Thursday, July 01, 2004

Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban Review

I love Harry Potter. And ironically I got into it by watching the movies. Go figure. One I had read all the books I realized how insubstantial the movies were in comparison. So when I heard that The Prisoner of Azkaban was going to be directed by the very indie Alfonso Cuarón, I was pretty stoked.

This movie is Good. You can really feel the difference between the previous two films directed by Chris Columbus and Cuarón’s. PoA is much more focused, smaller, and has a number of differences from the book, and definitely benefits from that. Instead of wasting time on gee-wiz cool stuff and trying to cram every possible thread from the book into the film Cuarón spends a lot of time building character and atmosphere. And what an atmosphere. Although this is a kids movie, it’s the most sophisticated and dark kids movie I’ve ever seen. The Knight bus scene is practically insane. Even the scoring has changed with John Williams bringing a much more Medieval sound to the music this time.

All the cast is back reprising their previous roles. The kids are a little older this time and all the guys are taller more gangly as only the British can be. My favorite actors were Alan Rickman, in the smartest casting EVER, as Professor Snape, and new guy David Thewlis as Professor Lupin. Gary Oldman is great as Sirius Black. Its too bad that he doesn’t get to show up and do his crazy thing more often. I wish Warner Bros. would put out extended versions of the movies like Peter Jackson does with The Lord Of The Rings, and especially for this movie since Alfonso Cuarón did such a brilliant job.