Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

It’s Harry’s (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts and it brings a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin (David Thewlis). But there’s danger for Harry as convicted murderer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban prison and is coming after Harry.

I will preface this review by saying that not only is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban my favourite book in the series, it is also my favourite film. So potentially this “review” is a little biased.

There’s a lot of new, and important characters introduced in Prisoner of Azkaban. Both Lupin and Black have history with Harry’s parents, giving him an emotional connection to them both. The Dementors are also introduced and they are some scary creatures that from the outset you can see the affect they have on people. They can suck the soul out of someone and with their black cloaks and hooded figures, they are very much like the grim reaper.

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, there’s some dark and scary imagery in this film. In one of the first scenes where Harry is near a park, the creaking sounds of the swings and the roundabout moving in the wind instantly shows what sort of tone the film’s going to have. There’s some beautiful imagery in Prisoner of Azkaban too, the scene where Harry’s flying on Buckbeak the Hippogriff is stunning and the scenes with the Dementors circling Hogwarts as plants wither and die as they pass over them is incredibly eerie yet beautiful.

Everything about Prisoner of Azkaban is more mature. The young cast have grown up a bit since the last film and are more assured in their performances. The tone of the film is darker, gone are the bright colours of the previous two films, instead the landscapes are more muted and Quidditch is played in the rain.

There’s a lot of little things that I love about Prisoner of Azkaban. Like there’s a few scenes of Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint), Neville (Matthew Lewis), Seamus (Devon Murray), and Dean Thomas (Alfred Enoch) hanging out and having fun which makes them all feel like actual friends who’ve known each other for a few years now. I like how when the kids are wearing their uniforms, they aren’t all neat and tidy anymore, instead ties are loose, shirts are untucked, and sleeves are rolled up, making each character feel like a real teenager at school. Everyone’s hair is perfect book-hair too.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is brilliant as it has both a sense of wonder and an underlying layer of threat. It’s funny, the characters are becoming more well-rounded and the performances are getting better and better. It’s such a great film, and while there are changes from the book, it’s a great adaptation as it keeps the heart of it. 5/5.

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TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Creepy Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. In honour of Halloween, which I don’t really do anything for, here are some creepy books you might want to check out if you’re in the mood for a scare.

poePoe by J. Lincoln Fenn
There’s supernatural elements in Poe as well as the standard stuff of having a creepy old house full of secrets, a séance and a possible psychotic murderer. Poe may be creepy but it also does a great job in adding humour to make the creepiness bearable.

The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro
If you’ve seen the TV show, you’ll know what The Strain is about. The thing about the book is it starts with this plane that’s completely silent and the atmosphere in the airport is suffocating. From there it never really lets up, there’s the vampire like creature, the graphic description of peoples bodies changing – the whole thing really sets your teeth on edge.

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan HarstadFullSizeRender (48)
I don’t want to say too much about it because it’s one of those books that’s best to go in blind but it was another creepy book that gave me goosebumps. I liked the tension and sense of foreboding throughout the novel and when the weirdness starts to happen, you don’t know what to believe. (more…)