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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2-Disc Widescreen Edition) (Bilingual)
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Some movie-loving wizards must have cast a magic spell on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because it's another grand slam for the Harry Potter franchise. Demonstrating remarkable versatility after the arthouse success of Y Tu Mamá También, director Alfonso Cuarón proves a perfect choice to guide Harry, Hermione, and Ron into treacherous puberty as the now 13-year-old students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry face a new and daunting challenge: Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban prison, and for reasons yet unknown (unless, of course, you've read J.K. Rowling's book, considered by many to be the best in the series), he's after Harry in a bid for revenge. This dark and dangerous mystery drives the action while Harry (the fast-growing Daniel Radcliffe) and his third-year Hogwarts classmates discover the flying hippogriff Buckbeak (a marvelous CGI creature), the benevolent but enigmatic Professor Lupin (David Thewlis), horrifying black-robed Dementors, sneaky Peter Pettigrew (Timothy Spall), and the wonderful advantage of having a Time-Turner just when you need one. The familiar Hogwarts staff returns in fine form (including the delightful Michael Gambon, replacing the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore, and Emma Thompson as the goggle-eyed Sybil Trelawney), and even Julie Christie joins this prestigious production for a brief but welcome cameo. Technically dazzling, fast-paced, and chock-full of Rowling's boundless imagination (loyally adapted by ace screenwriter Steve Kloves), The Prisoner of Azkaban is a Potter-movie classic. --Jeff Shannon
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"The Philosopher's Stone" takes its sweet and glorious time introducing us and Harry to the wizarding world, but the second film, "The Chamber of Secrets," may be the best of the "Columbus Trilogy," as it launches us into a dark mystery from Hogwarts' past and contains the brilliant Polyjuice Potion scene. Alfonso Cuarón directs the third film, "The Prisoner of Azkaban," which is the best of the novels but the movie strays a little too much from the story. It fails to provide important information about the Marauders while inserting pointless scenes with shrunken heads or the Whomping Willow killing harmless birds. It's quirkiness for the sake of being quirky and that's never a good thing. The film also suffers from looking also overly processed and contrasty. Still, the climactic scene with the Time Turner is brilliantly executed (no pun or spoiler intended) and more than makes up for Cuarón's hubris. All three films represent a great achievement in cinema and will remain timeless family classics.
The sets, the feel, the texture, and the mythos get a major facelift here. All for the better since this is the story which moves everyone along into the journey to adulthood. I have heard some fans dislike this film, feeling the magic of what came before has been yanked out. They do not comprehend that this was J.K.'s plan from the start, and this design is being followed here as well.
I often wondered how the subtlety of Hermione's cramped schedule would be translated to the big screen. Hollywood does not always do well with this kind of story point, since they have no trust in the audience. While reading Prisoner, I figured out what Hermione was doing with time, and having her pop in and out of scenes, much to Ron's astonishment, was quite fun. It should be pointed out between time travel in Prisoner and a larger on the inside handbag in Hallows, I can now categorically state that Hermione is from Gallifrey. It all fits. And this would be the best fanfic ever.
I was also very happy with how Harry's newest toy, the map, is played out here. It does not feel like an actual printed map of the Muggle variety, but more like a three dimensional moving object. It's importance is major in this story, and it also comes about in the next several movies. Alfonso even uses the map as a motif for the wonderful end credits, which lent a definite Lord of the Rings quality to this entry.
J.K.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Disc has imperfections on it, resulting in stuttering at a few points in the film. Couldn't be bothered to return it.Published 10 months ago by Mike
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