minutes of scene setting and build up, in that time we hardly see anything that’s really concerned with the final part of the movie. Just the usual character settings and plot explanations.

Then there are the standard plot deviations to explain something new about the Potter universe, and once complete we pop back into the story. This is fine, but in this movie I felt there was too much of that.

Yet again, as with the other two films, there is the ending and the many unanswered questions. For example, why doesn’t Professor Snipes say anthing about Harry blasting him, what happens to the Dementors and why were they after Harry in the first place on the train? There are lots of these and mostly popping up nearer the end of the movie.

There’s also one of the major plot twists just happening with the wet fanfare of a single trumpeter. In fact the turn happens so quickly and without notice you do suddenly wonder why and what the hell just went on.

Unfortunately, I do think Michael Gambon is a great actor, but not as Dumbledore, not as a replacement for the late Richard Harris. His acting and mannerisms are totally wrong for the part and present more of a bungling old man rather than the wise and all knowning character that Harris portrayed.

Still, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis and Emma Thompson are very good in their roles. Also the effects were excellent in this movie, in particular the Dementors, the Hypocrate creature and once again the spider!

The story overall is much more enjoyable and more representative of a movie plotline than the other two. The darkness and maturity also provide for a much stronger and watchable movie, however the shortcomings are still too much for me to overlook and really be taken into the film and the world of Harry Potter.

I think it will now become very interesting as to how the stories progress with such obviously ageing actors in the lead roles and a new Director for the next movie and a new Screenwriter onboard after that. For me, I would like these changes to be for the better, although sticking with Alfonso Cuarón for another movie might have been a wise move.

We can but wait and see. As for the DVD, the same issues are in this DVD as before, the extras are difficult to get to and you never really know what each menu option is for. However, it does have a very cool style to the navigation, but still no audio commentary!

IMDB UK movie details.

My voting history on UK IMDB

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