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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 2004

This third film in the franchise is darker and edgier but there's loads of fun with a host of ghosts, ghouls and gadgets. Harry and co must deal with dangerous convict Sirius Black who has escaped from Azkaban prison and is on his way to Hogwarts school. Wands at the ready!

Starring:
Daniel Radcliffe, Richard Griffiths
Runtime:
2 hours, 21 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A lot of people are less than enthusiastic about Alfonso Cuaron's take on The Prisoner of Azkaban, and I must admit that I too was a little displeased at first. There are some interesting--some would say unnecessary--changes to the geography of Hogwarts (a new location for Hagrid's cabin, and the clock tower in the front of the school, for instance), as well a whole new directorial style that perhaps threw some people off.
But it seems to be the creative license taken with the plot that has caused the most discomfort for die hard fans of this imaginative and playful series. This movie is easily the least faithful to the letter of the book so far, and many fans can't seem to get past that.
I say it is least faithful to the letter, but in spirit it is right on target. This is the story where Harry begins to really delve into his past, learning more than he ever knew about his parents. This is facilitated by the appearance of Professor Lupin, an old school chum of Harry's father, and the escape of Sirius Black from Azkaban, who's relationship to Harry I shall not divulge for those few who have been in a coma for the last several years.
In essence, this is a coming of age story, and Cuaron really hits the nail on the head in this respect. His treatment of Harry's reaction to learning the connection between himself and Black is brilliantly played (I love the shots filmed from under the invisibility cloak in the Three Broomsticks), and Harry's relationship with Lupin was also spot on. And let's not forget the clever asides displaying Ron & Hermione's budding romance (surely you can see that one coming?!).
The casting, as usual, seemed to have tapped into the collective imagination of the fans. Who better to play Professor Trelawney than Emma Thompson?!
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Format: VHS Tape
This film completely puts the first two in the shade. The change of director works very successfully and the main thing we notice is that the schoolwizards aren't constantly in uniform! Yes, we actually get to see Harry et al in jeans, hoodies and trainers. The characters are a great deal more rounded with much more humour and feeling. The CGI is stunning, even when used for mundane background action. I only have two complaints about this excellent film; the first is that I just cannot get away from Hermione (Emma Watson) and her complete overacting. It is something which bugs me like an itch through the whole film. The other problem is that if you have read the book, there are several glaring plot omissions which are very noticeably absent. It doesn't explain how Lupin became what he is, who made the Marauders' Map, or why Harry's Patronus is a stag. It also omits the very satisfying part where Harry's Hogsmeade permission slip has been signed. There are others besides and, while I am by no means a Potter nut,their absence was a pain in the bum because they were all relevant and I was very surprised that they were left out. However, this is thoroughly enjoyable and along with a cracking story it gives us a much more expansive view of life at Hogwarts and even a closer look at the surrounding grounds.
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Format: DVD
Yes this film is better than the first two, the direction, pace of the film, special effects and acting are of a higher standard. It also feels a little more grown up now, the lead characters are a few years older now and have adjusted to their roles, and the story of this one is much more darker and menacing. I have not read any of the books, but think the films are great and are getting better one by one. Featuring a strong UK cast this is a shown piece of British film making and acting. A highly enjoyable film but probably not suitable for very young children. It features talking shrunken voodoo heads, and a werewolf transformation as well as the ghoulish Dementors.
The DVD comes with a ton of extras varying from pointless to rather good. You can have a tour of Honeydukes, and professor Lupin's classroom. A very bad interactive game to catch the rat. Slightly better is the portrait quest game which is quite interactive. There is also a memory game featuring scenes from the film. A trailer for the game as well as trailers for all 3 films. A short 5 min feature on the animals in the film. One of the better extras is a 15 min look at the creation of Buckbeak and the look of the Dementors, showing the problems encountered and special effects used for them. There are 5 deleted scenes which don't vary to much from the final version. The best features are a 12 min talk with the director and J.K .Rowling giving an insight into the design of the overall look of the film and locations. Then there are interviews with the main characters in the film totaling 43 mins with Johny Vaughan and the Shrunken head,Lenny Henry. Which although fairly short on each group and not that insightful of the film, is still fairly fun and a good extra. Overall a great package for Potter fans and those who love magical films.
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Format: DVD
I didn't see this movie at the cinema and only recently finally got the DVD, and I must say it was disappointing. Yes, the photography and "artistic" quality of the film was an improvement on the other two and some of the humour was funnier - Ron's nightmare about spiders and Dursley's cringing at his sister's inflation, for example - but in its failure to follow some of the, I think, essential intricacies and subtleties of J K Rowling's book it may have done irreversible damage to the movie franchise.
Don't get me wrong, this is still a good film: had I not read an HP book it might well be my favourite of the three, but knowing what's to come I forsee some problems for future films. Prisoner of Azkaban, JKR's favourite of her books, is pivotal to what happens later and as such has vital plot points which should have been rendered more faithfully by the movie.
I know, I know. Many say the film is "faithful to the spirit of the book" and "if you put everything in it would be six hours long" etc.etc. But to include, eg., the fact that prisoners eventually go mad in Azkaban and the reason why, uniquely, Black does not, Harry having difficulty repelling dementor-shaped boggarts under Lupin's tuition because of his secret desire to hear his mother's voice as he passes out, the identity of the creators of the Marauder's Map and why their singular abilities were developed, the purpose served by the Shrieking Shack and how it got its reputation, etc. Fifteen minutes, half an hour at most of these little explanations put in here and there would, for me, have made a far more satisfying film. As it was, I felt like someone expecting a feast and being served only watercress sandwiches.
Alonso Cuaron is, no doubt, a fine director.
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