Movie Plot – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for their third year of study, where they delve into the mystery surrounding an escaped prisoner who poses a dangerous threat to the young wizard.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writers: J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Tom Felton

A Darker film

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ is much darker in atmosphere than the first two parts, but because of this the tension has also increased considerably. A large part of this change will be due to director Cuarón. By focusing more on the action and less literally following the text of the book, he has turned this film into a roller coaster ride for everyone who can forget for a moment that they are actually watching a children’s film.

Rowling’s books get heavier, scarier, and grimmer as the volumes progress and it shows in this film. The light-hearted undertones are largely gone and there is hardly any room left for the funny interludes of the first two volumes. Rowling herself asked Cuarón not to stick too literally to the text of the book but to capture the essence, the spirit, of the ‘Potter Universe’.

Sirius Black

After an unfortunate magic accident with his Aunt Marge, 13-year-old Harry Potter flees the home of his Uncle and Aunt Dursley. The trip to Hogwarts is already one full of adventures, but once there, Harry’s troubles really begin. The dangerous wizard Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban prison and is now looking for Harry. The manhunt for Sirius Black is being conducted by the Dementors, the chilling guards of Azbakan, who inexplicably seem to be targeting Harry as well. The presence of the Dementors totally paralyzes the young wizard, until Professor Lupin teaches him how to protect himself from them.

Meanwhile, at Hogwarts, Harry meets all sorts of new creatures, such as the monster book, the magical Hippogriff, and the terrifying Grim; is taught by new professors, such as Sibyll Trelawney and Professor Lupin; and has exciting adventures, assisted, of course, by Ron Weasley, Hermoine Granger, and the giant Hagrid. Harry seems to be heading for a confrontation with Sirius Black. But before that happens, there are plenty of mysteries to solve. Above all, Harry must find the answer to the question of what is the connection between this Sirius Black and the young wizard’s mysterious past.

An evolving franchise

Rowling’s books get heavier, scarier, and grimmer as the volumes progress and it shows in this film. The light-hearted undertones are largely gone and there is hardly any room left for the funny interludes of the first two volumes. Rowling herself asked Cuarón not to stick too literally to the text of the book but to capture the essence, the spirit, of the ‘Potter Universe’.

The film is a visual spectacle, with particularly rich sets and wonderful technical feats. The Dementors need not worry about their future. If Sauron ever needs new Nazgul, he can knock on their door.

The acting is also spot on. The children, in particular, have been able to grow in their roles over the last few years. There are also newcomers. There are wonderful contributions from Gary Oldman (who is again unrecognizable) and from David Thewlis, known from Naked and The Big Lebowsky. And then there’s Michael Gambon, who replaces the late Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore. He succeeds beyond (my) expectations, with enough of his own input to not be a bad copy, and enough homage to Harris to remain believable.

Mystery

The film managed to combine mystery, joy, suspense and darkness. Like the two previous films, you’ll be looking for answers during this one.

This time, certain elements are easy to figure out. Well, at least that’s true if you’re a little older than a child. The first time I saw this movie, I was still a dumb 14-year-old kid who was easily surprised by everything. In other words, I didn’t realize anything and was pleasantly surprised. Thanks to that fact, it used to be my favorite Harry Potter movie. However, once I’ve seen all the movies again, I will make a new ranking.

Conclusion

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban is darker than its predecessors but it’s also a better movie. It’s one of my personal favorites of the franchise.