Saturday, 9 August 2014

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Part 2

We left off last week with Harry recovering from a Dementor attack on the Hogwarts Express, having started the year off with a bang, almost literally, when he blew up his Aunt Marge.

This week Hogwarts has a couple of new teachers and subjects, the trio start Divination and Care of Magical Creatures, Malfoy’s a jerk, Lupin is awesome and there may be a murderous Azkaban escapee roaming the castle.

29. I love the song that the school choir sings. It makes so much sense that even Hogwarts would have a choir. Somehow Flitwick is the logical choice to be choirmaster. He’s also bizarrely aged downwards since the last film. I guess when you’re good at Charms you can do stuff like that.

30. Flitwick and Scabbers aren’t the only ones who look different. Dumbledore is now played by Michael Gambon. As much as I love Richard Harris, I think for the darker themes of the later films, Gambon is perfect for the role.

31. We’re introduced to the two new teachers: Hagrid and Lupin. There’s also the warning about the Dementors. You really have to question the logic of bringing them onto a school campus. Then again, two years ago they brought a three-headed dog into the school so their concept of safety is kind of relative.

32. The Fat Lady is now played by Dawn French and if you watch the background of the paintings when the students are trying to get into the Gryffindor common room you can see Sir Cadogan the knight who took over her place in the book after Black’s attack.

33. The bit with the boys in the Gryffindor dormitory playing with the sweets always feels like it should have been placed after the first Hogsmede trip somehow, but then again, it kind of works there to show that Harry is happy and among friends now he’s back at Hogwarts.

34. I like how the Whomping Willow and birds are used to transition between different bits of the film. Even if the bird does end up getting sort of exploded.

35. I was sceptical of Emma Thompson playing Professor Trelawney as she doesn’t really seem quite as birdlike as I picture the character. But she does a very good job in the role. She’s so versatile.

36. I always wonder who the random kid is who tells them about the Grim is. He’s in Gryffindor robes but he’s not one of the five boys from Harry’s dorm. Perhaps they’re taking classes with people from different years or something.

37. Anyway, we move on down to Care of Magical Creatures, while Hermione criticises Ron’s suggestion that she’s been in two places at once. How ridiculous!

38. Poor Neville getting attacked by his book. He does well as the comic relief. Malfoy on the other hand is a massive jerk, as are most of the Slytherin boys.

39. Buckbeak looks really impressive. He’s so realistic he actually poops at one point. I love that they actually took the time and effort to animate a CGI animal pooping. He does look a little bit obviously CGI now. There’s something about the way he stands out against the rest of the scene at times, especially the first time we see him in the woods. If he was animated again today I bet that would be far less obvious.

40. LOL at Hermione and Ron holding hands. They should really just snog it out or something, instead of keeping us waiting for another four films!

41. I always expect Harry to yell ‘I’m the king of the world!’ when he spreads his arms out as Buckbeak flies over the loch. Oh, see that scenery, I live in that scenery. It’s beautiful.

42. Malfoy’s reaction to being attacked by Buckbeak, his moaning and the ‘bloody chicken’ comment is actually hilarious.

43. Did anyone see Hermione’s timeturner? No? I’m sure we’ll see it again.

44. There’s been a sighting of Sirius Black reported in the Daily Prophet. The random black kid gets the last line of the scene again here.

45. I love the bit where the Dementors pass and all the flowers go icy and die. Those little scenes are like little moving bits of artwork. Not unlike pictures in the wizarding world really.

46. Woo hoo! Professor Lupin’s class. Hermion shows up from nowhere and I love that she seems to have a pencil in her hair. What better place to keep it? Lupin does a really cute little ‘hello’ to Neville when he steps forward to tackle the Boggart. Aww.

47. I’ve had a couple of teachers like Professor Lupin. In an ideal world, every teacher would be like him. He’s incredible. I love this whole bit of the class, apart from the giant spider, even with the roller skates it’s too much for me. Parvati’s funny thing is a massive creepy clown jack-in-the-box which I don’t think is any better than the snake that it was replacing.

48. The thing that Lupin is scared of is more obviously a moon here. I prefer how it is more ambiguous in the book.

49. I like that Hogwarts entrance has changed slightly in this film with the big swinging pendulum and the courtyard. Maybe we just didn’t see this bit in the first two but it looks really cool.

50. Poor Harry isn’t able to get to Hogsmede with his friends. But it’s okay because he’s getting to hang out with Professor Lupin. They have a nice heart to heart about Dementors and Harry’s parents. It’s interesting to consider the words Lupin says about Lily in relation to Snape now. I wonder how much of an influence J.K. Rowling had in the words the characters speak in the film.

51. Having returned from Hogsmede no one can get into the common room because the Fat Lady has gone missing and her painting is all slashed up. In the background we get a glimpse of Sir Cadogan again. Once they locate the Fat Lady they discover Sirius Black is in the castle, so everyone heads to the Great Hall for a sleepover.

52. I always wanted to do one of those school sleepovers when I was at school but I never got to do one. I always imagine they would be something like this. Although without the rampaging murder in the building at the time.

53. Harry eavesdrops on Dumbledore and Snape’s conversation about whether he needs to be warned. Dumbledore’s words about what one can do in sleep are almost like a spell. We sort of drift up towards the enchanted ceiling which looks like something out of a Van Gogh painting.

54. Then we get another little transition scene with the Whomping Willow. I love how all the leaves fall off and it gives a little shake like a dog.

55. Snape does love to make an entrance, doesn’t he? Sweeping into the room and shutting all the windows. He’s teaching them all about werewolves and mentioning the difference between a werewolf and an animagus. Are you paying attention? There may be a test on this later.

56. I love the method of passing notes in the school. A little bit of origami and you’ve got a self-delivering note.

57. In the background we can hear Snape giving them a little lesson on the linguistic origin of the term ‘werewolf’ I do love that too. It’s Anglo-Saxon in origin. Fantastic little details.

Check back next week for Part 3 in which there is a trip to Hogsmede, Lupin is lovely and the spiders want Ron to tap dance.

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