Just in time for the start of summer vacation, the crew behind the Harry Potter phenomenon has produced another movie. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third installment in the Harry Potter series. The movie’s heroes, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) are now thirteen and in their third year at the Hogwart’s School of Magic. Putting an ominous damper on the start of the school year is the escape of a murderer, Sirius Black, from the Azkaban Prison. Black is the first person to ever escape and is believed to be extremely dangerous as he was a devoted follower of the evil Lord Voldemort (you know who) when he was in power. It is also believed that Black betrayed Harry’s parents, telling Voldemort where they were hiding, and is out to finish what he started by killing Harry. Like always, it is Harry’s job, with the help of his friends, to get his life out of jeopardy and find the truth about the situation at hand.
The second Harry Potter movie put me to sleep. Honestly, I took a nap in the theater. Luckily, I can also honestly say that this movie is much, much better. I really feel that the director did a great job bringing the story to life in a way that is visually interesting and also pulls all the details together. The resolution to Harry’s problem involves time travel and the scenes are put together so that the action is seamless and makes sense.
This movie, under new direction, has a different feel than the other two. It contains more interesting shots and angles. The way the movie is visually set up really reflects the magical and dark tone of a lot of the subject matter.
The acting is pretty good as well. Since most of the cast is so young, I did not expect any Academy Award worthy performances, but the actors are maturing in their craft as the series progresses and their work is enjoyable. Emma Watson in particular has really shown a change for the positive in her portrayal of Hermione Granger. The character appears as less of a “know-it-all” and more of an intelligent individual.
As far as the writing is concerned, the Harry Potter book series provides the movie with an already developed and loved story. The writers for the screenplay have to be careful about what they do with the text and have thus far stayed very true to the books. Since the two are so close, it is even arguable which is better, the book or the movie.
Overall, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a good movie to get the kids out of the house for the day. It is entertaining, interesting, and well done for its genre.
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