Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Quick Synopsis… In his third year at Hogwart’s, Harry faces extreme danger yet again when Voldemort sympathizer Sirius Black escapes from prison to hunt down Harry. In a bid for help, Harry turns to sympathetic Professor Lupin — but will it be enough?
- Have you seen the first two Harry Potter movies?
- Or read the books?
- If not, you may want to do that before you get to this one.
- As the third part of a seven part story, you could be Sirius-ly lost (see what I did there?) if you don’t know what happened in Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets.
- Lucky for you, I’ve already covered the first two movies on my Top 100 list, so you can click the above links to see what I had to say.
- Trust me when I say that those blog posts are in no way comprehensive and you really do yourself a disservice by not reading the books or seeing the movies for yourself.
- If you’re choosing to do one or the other, definitely read the books.
- If you don’t like to read, get the audiobooks. They’re fantastic, too.
- Anyway… we begin Prisoner of Azkaban with Harry practicing the lumos spell under the covers in his bedroom in the middle of the night.
- Um… how is he not getting in trouble for this?
- I know, Uncle Vernon keeps barging in, trying to catch him in the act.
- But I mean, how is he not in trouble with the Ministry of Magic for this blatant use of magic outside of Hogwarts?
- This has always bothered me.
- Aunt Marge comes to visit and wastes no time insulting Harry and his parents.
- Now, I know that Petunia didn’t exactly get along with Lily… but we do see in the last book that she does have certain regrets regarding her sister.
- So how can Petunia just sit there when Marge compares Lily to a defective breeding dog?
- Harry’s out of control, rage fueled magic causes Marge to inflate like a blimp and fly away, leading to Harry running away from the Dursleys’.
- Who can blame him?
- He still doesn’t get in trouble for using magic outside of Hogwarts. Forgiven by the Minister himself, no less.
- Harry even points out that he broke the law, even if it was an accident.
- But we’re just looking past that whole lumos thing from late last night?
- As it turns out, Harry running away from the only place he’s safe outside of Hogwarts is not the best idea.
- Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban prison and it’s believed that he’s coming after Harry.
- Of course, it’s all one big misunderstanding.
- But we do get introduced to arguably the best Defense Against the Dark Arts professor that Harry ever has.
- And, sure, Professor Lupin turns out to be a werewolf.
- But should that be a surprise? His name is Lupin, after all.
- We are also introduced to the concept of time turners and time travel in the Wizarding World, which becomes a massive plot device in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play which I’m still not sure I consider canon in the Harry Potter story.
- It’s because the play completely disregards the rules of time travel that are set up in Prisoner of Azkaban. That inconsistency bothers me.
- Once the truth about Sirius Black is revealed, I think it’s important to point something out about Snape.
- I’m sure this has been pointed out by countless Harry Potter fans and theorists all over the internet.
- We spent the vast majority of seven books and eight movies questioning the loyalty of Severus Snape.
- But even after Harry used expelliarmus against him in the Shrieking Shack, Snape’s first instinct is to protect these students when they’re threatened by Lupin in werewolf form.
- He puts himself between the kids and the wolf, acting as a human shield.
- I dare you to question Severus Snape’s true allegiance after that action.
- After Richard Harris’ untimely passing following Chamber of Secrets, this marks Michael Gambon’s first outing as Professor Dumbledore, a role he would continue through the end of the series.
- Now, I don’t think that Gambon does a bad job of playing Dumbledore. It’s just that Harris was everything I pictured Dumbledore to be when I was reading the books.
- When I re-read the books, it’s still Richard Harris that I picture. It’s still his voice I hear.
- After the first two movies, which were clearly marketed to be aimed a young children, this one takes a vastly different tone.
- A much darker tone.
- Part of that is the choice in directors.
- Beyond that, it’s a sign that, as Harry gets older, the things he faces become more and more deadly.
- On that cheery note, it’s really a movie you should watch.
- It’s really a series you should read.
Next we’ll take a brief break from the Wizarding World for a suspense thriller that’s a little more grounded. Number 50 on my list is the Alfred Hitchcock classic, Rear Window.