Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban

Hogwarts Year Three

Harry’s thrid year at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, begins to flush out more of Harry’s life before school and the story of his parents.  We get to meet his godfather, and suspected mass murderer, Sirius Black.  We learn more about Harry’s parents and the night they died and of course a lot of characters get fleshed out even more.

Plot Synopsis (There Be Spoilers):

harry-potter-and-the-prisoner-of-azkabanHarry inflates his aunt after losing control of his emotions.  He leaves home with his trunk, his owl and his wand and boards the Knight Train after getting his first glimpse of the huge black dog (the Grim) that will show up throughout the flick.  He ends up in Diagon Alley and after a meeting with the Minister of Magic, he is assured that he will not be dismissed from school.  At school the tales of Sirius Black escaping from prison are running rampant.  Harry finds out that his parents were betrayed by Black and that now that he has escaped, he might be heading to Hogwarts to attack Harry himself.  By the end of the movie, Lupin has been revealed to be a werewolf, Black has been exonerated, Ron’s rat is actually a dude, Snape has been knocked unconscious a couple of times and Harry is reunited with the closest person that he has to family.

The Good

Gary Oldman – Sirius Black – Gary Oldman is an incredible actor.  He was one of the saving graces for two out of the three Nolan-Batman movies for me.  Whenever you see him step on the screen you know he is going to bring his ‘A’ game.  Let’s look at what he has done in the past:  Sid & Nancy (WOW!!!), Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Scarlet Letter (he was the ONLY good part to this movie), Lost in Space (the only good thing in an abysmal movie) & The Book of Eli.  You gotta love Gary Oldman, yet again a British actor that can make anything he is in worth while and as Sirius Black takes the character from manic to dark, from happy to sad and back again across the rest of the films, even from beyond the grave.

Peter Pettigrew! And he’s in this room, right now! Come out, come out, Peter! Come out and play!

David Thewlis – Professor Lupin – He was in the movie Dragonheart back in the day and he takes on one of my favorite characters in the Potter-Verse.  Lupin is one of those characters that Rowling used to move the plot along and to act as a mentor to Harry, to explain lots of backstory and of course to supply Harry with tools that he will use throughout the rest of the book.  Lupin’s mix of tactics in the classroom and the sheer amount of knowledge that he has make him a geek in the halls of the wizards and of course, the turn at the end of the movie where you are not sure if he is good, bad or indifferent can only be pulled off effectively by a true actor.

The very first time I saw you Harry, I recognized you immediately. Not by your scar, by your eyes. They’re your mother, Lily’s. Yes, I knew her. You mother was there for me at a time when no one else was. Not only was she a singularly gifted witch, she was also an uncommonly kind woman. She had a way of seeing the beauty in others, even, and perhaps most especially, when that person couldn’t see it in themselves. Your father, James, however, had a certain, shall we say, talent for trouble. A talent, rumor has it, he passed onto you. You’re more like them then you know, Harry. In time you’ll come to see just how much.

Timothy Spall – Peter Pettigrew – You know an actor is spectacular when they are not on the screen for a huge amount of time but they become the villain for the short span they are on the screen.  Spall pops up for two scenes at the end of the film but he is the villain, he is the bad guy and his dialogue in the movie is very limited.  His characterization of Pettigrew, the characteristics he keeps from being a rat for years and the cringing, conniving way that he tries to get on Harry’s good side is a testament to his skills as an actor and to the director.

Harry, James wouldn’t have wanted me killed! Your dad… your dad would have spared me! He would have shown me mercy!

The Marauder’s Map – I love the idea and the thought of the Marauder’s Map from the books.  The way that the filmmaker and his crew of special effects artists brought it to life was perfect.  It looked just like I thought it would look.

“Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs are proud to present the Marauder’s Map.”

Michael Gambon – Dumbledore – I am a huge fan of Top Gear.  I am a huge fan of Michael Gambon as an actor. The fact that Top Gear named a turn of their track after this wonderful actor has increased my love of him.  There is no one else that could have taken over the reins after we lost Richard Harris.

The Bad

The Whomping Willow Conundrum – I find it hard to believe that there were only a few people in all of the history of Hogwarts that discovered the way to shut down the Whomping Willow.  I didn’t like it in the book and I don’t like it in the movie.  I think it would have been even more interesting if Neville had been the one to tell Harry and the gang about the secret knothole.

The Ugly

Not an Ugly again.  Yes, this makes the third movie in the series that does not have an Ugly.  Will it last… tune in next week to see.

This is one of my favorites.