The Potter Perceptions: The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban

This was the one film that I was truly not looking forward to checking out, but that Eric got pretty damned excited over after having seen Gravity and had his mind blown. We were at total odds with this one, and that is exactly what these posts were supposed to be about. Eric is gradually warming, and I am progressively cooling, though no matter what I feel about the movies, I am having a total blast with this whole theme!

azkaban

I was actually excited to see this one since it’s directed by Alfonso Cuaron (who did Gravity if you’re not aware) so when it got here I popped it in and… this started off pretty dumb with that family he lives with yelling at him and the aunt coming over and him blowing her up like a balloon. Then she flies off in to the atmosphere and I was all REALLY?? So he runs away from home and gets on a magical bus with a shrunken, wise cracking head of some Jamaican and they speed off through the streets. So I was really thinking “Well, we all get better with age and practice” and prepared myself for another two and a half hours of mediocrity.

But then this thing started to get good when they introduced those black ghost prison guard things and I was starting to believe in the acting and the story. I think, after three of these, these characters aren’t little kids any longer so – despite being a fantasy – the stories are more believable with teenagers, rather than seeing a bunch of little kids flying around on broomsticks.

Anyway, this movie was very dark and the special effects and settings were fantastic and Cuaron was establishing his loooooooooong shots and I was really kind of liking it. And then they added the time travel aspect and I started to LOVE it. I LOVE good time travel movies, especially when people are looking at what they were doing in the past, like in TIMECRIMES (highly recommended by the way). It shows me that the director really planned this out well. Any asshole can make a movie and then go add in some time travel and then just “super impose” the same character in the same scene later – but this and TIMECRIMES is how good time travel works. I loved it!

I’m not saying I loved the entire movie, since there’s the usual melodrama and some guy looks like a rat and it seems Pooter is always about to die and luckily someone saves his life but this was pretty enjoyable and I REALLY enjoyed the time travel bits. Cuaron is a total stud! I also liked it when Hermione punched that shitty blond kid in the face!

3

The good:

  • Harry’s hair. Finally, they are getting it to stick up a bit more, though the messiness is inconsistent throughout.
  • The Dementors. They were pretty creepy for what they were, though I thought what was under the hood was such a damn let down, and not as bad as you would hope.
  • Hagrid’s hairy brown suit. It was excellent; exactly what I always pictured it to be.
  • Gary Oldman. I know he was underused in this movie series, but Gary Oldman was great for Sirius, and did the character justice.
  • Peter Pettigrew. Timothy Spall did a good job, and looked every bit the rat he portrayed.
  • David Thewlis. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him as Remus Lupin, skulking around Hogwarts, offering advice, the whole thing. He had the demeanour of a werewolf trying to fit into society down, and his odd behaviour makes sense when that cat is let out of the bag.
  • The directing. It looked good and felt good, even though the script was a bloody awful affair (and the CGI went a bit  ballistic at times), the way that it was shot was not bad.

The bad:

  • The Knight Bus sucked. I mean talking heads and just… I think that is what it was. The exterior was perfectly acceptable.
  • Tom at the Leaky Cauldron. A stupid, retarded cripple? Since when?
  • Marge and the rage Harry felt towards her was not adequately explained.
  • Harry doing magic. At night? When I last checked, it was illegal.
  • Questionable movie effects. Damn, these were just incredibly dodgy. Nothing magical about them.
  • Headless Hunt. What the hell are they even doing here?
  • Harry actually getting a turn at the Boggart and it being a Dementor. Harry was not allowed near the Boggart seeing as Lupin feared that it would become a full-fledged Lord Voldemort and terrorize the students.
  • The Dementors. Their effects were not sufficiently explained, and the way they sucked at people and stuff was just… no.
  • The Firebolt. Only arriving at the end? Really now?
  • Floating candy. What the hell?! What is the point of being invisible when you will walk the candy around town in mid-air?
  • Ron and Hermione’s relationship. Being hinted at so early and quickly? Pffffft.
  • Sirius Black. No adequate explanation for why he is so terrifying or that he and James were inseparable at school.
  • Harry seeing Pettigrew on Maruader’s Map. Harry was never supposed to know about Pettigrew prior to the Shrieking Shack.
  • Screwing with the past. Harry and Hermione messed with way too much when they went into the past – Harry was the only one that was supposed to change one thing, and that was the Dementor attack.
  • Lupin as a werewolf. Pffffft. The effects were dreadful as well as his appearance and how he morphed. His actions were also ridiculous, and that it was not shown that Sirius was big enough as Padfoot to keep up with Lupin’s werewolf form, instead they dwarfed him.
  • Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs. No explanation that it was the group of friends consisting of Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black and James Potter, or that they were the creators of the map.
  • The screenwriters. They should have been shot.

