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The International Writers Magazine
: Review- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Sam North

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Screenplay by Steven Kloves
Book J K Rowling
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Gary Oldman, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and many more

This is what cinema was invented for. Big scale entertainment and Harry Potter in the third installment delivers it in spades. Of course Harry is never going to learn to act, but fortunately there are plenty of actors around him who are quite capable of diverting our gaze. Not least young Emma Watson, who as Hermione Granger is spunky and steal scenes all the way through the whole movie. This is her adventure as it turns out and the film is all the better for it.
Harry is in mortal danger from the evil Sirius Black who has escaped from the very evil Dementors of Azkaban (who literally suck the soul out of you) but it is Hermione who saves the day, and Buckbeak and this movie.

Harry and Hermione

From the moment Harry walks out of the Dursleys home (after blowing up his 'Aunt' (last seen as the Headmistress in Matilda ) and catches the night bus driven by Jimmy Gardner and Lenny Henry, we know we have a different take on the story. The pace is fast and furious and there are lots of little scares on the way.

On the train to Hogwarts, Harry is attacked by a Dementor and saved by the mysterious new teacher Prof Lupin (David Thewlis -the new Dark Arts instructor).
Harry's life is in constant danger, Sirius Black is already insdie the Castle and could strike at anytime, but he survives with the aid of his pals , Hermione's cunning and despite his school enemies.
There's a walk on part with Julie Christie as Madame Rosemerta, which makes two 'blockbusters' with her in them this year (Troy was the other) and all the great British stalwarts agumenting their pensions with various parts. Potter requires a great of hamming and who better than Robert Hardy as the Minister of Magic or Timothy Spall as - oops, mustn't give the game away.

All the regulars are there, Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, Alan Rickman as Snape , Maggie Smith as McGonagall and they are irreplaceable, Gambon as Dumbledore is suitably bewhiskered enough so we can't see he isn't Richard Harris anymore. But in the end it's a thrilling and often comical adventure with Harry and Co that matters and even though you know he is going to live, it is exciting all the way. Watch out for the little Bluebird of paradise....

Forget the kids. Just go and enjoy something yourself that has no poltical motives and knows exactly how to be fine escapist entertainment. (Maybe take someone to hold hands with though - just for the scary bits...)
Alfonso Cuaron is to be congratulated his accomplishment in taking over what has become a great international institution.
© SN June 1st 2004

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