Third instalment in the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) have returned to Hogwarts for their third year, but there is a shadow hanging over Harry: dangerous serial killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from the Wizards' prison, the Azkaban Fortress - and he wants revenge for the death of his master, Voldemort, who Harry defeated 13 years earlier. For Harry's protection, Azkaban has sent an army of soul-sucking Dementors to guard Hogwarts from a possible attack by Black - but they turn out to be as much of a threat to Harry as Black himself. As myth, magic and teenage hormones combine to weave their dark spell, Harry uncovers a few more crucial secrets about his mysterious past. The supporting cast includes Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, David Thewlis and Timothy Spall, and the film is directed by Alfonso Cuarón.
Some movie-loving wizards must have cast a magic spell on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because it's another grand slam for the Harry Potter franchise. Demonstrating remarkable versatility after the arthouse success of Y Tu Mamá También, director Alfonso Cuarón proves a perfect choice to guide Harry, Hermione, and Ron into treacherous puberty as the now 13-year-old students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry face a new and daunting challenge: Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban prison, and for reasons yet unknown (unless, of course, you've read J.K. Rowling's book, considered by many to be the best in the series), he's after Harry in a bid for revenge. This dark and dangerous mystery drives the action while Harry (the fast-growing Daniel Radcliffe) and his third-year Hogwarts classmates discover the flying hippogriff Buckbeak (a marvelous CGI creature), the benevolent but enigmatic Professor Lupin (David Thewlis), horrifying black-robed Dementors, sneaky Peter Pettigrew (Timothy Spall), and the wonderful advantage of having a Time-Turner just when you need one. The familiar Hogwarts staff returns in fine form (including the delightful Michael Gambon, replacing the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore, and Emma Thompson as the goggle-eyed Sybil Trelawney), and even Julie Christie joins this prestigious production for a brief but welcome cameo. Technically dazzling, fast-paced, and chock-full of Rowling's boundless imagination (loyally adapted by ace screenwriter Steve Kloves), The Prisoner of Azkaban is a Potter-movie classic. --Jeff Shannon
In this adaptation of the third book in J.K. Rowling's best-selling series, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his best friends Hermoine (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), must face the dangerous convict Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), who has ties with their enemy Lord Voldemort. The spectacular fantasy-adventure action of the earlier movies (SORCERER'S STONE and CHAMBER OF SECRETS) is once again presented here, as Alfonso Cuaron lends his unique directorial style to recreating Rowling's magical story on celluloid. A scarier, darker story than the first two, this one concerns the mystery behind why Sirius Black is tracking Harry Potter. Slowly Harry and his friends unravel the clues, and learn secrets about Harry's parents that had all along been hidden from him. Meanwhile, because the deranged Sirius poses a threat to all students at Hogwarts, the school enlists a group of daunting black ghosts called Dementors to stand guard. These flying ghouls have a powerful effect on Harry and frighten him to his core. Yet even these chilling obstacles don't dampen the spirits of the youthful wizards, who meet Buckbeak--a giant flying hawk-horse creature, welcome a new dark arts teacher (David Thewlis) and a new divination teacher (Emma Thompson), and are still determined to beat the rival Slytherin team in Quidditch. HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN offers a visually stunning interpretation of the revered book, and will thrill viewers with its special effects, it's penetrating John Williams score, and its superb performances. Note to customers: There is a trailer for The Polar Express which link into the start of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban. --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.