So there, I have now wrapped up three. You know, I maintain that this is where it all went wrong. I mean the movies were by no stretch impressive, but this is sort of where they just decided “fuck it” and discarded the source material. I am a huge fan of The Prisoner of Azkaban (the book), so to watch it be desecrated like this was unacceptable (yep, gonna have me another little nerd rage). I was pretty sad with this one seeing as this was really an incredibly enjoyable story, but I just feel that the film did not do it the justice it could have, and I put that purely onto the screenwriters, and the incredibly awkward place everyone’s acting was in.

38 thoughts on “The Potter Perceptions: The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

  1. I didn’t like ANY of the movies til Deathly Hallows. I felt like PoA was when they got darker and less “this are children’s books so let’s make them light and fluffy!”

    Ugh.

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      • Agreed! I feel like Peter Jackson managed to NAIL the whole Lord of the Rings franchise but they never really got a handle on Harry Potter. It’s the difference between putting someone who loves the books and world on the project versus just hiring some bloke to direct the movie.

        I’m feeling similarly about The Hunger Games. Sigh.

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      • Peter Jackson is amazing, and what he did with The Lord of the Rings was simply phenomenal.

        The Potter movies never got that down.

        I must say I am rather enjoying The Hunger Games, I think that they really caught the rhythm of it with Catching Fire.

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      • Peter Jackson is my spirit animal. I love him!

        I haven’t seen Catching Fire yet. I was SO disappointed by the first movie. I’m probably going to see CF with all the girls from The Fangirl Perspective who haven’t seen it yet. I hope it’s better than The Hunger Games.

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      • 😛 Teehee I love that!

        You should really check out Catching Fire. It impressed the HELL out of me, and I was a little wary going in there. It was very loyal to the book and had a fantastic cast. I enjoyed it so much! I hope you enjoy it and can’t wait to see what you think!

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      • Great job on another one of these, guys. 🙂 I can’t believe Eric is starting to kind of like these movies! It’s been a very long time since I read the books or watched the movies but I remember at the time being disappointed with this one as they changed too much from the book? And I love a time travel story A LOT but found it very out of place in a Harry Potter story as I felt it took away the magic. Who cares about being able to do magic if you can just change everything with time travel?

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      • Thank you! They changed WAY too much from the book! That was pretty much how it was. They deviated so much in the movie from the book about how the Time Turner was used so meh, just change everything why don’t you?

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  2. I do think Prisoner of Azkaban gets so much love because of Cuaron and the way it differs so much from the first two movies. However, I also think it’s very good. Thewlis and Oldman are great like you mention, and the Dementors are awesome. I’d have to watch them all again to rank them (it will happen at some point next year), but this is definitely a step up from the first two at a minimum.

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    • Thanks Dan! Add it to your marathon list! 😀 Thewlis was particularly well cast, pretty much exactly what you would picture. Oldman was fantastic – for someone was amazing as Sirius they needed someone with talent!

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  3. Ahah, somehow I knew you’re not terribly fond of the HP movies but glad that you still enjoyed it somewhat. Gary Oldman was brilliant wasn’t he? I also like David Thewlis who barely gets a mention overall.

    “The screenwriters. They should have been shot.” Ahah, you don’t mince words don’t you Zoe? 😀

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    • Oldman is a wonder as always! I think it is criminal that he doesn’t get more credit for what he did in here, I was incredibly impressed. He got the look and demeanor down and was what I thought he would be. Timothy Spall was just gross and pitiful, so he got Pettigrew right!

      😉 No time, no time!

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      • Yeah I think he even deserved a Best Supporting nod, but of course HP won’t even be considered by the Academy Awards! He’s a great actor who makes an impact even in smaller roles.

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  4. I cannot imagine how people who have only seen the movies can understand them without reading the books. The movies have left out so many important details that are necessary to fully comprehend what exactly is going on. I am not sure if moviegoers actually know what horcruxes are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad to hear that I am not alone on that front! There were so many things that I only understood because I had read the books. I mean a Horcrux is an exceptionally intricate object, and they simply zipped by on what it is in the movies. I was shocked!

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