Friday, June 04, 2004

Why Should You Care About My Opinion?

Answer: You shouldn't. But read this film review anyway.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban

What's Good: All of the kids, but especially Radcliffe, Watson and Grint, continue to improve as actors; while the adults, Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith among others, maintain a level of excellence. The story-aspect is the most compelling of the three films thus far and the special effects are impressive as always. Plus, unlike the previous two films (directed by Chris Columbus in a pristine, hands-off fashion resulting in Home Alone meets Harry Houdini) this one has style. Director Alfonso Cuaron leaves his mark all over the Harry Potter franchise.

What's Not So Good: Director Alfonso Cuaron leaves his mark all over the Harry Potter franchise. Too much of a good thing can be bad and that's what happens here. Trading style for substance, Cuaron cut out large chunks of the story to focus on what he saw as the prevailing theme: Harry's transition from child to adolescent. The result is a leaner film and better looking film, but one that ultimately may hurt the franchise. Cuaron leaves several elements key to the overall story (the story behind the Marauder’s Map, the relationship between Lupin, James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew, etc.) to be explained in the fourth movie: The Goblet Of Fire, adapted from the book of the same name, which is already nearly three times as long The Prisoner Of Azkaban.

This Was Cool: The hippogriff looked almost real.

This Should Have Been Cooler: Harry's patronus spell, which produces a stag composed of light. Sure it looked good but it never did anything.

This Just Frightened Me: The dementors searching the Hogwarts Express.

Overall: This is a movie definitely worth seeing, and the best of the Harry Potter series thus far. However, that title is earned almost by default, due to the fact that Columbus never really tried to do anything with the franchise. Cuaron, on the other hand, tries hard, often too hard in fact, to leave his mark. The ideal director for these films would be a mix of both Cuaron and Columbus, with equal parts of Cuaron's style and Columbus's respect for the framework laid by the adapted work.

Additionally: JK Rowling needs to get to work, and fast. These Harry Potter books are like crack and if I don't get the sixth one soon I'm going to go nuts.