THIS WAY COMES
HARRY POTTER AND
THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
I admit, I got it wrong. Way, way back when the first film came out, I said
that there two big films coming out at the same time and I put my money
on the winner being everyone's favourite boy wizard, beating those filthy
little hobbitses at the box office. Yeah well, you can't win them all I
guess. Harry may have taken the most money but I think it's safe to say
which set of films won the plaudits overall.
Saying that, Harry Potter hasn't exactly done badly now, has
it? The first two films are way up there amongst the biggest money makers,
taking the third and fifth spots and losing only to the last of the Rings
films and that one about the sinking boat, so it's not like they were losers
after all. Now, after a longer gap than normal, we welcome back the Boy
Who Lived to the silver screen in the third movie. Harry Potter and the
Prisoner of Azkaban.
So, how big a success will this one be then? Well, a lot is
riding on the many changes introduced for the third instalment, the biggest
of which is the new director, Alfonso Cuaron, best known for his earlier
films, Y Tu Mama Tambien and The Little Princess. After the impressive start
made by Chris Columbus in the first two films, many still felt the film
was a bit too solid and workmanlike, which are fair comments. This time
round things look like they may be a bit more exciting and the brief clips
we've seen in the trailers certainly seem to suggest that.
of the buzz surrounding the film comes from the fact that, to many of fans,
the third book is easily the best in the series; it's certainly this writer's
favourite, despite it being the shortest of the bunch. With a much darker
edge to it then the previous books, there's a real sense of menace throughout
it that, if captured properly by Cuaron, could make this the best film in
the series! The key role in the film is the character of Sirius Black and
he's also the one character that can't be discussed much for fear of some
serious spoilage, but the casting of the excellent Gary Oldman is certainly
a great way to go and I'm looking forward to seeing how well he does with
As for the rest of the cast, the vast majority is unchanged,
the same three kids are playing the trio of heroes, Harry, Ron and Hermione,
the same names are playing the teachers (Smith, Rickman, Coltrane) and the
new names in the film are just as impressive with David Thewlis in the role
of Professor Lupin, the always brilliant Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney
and even some great names in smaller roles, such as Pam Ferris, Paul Whitehouse
and Dawn French. The only character to change actor is that of Dumbledore
with Michael Gambon taking over after the sad loss of Richard Harris.
what do we have to look forward to this time? Some of the changes that the
press have leapt onto with vulture-like delight have been things like the
kids not being in school uniform all the time (like that's really such a
big deal?) and the possibility of romance blossoming for some of the characters.
Oh, and Malfoy's stupid new hairstyle, but we'll let that go for now. The
important thing about the film is that is appears to be carrying on the
success of the first two films whilst improving things where needed and
the fact that the book is a cracker only adds to the excitement.
We've already had glimpses of such things as Buckbeak, Sirius
Black, Aunt Marge, the Wizard's Knight Bus, and the all important guards
of Azkaban, the Dementors, which look like they have managed to avoid being
warmed-over Nazguls, so things are looking good so far. Early buzz on the
film has also been positive with good reviews coming from the likes of Aint
It Cool News and even a couple of fans on the IMDB website as well, all
of whom seemed to love it. Things are looking rosy all round then.
So where does the franchise go from here? Assuming the film
isn't going to be a flop (and given my prediction skills I'll refrain from
commenting, but I think the answer to that is pretty obvious) then the next
step is the adaptation of book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,
something that will be no mean feat, given it's huge size, but with Mike
Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) as the director, things could be good
there as well and best of all, after many, many months of waiting, book
five was finally released to the world last year to much applause so there's
still life in the franchise yet.
my prediction is that this film is going to be the best so far and possibly
the best of the lot, although that depends on the last two books really,
but I know that a huge amount of people are looking forward to this film,
no matter what wickedness this way comes.
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