Harry Potter is back in this somewhat darker entry in the series about
the young wizard who is destined to confront the evil Lord Voldemort.
Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson,
and Rupert Grint
A murderer named Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban
Prison and is apparently searching for Harry Potter in order to kill him.
Black, we are told, is a sworn follower of Lord Voldemort and will try
to extinguish Potter's life if he is not stopped. To try and re-capture
him, Dementors, soul-stealing guards who are intent on capturing their
prey, are assigned to Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As
this plays out, of course, Harry's also trying to get through his third
year at school and that means dealing with Professor Lupin (David Thewles),
the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and putting up with Snape
(Alan Rickman) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton).
This is the first film in the series not directed by Chris Columbus.
Handling the duties this time around is Alfonso Cuaron, who was previously
better known for the 2002 coming-of-age road trip movie, Y tu Mama
That film was quite frank in its handling of sexual issues and many feared
that Cuaron's involvement with the Harry Potter series might somehow corrupt
it. Quite the contrary, as Cuaron brings a newfound maturity to the proceedings
while still retaining the magical qualities of the first two entries.
Cuaron's take on the Potter universe is just fine.
However, the relative short length of the first two books allowed them
to be made into more faithful film adaptations. Because of the length
of The Prisoner of Azkaban and the constraints of film, some sacrifices
had to be made to cram as much onto the screen as possible. Some of the
choices might anger Potter-purists, but for the casual movie-goer the
movie is still quite enjoyable although it might inspire some to pick
up the books to get a better understanding of the situations as the remaining
books are even longer and will probably be even more difficult to film
That said, the Harry
Potter film series remains incredibly entertaining
and involving and this entry is only the slightest bit less satisfying
than the first two films.
Oldman says he accepted the role of Sirius Black because he "needed
the work". He hadn't acted for over a year. His last film was
Sin, which was filmed in 2002. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)