Let’s start by thanking Warner Brothers for having the stones to go with Alfonso Cuaron to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Despite his nice direction of the new family classic The Little Princess, Cuaron is better known as the director of the steamy film Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN…hardly an indicator that he was the one to handle the chores for the third installment in the popular Harry Potter series.
But he did indeed direct this one, again adapted by Steve Kloves, and I say, “good job sir!” While the FIRST and SECOND films were both directed well by Chris Columbus, like the books these films are faithfully based on, HPatPoA is a lot darker, and Cuaron really captures that nicely.
The bulk of the cast returns for the third installment, with the obvious change being that Micheal Gambon has replaced the late, great Richard Harris as Professor Albus Dumbledore. Gambon has his own style, but like the rest of the cast, he does a great job.
New to this film are David Thewlis as the new Defense Of The Dark Arts teacher, Emma Thompson as the spacey Divination teacher, and Gary Oldman as the very “wanted” Sirius Black. All three were great, but Oldman is the stand out due to his intensity and the substance of his character.
As grateful as I am that Cuaron was aboard for this flick, I’m also very glad that Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson are all back as Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I dunno if these youngsters are the best of thespians, but to me, and to many, I’m sure, these three have come to embody the beloved characters they portray. I think they do a wonderful job, and if the films stay on schedule to follow the books, they should be able to stay in these roles for the duration. Sure, there are already five books out, and the fourth movie is only just under production, but unless the youths have some serious growth spurts, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Again, I’m really glad Alfonso Cuaron was at the helm of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This film is pretty dark, and the books keep getting darker. This one is PG, but I’m thinking that by the end of the series, the films will definitely be at least PG-13.
I have no idea what to expect from the next film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but here’s to hoping that the films just keep getting better and better.