Saturday, 16 August 2014

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Part 3

Another week, another instalment of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Last week Harry started taking a couple of new classes, Hagrid almost (allegedly) got a student killed, while Sirius Black broke into the castle (apparently) in search of Harry Potter.

In Part 3 of the film Harry’s broomstick loses a battle with the Whomping Willow, Harry finally gets to visit Hogsmede, he starts having Dementor repelling lessons and Trelawney gets all precognitive.

58. I know I mentioned last film that it was the last time we got a proper Quidditch match. This one doesn’t really count as a full Quidditch match because we never really see the end of it. Harry’s after the snitch with someone who we can only assume is Cedric Diggory (who gets struck by lightning!) when he spots the Grim in the clouds and then the Dementors come after him and he falls out of the sky. It’s not really a proper match. Though I like this film so much I’m willing to overlook the lack of Quidditch.

59. Kind of not so funny in hindsight when the twins suggest dropping Ron off the top of the Astronomy tower, considering what happens on that tower in two films time.

60. Harry’s broom has been destroyed as well. I like that we see the little bundle Ron is holding. Poor Harry.

61. I like that Harry keeps on going back to Lupin to discuss the Dementors, and this keeps on taking place out around the grounds of Hogwarts. It’s fantastic to see more of the school.

62. Our next transition is sort of borrowed from the first film. Hedwig flies off and swoops round, flying into snow as we watch Harry watching everyone leave for another Hosgmede trip. His attempt to sneak out under the invisibility cloak is foiled by Fred and George so spot his footprints in the snow and hand over the Marauder’s Map.

63. I love the Marauder’s Map. I always worried how they were going to show the map because it’s just supposed to be a bit of parchment but I love the way that it unfolds and has little twiddly bits. Everything about it looks magical.

64. So Harry emerges in the cellar beneath the sweetshop in Hogsmeade where he steals a lollipop from Neville and wanders through the village.

65. Hermione and Ron are being cute together up at the Shrieking Shack. I love Hermione’s hat in this scene. I’ve actually knitted a version of it myself.

66. I always wonder why Crabbe and Nott are hanging out with Malfoy, instead of Crabbe and Goyle. We don’t find out though because Harry, under his invisibility cloak, sees them off.

67. There’s even more poop outside the pub. The sleigh that Fudge is travelling in is pulled by a couple of horses, one of whom has done its business and Fudge steps in it. Strangely they seem to have managed to do it without getting sledge tracks through it.

68. While I’ve been contemplating horse poop Harry’s been learning that Sirius Black killed little Peter Pettigrew, a friend of the Potters, and worse than that. Sirius Black was also friends with them and is Harry’s Godfather. Harry doesn’t take this news well.

69. Harry runs out of town and has a little cry. The acting in this film is miles better than in the first two. By this point I feel like the kids really found their feet and had become their characters, but Harry’s crying doesn’t feel quite so believable.

70. Another transitional scene, once again showing the Whomping Willow being kind of doglike as it shakes the snow and ice off its branches (melting snow must tickle). I like how the icy water splashes the camera lens and makes everything distorted. It’s little things like that that make this seem a little bit more real.

71. Harry’s joining Lupin for his very first Dementor repelling lesson. I love the spinal column candles. I’d love to get some like that but I’d probably never really want to use them. Also, I know from watching the special features that this set is the same as Dumbledore’s office redressed and now I can’t help but see it as Dumbledore’s office.

72. Harry finally manages to force the Boggart-Dementor back and is rewarded with more chocolate. It’s quite sad as he describes the memory of his parents. He says it in such a matter of fact sort of way which makes it sadder somehow.

73. Apparently Crookshanks has eaten Scabbers. On the one hand, as a rat owner (and lover) I feel sorry for Ron because I would hate for my ratties to meet any kind of horrible end, but on the other hand, knowing what I know now, I don’t feel the same sort of sympathy that I did on the first reading of it.

74. Hagrid’s suit and tie really are hideous. I’m always really impressed at his stone skimming though. I can never get more than a few bounces out of a stone.

75. Love Ron waking up from his dream saying that the spiders want him to tap dance. My husband wakes up muttering bizarre things like that, it’s just as hilarious in real life (though sometimes it’s kind of creepy). Harry is studying his map and spots Peter Pettigrew at this point so decides it would be the perfect opportunity to go for a midnight stroll along the corridors of the school. And then Snape shows up. This is where you should’ve taken your invisibility cloak Harry!

76. It really, really bugs me that Moony is misspelled on the Marauder’s Map. I know that it’s spelled Mooney because of a member of the crew who worked on the film, but it’s frustrating to me because that’s not how the nickname Moony is spelled.

77. I also like that Lupin wanders around the school at night wearing a dowdy sort of grandpa cardigan, whereas Snape is in full wizarding robes. It’s like Lupin’s an old man before his time and also more Mugglish than some of his colleagues, perhaps because as a werewolf he struggles to integrate into wizard society.

78. While I’ve been ruminating on all this Lupin has given Harry a lecture about the use of the map as well as about wandering around in the night. Harry’s forced to hand the map over to his teacher, but he points out the fact that it’s obviously wrong as it showed Peter Pettigrew and he couldn’t possibly be in the school.

79. And then Hermione storms out of Divination after Trelawney suggests that she has absolutely no talent for the subject whatsoever. After having a falling out with my art teacher when I selected my options for my Highers I did much the same thing and joined a German class instead.

80. Trelawney then has a little moment of prophecy while alone with Harry. Harry also caught a glimpse of Sirius Black in the crystal ball moments before that. Clearly it’s going around. Basically Voldemort is going to get his servant back that night. This is not good news.

81. Another little transition, this time showing an axeman sharpening his axe surrounded by crows. This would be Buckbeak’s execution then. Not really the nicest place to play with your axe, right in the middle of a school courtyard. We used to have pet rabbits and a family friend used to deliver and skin ones he’d caught for eating right outside their cage. Again, really not the best place to do that, I was always worried my rabbits would think they would be next.

And that’s probably just as good a place as any to stop.

Come back next week when Hermione gets physical with Malfoy, Harry discovers the truth about Sirius Black and there is a touch of time travel too.


  1. "He was their friend!" That's probably the only scene in this film I didn't like. I feel it was handled better in the book; Harry is far more stoic when he takes the news, though we know it bothers him.

    1. I think there are always a few bits that don't translate as well from page to screen and that's one of them. There's so much emotion that can be contained in a few words which can be harder to show with actual emotion on film.


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