Reviews of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
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HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN is pop filmmaking at its very best. Fast, funny, moving, exciting and fresh. the best of the franchise, hands down, no question, period full stop. It is still the only Harry Potter to aspire to being anything other than a sort of cinematic Cliff’s Notes. Alfonso Cuaron manages to capture the funky energy of Rowling’s world, the messy little details and the more than healthy respect for transgression, the willingness to occasionally do the wrong thing for the right reasons. I keep remembering the glorious charm used to activate a certain magical map: I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.
I keep wanting to slow the film down and look in the shadows for the little things that might be lurking (and they are there: at one point a tiny electric train can be spotted running through a big piece of astronomical machinery). Like the similar flourishes in Cuaron’s CHILDREN OF MEN, these aren’t slapped on to the movie in a desperate bid for attention; they feel completely integrated to the story, and help keep things interesting. This is no mean feat: the story is, when you think about it, pretty damned unwieldy. But Cuaron pulls it off, scoring some real triumphs along the way. A scene of panic in a room full of living paintings is particularly wonderful; there hasn’t been anything like it in the series before or since. I mean really: Cuaron’s film even features fascinating end titles.
Cuaron’s film also features some of the most moving moments in the series, especially those featuring Daniel Radcliffe’s scenes with David Thewlis and Gary Oldman. And any film that has glorious actors like Timothy Spall, David Thewlis and Gary Oldman onscreen at the same time, turning into animals, is my kind of movie.
A delight, from start to finish.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.