Saturday, 23 August 2014

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Part 4

We’re almost at the end of the film now, everything’s getting very dramatic and exciting.

In this part Hermione thumps Malfoy, the trio discover the truth about Sirius Black and who Scabbers really is, things go wrong and then get very timey-wimey.

82. Malfoy, Crabbe and Nott (no sign of Goyle again) have picked out a prime position for viewing the execution but Hermione rushes down and gives Malfoy a really good right hook. Then they head down to see Hagrid and Buckbeak before the inevitable happens.

83. Hagrid produces Scabbers and Ron and Hermione have yet another little tiff, but are distracted by a random stone shattering a pot. Of course the trio need to get out of there because Dumbledore, Fudge and the executioner have shown up. None of them seem particularly concerned about where the random flying stones have been coming from. Hermione does have one weird little moment when she hears a noise behind them, but then they run back up to school without bothering to investigate it.

84. There’s a handy tree obscuring the view of what’s happening down at Hagrid’s hut but the fact there’s the sound of an axe and all the birds fly away is kind of the universal sign for someone being beheaded. Hermione has a little cuddle with Ron, and Harry cuddles Hermione’s back but the cuddlefest is interrupted by Scabbers biting Ron.

85. The action moves to the Whomping Willow where a massive big black dog, aka the Grim, abducts Ron before leaving Harry and Hermione to be beaten up by the tree. It’s at this point that I realised that Whomping Willow seems to have moved since last year. The ground surrounding it is a lot less flat than when the car drove away from the abandoned Ron and Harry last year, and they were a lot closer to the school then as well.

86. I have plenty of time to ponder this while Harry and Hermione get flung around all over the place, eventually and conveniently landing in the hole leading down beneath the tree where the dog dragged Ron.

87. And look, it leads to the Shrieking Shack.

88. It’s really effective the way that the dust has dog footprints which lead up to Sirius’s feet. It makes it immediately obvious that Sirius was the dog, for those people who haven’t read the book anyway.

89. The fact that Sirius is fully clothed here suggests that when they transform their clothes transform with them. It’s one of those things I always wonder about when you see people transforming into other people and things.

90. There’s more cuddling as Lupin arrives on the scene and has a little huggle with Sirius. Something seems to make sense to Lupin but the rest of the people present need a little bit of help to get caught up. Unfortunately before we can get that, Snape shows up and jumps to all the wrong conclusions.

91. Once Snape has been eliminated by Harry, knocking him out to give Remus and Sirius a chance to explain what the hell is going on. The gist of this is that Pettigrew isn’t dead, he’s been masquerading as a rat for the last twelve years, having chopped off his own finger in order to fake his own death. He makes a bid for escape, but is transformed into a human just as he heads for a rat hole. This successfully stops him.

92. There are some really creepy implications from this. Not least the fact that Ron has been sleeping with this fake-rat in his bed for the last few years. He’s probably been privy to all sorts of things that teenage boys would rather not have an adult listening in to.

93. Out of the reach of the Whomping Willow Hermione comforts Ron who’s leg is in a bit of a state thanks to Sirius’s dog teeth while Sirius invites Harry to move in with him, once he’s been exonerated. This little scene would all end perfectly if it wasn’t for the big full moon which as been hiding behind a cloud.

94. All at once Lupin turns into a werewolf, Pettigrew returns to his Scabbers shape and escapes and the trio are left alone with a wild werewolf. And then Snape shows up. He does rather valiantly protect the children, while Sirius, in dog form, tackles Lupin, eventually drawing him away from everyone but taking quite the beating himself in the process.

95. Harry, never one to stand by and watch others have to tackle dark forces alone, rushes after Sirius, finding him just as the Dementors swoop in and prepare to do their thing. I like how as they get closer everything gets cold and icy again. Just as Harry is about to completely give up and a little bubble of light which is clearly Sirius’s soul comes out of his mouth, a beautiful white stag appears across the water. And then Harry passes out for what, the third time in the film.

96. And for the second time he wakes up in the hospital wing. And while Dumbledore believes the trio (and pats Ron’s sore leg, hehe) there’s nothing he can do to help them. He’s very cryptic, speaking to Hermione suggesting that there is something she can do.

97. Again it’s fun to watch the background in this scene, particularly the bit where someone gets all wrapped/unwrapped like a mummy. They’ve travelled back in time and if you listen to the music here there’s something very clock-ish about it here.

98. I love these bits where you can see Harry and Hermione on the screen twice. I like contemplating the trickery that they use for those bits, mostly I think it’s doubles but occasionally I’m sure they had to use digital tricks.

99. Hermione has to give Harry a little lesson about bad things that happen when people meddle with time. Ironic considering that that’s basically what they’re about to do. The mystery of the flying stones is solved as Hermione starts lobbing stones into Hagrid’s hut to get the trio to leave.

100. Lots of people complained about Hermione’s comment about ‘that’s what my hair really looks like from the back’ because they didn’t think it was the sort of thing she would say. But I like it. I was a really bookish teenager but I still thought about those things occasionally. I was usually happy with my appearance because I didn’t care what other people thought as long as I was comfy, but then I’d see a photo or I’d hear someone saying something and it would open my eyes, even if it was just for a brief moment. It kind of follows on nicely when Hermione makes a real effort for the Ball during the Triwizard Tournament in the next film.

Next week is the very last bit of the film in which Sirius Black gets away, Harry gets a new broom and the film’s end credits are awesome!


  1. I always liked the part in the film where Hermione noticed her hair - so much so that I'd have liked to have seen it in the book. She's only human - of course she cares about what she looks like.

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone in liking that bit. :-)


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