Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (movie review)
I’ve complained about how the time travel in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban kinda ruins the entire series on at least two occasions, but it’s still my favorite movie in the entire collection… oh. Spoilers… sorry.
There’s a lot to like about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The directing and photography work perfectly with the story elements and the young actors really come into their own on this third time out. I also love that Harry finally uses a spell to save the day. He’s not just brave in this one; it turns out, Harry really is a powerful wizard who is not to be trifled with, and the Dementors find out first hand that you don’t want to be on the wrong side of Harry’s wand. I love when Harry realizes the paradox at the end; I thought Hermione figured it out as well – she says, “Harry, listen to me – no one is coming.” I thought she meant, “Get down there, it was you the whole time!” Oh well.
Time travel is a tricky thing (see those two occasions I mentioned earlier) – I guess this gets resolved in the film by giving you the appearance (without actually explaining) that the time turner is a one way trip and further in the novels that all of the time turners get destroyed at some point… some how. But the presence of the time turners annoy me. When we see Dumbledore fight “He Who Must Not Be Named” in The Order of the Phoenix, it looks like Dumbledore could probably beat Voldemort in a fight and later, when we learn more about Dumbledore in The Deathly Hallows, it’s clear that Dumbledore has beaten powerful wizards before, so, if he knows exactly where and when Voldemort is going to be (you know, the Potter’s house, Halloween night…), why not show up there with a zillion dark wizard catchers and hand ass? I appreciate it’s a one way trip, but they seemed to have found out about that incident almost immediately, so how much time would they really lose – a few days? It’s worth losing a week to beat magic Hitler!
There are some truly terrible exposition scenes in this movie:
-the one at the bar (the Three Broomsticks?) where McGonagall explains that Sirius Black is Harry’s Godfather
never start a conversation in any story with, “Now, tell me what this is all about.”
-the one in the great hall where they newspaper explains Sirius was sited in Dove Town
the acting in this scene… the only thing worse is the dialogue
The best thing you can saw about these two scenes is that they’re short.
Still, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the series at it’s finest. Despite the lapses in logic and some truly terrible exposition, the movie is beautiful to look at and does a great job of making you care about the characters. I highly recommend this one, even for non-Potter fans.