Please join me in welcoming back Sam Cushion for today’s film review. Sam is an amazing musician who creates musical scores inspired by books! He has most recently created an unofficial score for The Hunger Games. To find out more about Sam, check out his website here.
Prisoner of Azkaban is the first of the Potter films to have a new director, Alfonso Cuarón. Chris Columbus did however stay on as a producer. With Cuarón in the directors seat, Prisoner of Azkaban breaks out of the “child’s film” mold that the first two films seemed to fit into. Gone are the flashy special effects, and in their place are the amazing sets and scenery that leave the viewer in awe. The cinematography also adds a more mature and art-film like quality to the film as well. There is also an increased emphasis on the characters of the film. Cuarón manages to effectively capture the teens’ inner turmoil and isn’t afraid to dwell on the darker side of the third book. This also helps add to the maturity level of the film.
The film is also more appealing to a larger audience because it’s considerably shorter, just under 2 hours and 10 minutes. It does not bog down or bore the audience with an attempt to capture EVERY element of the book, like the first two films did. Unfortunately, no film will ever match the quality of the book it is based on, but Cuarón’s selection on what parts of the book to include are very well-selected. Cuarón managed to bring life back into what some thought was a dying franchise at the time. He also was able to make it more enjoyable for an older audience by making it darker, scarier, and more mature.
The soundtrack for Prisoner of Azkaban is also nothing short of amazing! The Potter films have seen several different composers over the years, but none as good as Williams. You cannot deny the very high bar that was set by him in the first three films. Composers who have followed luckily haven’t missed that bar, nor have they exceeded it.
The Prisoner of Azkaban is nothing but a brilliant film! Perhaps that is due to the fact that it was the last film with John Williams as composer or the direction of the new director. Nevertheless, Prisoner of Azkaban has been one of my favorites of the Harry Potter, books and the film doesn’t disappoint. I really do wish I could be more critical of this film, but in all honesty I can’t think of anything that disappointed me. All in all this remains one of my favorite in the Potter films since it was released in 2004.
4 out of 5 StarsHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) Warner Brothers PG, 141 Minutes