Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, David Thewlis
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie director: Alfonso Cuaron
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie rating: 3.5 stars
For fans of the Harry Potter world (books and movies included), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban might not seem like the greatest read out of the seven books. But as far as I am concerned, it is safe to say that the film version might just be the best of the lot. Not only is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the most cinematic of all the movies, but it also shows Harry’s character development accurately, therefore retaining the essence of the storyline, which cannot be said of other films in the series.
I think this was possible because the material was dealt with carefully by acclaimed filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron. He later went on to win Best Director Oscar for Gravity and Roma. However, Cuaron never really wanted to direct Prisoner of Azkaban in the first place. When the director was approached for the project, he was being celebrated for delivering an entertaining and insightful feature called Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001). He even admittedly made fun of the films and the books during the time. But a conversation with director Guillermo del Toro changed his opinion.
“I talked with Guillermo, as I always do, and he says, ‘What’s happening? Any projects going on? I said, ‘I’m going for ‘Harry Potter,’ can you believe it? And I even made fun of it. I hadn’t read the books or seen the films. And then he looks upset with me. He called me flaco, that means skinny [in English],” Cuaron told Vanity Fair in an interview following the success of Roma.
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So we now have del Toro to thank for. The third book might have been one of the toughest to adapt out of the seven books — its visual effects coupled with the emotional growth of the characters must have been that much harder to bring to life, especially considering how successful the first two movies had been. So, to follow it up with a third hit would have been a definite pressure. However, the result was beyond brilliant. And I can say this with certainty as I am familiar with not only the films, but the source as well. It was crafted with care and precision. Prisoner of Azkaban was the right mix of complex and comprehensible. As a viewer, it reached out to the adult and the adolescent in me.
Hollywood Rewind: Mortal Kombat | Bridges of Madison County | Edward Scissorhands | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | She’s Gotta Have It | Ever After | The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
What was also interesting was that the performances and the story had come of age together, resulting in a wonderful coincidence. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint seemed to have made friends with the parts they were playing, and that showed. The camera work by Michael Seresin was stunning and the background score by John Williams made everything better.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is available for streaming on YouTube.
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