Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (DVD, 2009, Spanish Audio Sticker)

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Hormones hit Hogwarts.

May 16, 2008 (Updated Jul 15, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:A Masterpiece in art, direction, music and acting. Six stars anyone?

Cons:Richard Harris died.

The Bottom Line: Do not worry, the franchise is in good hands. The kids are growing up, and the world looks nastier. Its just like real life.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. From the novel by J. K. Rowling.

It’s the third term at Hogwarts and the magic of hormones is right on schedule. Harry blows up at his despicable Aunt Marge (Vernon’s sister) and more to the point, blows her up, like a balloon! Frustrated, furious, sure he will be living on the run for breaking the underage restrictions on magic, Harry finds that there are bigger problems afoot than a floating fat lady. Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban Prison! The Dementors are determined to find him, and if they can get a taste of Harry’s misery, so much the better.

Harry learns about his parents past, Professor Lupin provides some. A member of the James Potter click, he tells Harry much about his parents.

Harry learns other things as well; how Sirius Black was put in Azkaban for betraying the Potters, his best friends. And Harry now has a new target for all his hatred.

But things are rarely what they seem, and this story runs twisted and deep.

This is the first time for three new faces of Harry Potter family. Alfonso Cuaron takes over the direction from Chris Columbus; Emma Thompson joins as the delightfully myopic Divinations teacher, Professor Cassandra Tralawney. Lastly, Michael Gambon takes over the role of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, following the death of the great Richard Harris. (How we shall miss you, sir.)

The story this time is substantially different in several ways. The first I will discuss is a difference that only applies to film. This is the first of the films where the book grew too long for easy translation. The first two did an admirable job stuffing in most details. In this one, it just is not possible. It is however, the only one that does not suffer from the shortening.

Another important difference; in every movie thus far, Harry has been facing Lord Voldemort, either the parasite attached to Professor Quirell, in The Sorcerer’s Stone, or the memory construct of Tom Riddle, in Chamber of Secrets. This is the first book where the main antagonist is not Lord Voldemort.

This movie also deals with misperception and misdirection. Harry thinks that the prisoner who escaped from Azkaban is his worst enemy, and vows to kill him. How little he knew of how things really stood.

Let’s face it; Harry comes from a decidedly deceptive stock. Of the four friends: Remus Lupin is a werewolf. James, Sirius and Peter are all unregistered ani-magi. James form, not brought out in the movie, was that of a Stag. That is why Harry’s Patronus takes that form. Sirius’s is a dog, and Peter’s a rat.

They did this to contain Remus when his lycanthropy was upon him. As nonhumans, they were safe from his attacks, and could keep him prisoner in the Shrieking Shack. The Shack is not haunted, that was a lie they started to cover the noises there on the nights of the full moon for the seven years Remus was at school.

Furthermore, they were the authors of the Marauder’s map. Moony=Lupin, for the moon that triggered his transformation, Wormtail=Pettigrew, the name suggesting the naked tail of a rat. Padfoot=Sirius Black, the soft paws of a dog. Note his name is the Dogstar Black, and his form, a black hound. Lastly Potter=Prongs, for the antlers of his Stag form. Now, here they are, a werewolf and three illegal shapeshifters, who create the ultimate sneaks tool, the Marauder’s Map. The password? “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” That really says everything you need to know about this lot in their school days.

Now, one is an escaped convict, and the other has lived for 12 years as a rat, after faking his own death. I have to say, this is a cliché firmly mired in the art of deception.

Even the real danger this year is disguised. It isn’t Sirius, it isn’t even Peter Pettigrew. If anything, it is misperception.

There is a perception that Buckbeak is dangerous, and attacked Draco Malfoy. The truth is Malfoy brought his attack down on himself because he would not listen to Hagrid about how to treat a hippogriff. Why? Because he has the misperception that he is better than he really is, and that Hagrid is stupid. This leads to Buckbeak being condemned to death.

There is a perception that Crookshanks is a mean cat because he hates Scabbers. No, he’s a brilliant familiar who recognizes a threat, and would deal with it if he could. But Ron misperceives Scabbers as a pet. This leads to a serious misunderstanding and bad feelings between the friends.

Sirius perceives Severus Snape as the awkward little boy he picked on back in school. He has no idea how dangerous Snape has become, or the lengths his hatred could drive him too. He almost got a Dementor’s kiss because he underestimated Snape. Frankly, if he’d pushed it, Snape could have snapped. You see, Sirius is under the misperception that he was not a bully. And Snape knows better.

There are other misperceptions; that Professor Tralawney is a fake, when in fact she has made two prophecies, that Hermione is always the voice of reason and caution, when in point of fact she has a wicked punch.
But the most dangerous misperception I saw was this: The wizarding world believes it can use the Dementors to do something positive.

There is an old saying, and I am sure Sirius would agree, but if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

There was one other piece of business that I think is really great. We have seen Harry use his invisibility cloak time and again as an ace in the hole. But now we see others. Hermione too possesses an artifact of potent magic, the Time Turner. And Fred and George have the most excellent Marauder’s Map, which has undoubtedly been floating around the school since Sirius and James graduated. Other people have aces too. Peter Pettigrew, disarmed and cornered, used his animagus knack to escape.

It makes you wonder what other toys and trinkets might be floating around the school. Neville has a remember-all. What nasty thing might Malfoy have?

As the kids grow up, the world gets bigger, and darker. Now, some of the gaps are being filled in. But as always, this simply raises more questions.

Still, these things truly make The Prisoner of Azkaban a stand out movie. It is possibly the only time when Harry Potter was not actually in mortal danger. What a nice twist.

Check out the other Harry Potter classics:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows Part I
Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows Part II


Read the Book!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows

Full Moon Theatre. Werewolves on the Silver Screen.



The Howling
(0)True Blood: Season Two.(O)Wolf Moon(O)Wild Country (O)The Wolfman (2010)(O)War Wolves(O)Wolf Man: The Legacy Collection
She-Wolf of London(O)Werewolf of London(O)The Twilight Saga: New Moon(O)Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
The Wolf Man(O)Dog Soldiers(O)Wolf(O)True Blood
An American Werewolf in Paris(O)Underworld: Rise of the Lycans(O)Underworld(O)An American Werewolf in London
Silver Bullet(O)The Brothers Grimm(O)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(O)The Brotherhood of the Wolf(O)Wolves of Kromer


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