At least one of the Harry Potter films were bound to sneak its way onto the list so I figured I might as well get the inevitable done and over with; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón (A Little Princess, Pan’s Labyrinth, Gravity)
Screenplay: Steve Kloves
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson etc.
Running Time: 142 minutes
Adaptation: J.K. Rowling’s novel of the same name.
The third film in the Harry Potter series is probably the lightest of all the eight films. It sees Harry being able to enjoy being a regular thirteen year old famous wizard, as he learns about his parents past, and slowly starts to understand the future that lays in store for him. Best summed up in the words of Ronald Bilius Weasley;
Why I love it
There is an almost equal divide between people that love this film and people that hate it. Obviously I can’t even begin to fathom the understanding of the latter so I’ll just stay in my lane and tell you why I love the film so much. Almost like a play the film can be broken down into three or four acts, which I think is a very effective way to concisely tell this story as there are so many strands in play. It also means that you are so focused on the act you’re watching, that you almost forget that you know what’s going to happen, until that next act begins.
Music is never really something that I pay attention to in a film unless it’s that good. The soundtrack to this film is definitely that good. It takes you on a journey the same way the visuals do, and they work in such harmony that you know one just doesn’t make sense without the other – my heart literally swells with the music at some points – Kudos to you John Williams. Kudos to you.
I understand that a film -annoyingly- cannot display all aspects of the book, but what I do love is the breadcrumbs left throughout the narrative for those who have read the book to enjoy. It’s a little melancholy as The Prisoner of Azkaban in many ways marks the last year of ignorant bliss for Harry, Ron and Hermione. Yes they know Lord Voldermort is a constant threat, but after this film, events become too real, so it’s nice to just have everyone happy and safe one last time.
Why you should watch it
Even if you’ve never seen a Harry Potter film (or picked up the book), you can easily watch this as a stand alone movie – with perhaps only the odd explanation needed here and there. There is no Voldermort, no dark force working directly against our ragtag teen team, it’s just a year in their life watching them learn, grow and become the witches and wizards they’re destined to be. Finally the film is far from dull no matter how old you are as there are so many things going on; mysteries to solve, time travel to wrap your head around, vengeance – it’s a bloody roller-coaster. Also as the main cast is slightly older than they are in the first two films it’s easier to relate to them, and not be blinded by thinking this is a film for children.
How many times I’ve see it
Countless – Duh.
I think why I can watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban more than the others is because (like I said before) it feels like it’s own film, it’s a quick delve into the world of Harry Potter especially as sadly, I rarely have time to sit and have a Harry Potter movie marathon.