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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Hey guys, I'm back! Now I am going to be continuing where we left off at the end of my previous article and discuss what took the Harry Potter franchise to whole new heights. Today, I am going to be doing an article on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Before this film came out in the summer of 2004, I was a little reluctant to see it. Why you might ask? Well because at the time, my interest in Harry Potter was beginning to fade. I had already read the first two books and loved the first two films, but wasn't sure about this one. I also wasn't as ecstatic about reading the third book at the time as I should have been. Yu-Gi-Oh was all the rage for me at the time and my earlier obsession with Harry Potter might have been replaced.

The Prisoner of Azkaban also just seemed a lot darker and scarier than the first two films to my 9-year-old self. It's not that I didn't want to see it-I did-it's just that I didn't want to see it in theaters. I remember my parents tried many times to find good show times to see it in theaters, but we never could. I ended up waiting until it came out on DVD to finally see it (like the first two films).

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Film):

When I finally got this film on DVD, me and my family loved it and thought it was the by far the best of the three Harry Potter films! I thought the main actors, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint all really stepped up their game in this one and the overall dark mood helped the story reach all new heights. But, I felt the action and special effects were much more impressive in the first two films than in this one and John William's score wasn't as great either. However, the Prisoner of Azkaban helped resurge my interest and love for Harry Potter and got me to continue reading the series more diligently.

There were some big differences between this film and the first two Harry Potter films though. One, is that Chris Columbus didn't return to direct this film and was instead replaced by another director, Alfonso Cuarón, who was best known at the time for Y Tu Mamá También (2001) and A Little Princess (1995). But this change didn't bother me because Alfonso Cuarón was an excellent replacement for Chris Columbus and his directing style suited Harry Potter very well and it's a shame he didn't direct anymore for the franchise.

Michael Gambon's Albus Dumbledore:

Another big change between this one and the previous two movies was the actor who played Albus Dumbledore.  On October 25, 2002, shortly before Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets came out, Richard Harris (who played Albus Dumbledore in the previous two films) passed away after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in August of 2002 (R.I.P. Richard Harris).

No disrespect at all to Richard Harris, but I thought Michael Gambon's performance of Albus Dumbledore and interpretation of the character was a massive massive improvement over Richard Harris's.  Michael Gambon portrayed the character as a much more younger, youthful, energetic, and more serious and stern Dumbledore in contrast to Richard Harris's more reserved, subdued, and arguably more hollow and frail Dumbledore. It took awhile to get use to seeing a different actor playing the Hogwarts headmaster, but I quickly grew to love his Dumbledore. It was like Albus Dumbledore came to life and exactly how I imagined him in the books.

David Thewlis's Remus Lupin:

Another excellent performance from this film that I liked was David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, who is Harry's new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Not only did I love his performance, but I loved the character of Remus Lupin.

It was great for Harry to finally have a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher that he actually liked. Not to mention the fact that Lupin was actually on Harry's side and was much more helpful to him because Lupin taught Harry how to create a Patronus Charm to repel Dementors.

Gary Oldman's Sirius Black:

I also loved Gary Oldman as Sirius Black and thought he and Daniel Radcliffe had a special bond with each other. I was really able to buy that Sirius Black was Harry's godfather in the end.  It's a shame these movies didn't have more of him.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book):

I got this book around the same time I got the DVD for the film and I begin reading it, but I didn't finish the book until I finished the film. However I found the plot much more easier to follow in the book than in the movie, because there were some things I didn't get and questions that weren't answered in the film. Now, as an adult Harry Potter fan (and especially after rereading and rewatching both adaptions) I much prefer the book over the film, even though I still enjoy the film to a great degree. And the reasons for that is because I feel there were some things that were cutout from the book that easily could have made it onto the big screen in order to avoid confusion among casual and non-Harry Potter fans alike.

Like for example, I think the conservation that Professor Lupin and Sirius Black had with Harry, Ron, and Hermione should have been longer so Lupin could have explained the origins of The Marauder's Map and how and why it was created.  He should have explained the nicknames, Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs and that they were referring to him, James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew.  When Hermione revealed to Harry and Ron that Lupin was a werewolf, Lupin should have told them he was an animagus, which would have explained why Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew were able to become their human selves again after being a black dog and a rat.

I also wish they could have included the final Quidditch match of the season, where Gryffindor finally beats Slytherin to win the Quidditch Cup.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Video Game):

I might be the minority on this, but I actually enjoyed this game version as much as the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets video game and think it was arguably better than the previous game. I know it got more mixed reviews in comparison to the mostly positive response of the Chamber of Secrets game, but I don't care.

Unlike the previous game, the Prisoner of Azkaban lets you play as Ron and Hermione while going on missions and the graphics and gameplay were improved by a lot.  I loved being able to fly Buckbeak and learning how to conjure a Patronus in this game. The game also included multiplayer mini-games such as the Dueling Club.

Well, that's concludes this article on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!  Thanks for reading and please leave me your thoughts on the article, thanks!

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