22 February 2014

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 2004
  • Director: Alfonso Cuarón
  • Based on the book by J.K. Rowling
  • Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Emma Thompson, Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths, Harry Melling, Mark Williams, Julie Walters, Matthew Lewis, Tom Felton, Devon Murray, Alfie Enoch, Luke Youngblood, Danielle Tabor, David Bradley, Bonnie Wright, Jamie Waylett, Josh Hirdman, Chris Rankin,  James and Oliver Phelps, Lee Inglebee, Robert Hardy, Timothy Spall
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Daniel Radcliffe  The Woman in Black, December Boys, Extras, David Copperfield
    • Emma Watson – My Week with Marilyn
    • Rupert Grint  Driving Lessons
    • Gary Oldman – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Prick Up Your Ears, Sid and Nancy, Friends, Léon, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Bok of Eli, The Dark Knight, The Scarlet Letter, Immortal Beloved, Romeo Is Bleeding, True Romance, Dracula, JFK, Nil by Mouth (director)
    • Robbie Coltrane – From Hell, Henry V, Black Adder, Tutti Frutti, Absolute Beginners
    • Maggie Smith -  Hotel Marigold, A Room with a View, Gosford Park, Keeping Mum, David Copperfield, Tea with Mussolini, Richard III, Sister Act, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
    • Alan Rickman – Alice in Wonderland, Snow Cake, Sweeney Todd, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Love Actually, Michael Collins, Sense and Sensibility, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. The January Man, Die Hard, Romeo and Juliet
    • Michael Gambon – The King’s Speech, The Book of Eli, Brideshead Revisited, Cranford, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Being Julia, Angels in America, Gosford Park, Longitude, Sleepy Hollow, Mary Reilly
    • Emma Thompson – The Boat that Rocked, Brideshead Revisited, Nanny McPhee, An Education, Last Chance Harvey, Stranger than Fiction, Angels in America, Love Actually, Wit, The Remains of the Day, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Peter’s Friends, Howards End, Dead Again, Fortunes of War, Impromptu, Tutti Frutti
    • Fiona Shaw – The Butcher Boy, Jane Eyre, My Left Foot,
    • Richard Griffiths - The Merry Wives of Windsor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sleepy Hollow, Gandhi, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Comedy of Errors, Withnail and I
    • Harry Melling – Merlin (Gilli)
    • Mark Williams – Hustle, Merlin (Goblin’s voice), Stardust, Tristram Shandy, Shackleton, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith, Shakespeare in Love
    • Julie Walters - Billy Elliot, Educating Rita, Mamma Mia, Driving Lessons, Calendar Girls, The Young Jane Austin, Wah-Wah, Titanic Town, Prick Up Your Ears
    • David Bradley – Another Year, Nicholas Nickleby, Our Mutual Friend, Prick Up Your Ears, A Family at War
    • David Thewlis – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Kingdom of Heaven, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith, The Big Lebowski, Naked, Life is Sweet,
    • Timothy Spall – The King’s Speech, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, All or Nothing, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Our Mutual Friend, Hamlet, Secrets and Lies, Life is Sweet, Gothic, Quadrophenia
    • Robert Hardy – Shackleton, Sense and Sensibility, Frankenstein, Middlemarch, Twelfth Night, How I Won the War
    • Lee Inglebee – Ever After
  • Why? It’s Harry Potter!
  • Seen: Four or five times. Now: February 21, 2014
       Harry is angry and after blowing Aunt Marge up into a balloon for insulting his parents he rages off into the night.   That wild bus ride to and in London in the middle of the night is one of the funniest episodes in the whole eight film series.
       But the time is definitely darker now, even if it’s sometimes shown in lighter forms like the choir singing “Something wicked this way comes” and a Quidditch game in a storm.
       The dementors stalk Hogwarts looking for the mass murderer and traitor Sirius Black who has escaped from the dreaded prison Azkaban. The dementors don’t kill you, they take your soul. Everyone feels chilled and dreadfully sad in their presence; it turns out that Harry is especially susceptible – he collapses completely.
       The trio are now teenagers in jeans and hoodies and trainers. Ron and Hermione are starting to show small signs of romance while Hermione and Harry are establishing a firm sister-brother relationship. Hermione has more authority now while Harry is not only angry but also sadder, deeper and more in need of learning about his parents.  Which he begins to do now for the first time through the new Defence against the Dark Arts professor Remus Lupin, sympathetically played by David Thewliss. He may be a werewolf but he’s a good man and finally Harry has an adult he can relate to.  The emergence of his godfather Sirius Black (was the name chosen deliberately to match the new tone of seriousness?) as a hero who had tried to save Lily and James, not betray them as most people had believed, also adds depth to Harry’s developing sense of roots and identity and longing.
       It’s an emotionally turbulent film, more so than the first two.  The addition of the ditzy but spooky Emma Thompson as the prophesy professor, as well as Thewliss and Gary Oldman – all three of whom are at the very top of the acting elite and personal favourites of mine – only serves to broaden and deepen what promises – from the perspective of back in the time before the rest of the films had been made – to become a monumental cultural icon equal to the novels.
       Something wicked – and even more brilliant – this way indeed comes.

7 * of 7


  1. Oh, how can you've only seen these films five or six times? I know them by heart and I couldn't agree more about the brilliance of the actors!!!!! Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith AND Gary Oldman, I mean HOW could anything go wrong?!?! But I have to say, even though I love the feel and the soul of this film more than HP 1 and HP 2 I just can't get over the fact that they changed soooo much from the books. I loved the propper Hogwarts feeling Columbus made sure was in both of the first films and a can't help but to wonder how the rest of the films had turned out if he had done them all (probably more true to the story if you ask me). And I just can't get over the fact that they skipped the warlock outfits and dressed everybody up like muggels, it wouldn't alter anything except make the film so much more awesome to see if the stayed true to the books on that one. And they could have made a scarier werewolf (I'm just saying) But I love love love all of the HP films and the books even more, keep up the good work, I'll be waiting for you to comment the final two films

    1. Just give me a few more years and I'll catch up to you :-) The eternal question of film versus book is one that I have determinedly ignored this time, partly because it is huge but also because I'm a believer in allowing films to stand on their own. Not that I don't agree with you that an awful lot is left out of all the films but...Even J.K. Rowlings is quite satisfied, at least she has said so in interviews. And she was involved in the making of the films. It is interesting though to speculate on how the others would have turned out if Columbus had directed them all. On the other hand they just get better and better so even that's a hard one to answer. Anyway, I've just posted two more. Three left to see...

  2. Yea, I know what you mean, and if it's good enough for JK it should be good enough for me, but when it comes to HP I'm a bit silly. I suppose I love the books so much and have longed to see a lot of the things from them come to life in the films and when they cut them out I get disappointed. But like you say, they do get better and better :)