Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Review

The third Harry Potter movie is the only one in the series I think I would actually consider a good film. I would maybe even call it a great film. Alfonso Cuaron took what could have been just another stale kids adventure movie about wizards and turns it into one of the best movies that year. The third Harry Potter movie is much darker in tone than the original two, but it also much more funny and stylized. The movie knows exactly how to ride the line between reality and fantasy, allowing them the freedom to push the suspension of disbelieve for the sake of a joke or a cool visual, but to still have the stakes seem high in action sequences and tense moments. I which more fantasy/sci-fi movies were written like this. It also does a great job expanding the universe, with the introduction of Sirius Black, Lupin, and the whole Hogsmead village, not to mention the dementors. Oh man, the dementors are awesome. The way the swoop down and suck your soul out, legitimately really cool. But what really makes this movie awesome is the last act, which is my favourite climax of any Harry Potter movie. Not only do you have crazy ass Gary Oldman running around screaming, Ron’s rat turning into a dude, Snape getting knocked out by Harry, and a FREAKING WEREWOLF!!!!!!, but then they go back in time and repeat the whole thing from a different perspective. It’s so awesome, it’s like classic Back to the Future Part II. I love me a good time travel movie, and this is a good time travel movie. Usually with stuff like this, it bugs the hell out of me when the time travel makes no sense, but this movie at least managed to stay consistent with it’s own rules, and I’m willing to accept a few liberties with the way the time travel works, because it is magic. Once again, they’re able to perfectly toe the line between believable and fantastic. What I respect so much about the way Alfonso Cuaron directed this movie is not only that he was able to do it with such skill, but that he was willing to take risks in making the Harry Potter universe darker and more mature. And the result is a much more personal, emotionally driven film with a creepy tone and lots of stylized dark humour. And it would seem to me that that’s exactly what you would want from a Harry Potter movie.

Ruling: Totally Holds Up

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