Top critical review
19 people found this helpful
on 30 November 2004
I went to see this film at the cinema with high expectations...and was sadly disappointed. The film is beautifully shot, with some impressive scenery, but the story is not worth talking about. I have read and enjoyed all of the Harry Potter books so far, and particularly Prisoner of Azkaban, as this is the point at which the characters start to grow and the story gets darker. Frankly, if I hadn't read the book, I would have been mystified by the plot of this film. I have never understood why some directors take a perfectly good story, add completely pointless bits, and cut out others that are essential. There was absolutely no mention of Sirius, James, Remus and Peter having been friends at Hogwarts, and although there is a shot of Harry and his stag Patronus, there is no explanation. The ending of the film is disjointed and muddled, and yet the time could have been taken to explain clearly if some of the more pointless scenes from the beginning had been removed. The 'werewolf' was frankly laughable, and was I the only person that found Lupin severely creepy?! Michael Gambon was good, as was to be expected, but again, the direction was jerky and muddled - Dumbledore appeared from time to time, said something incomprehensible, and disapeared. There was a certain similarity with Chinese fortune cookies.
The thing that really surprised me was that there was any hair gel left in the world after they had 'made up' their young cast. When did Harry's friends go all indie??
Several questions about the castle itself: a) where did that pendulum come from? b) where did that covered walkway come from? c) when did Hagrid move house? and d) Since when is Hogwarts on the edge of a valley? The Whomping Willow seems also to have uprooted itself overnight.
There was little development on any of the main themes. Snape was virtually absent from this latest offering, which I believe is a shame, as Alan Rickman is a wonderfully sinister figure, although he does bear a certain resemblance to Trent Reznor after the pies. I think that the next film may be difficult to make after this, as somehow, in all the scenery, the plot ran away and no one noticed.