|Film Brats - Reviews|
Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Well, the gang’s all back. But once again, I’m not feeling it. I still don’t feel like these people are opening up and exploring their characters. The kids are growing up and hitting puberty and changing hairstyles and whatnot, but they’re not growing into their roles. Even the veteran actors playing the teachers (Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman) don’t lend anything new or introspective. Perhaps the original material doesn’t offer any more depth than what is seen in the first film, but that seems like a shame to me. These could be great characters, if only there was more to them presented on screen.
Once again, the movie is still good. The story is pretty solid and entertaining throughout the 2 1/2 hour running time. The length isn’t felt hardly at all. One thing I particularly enjoy about these films is that once the main resolution and climax of the story passes, there’s still more action and mystery and magic around the corner. Unless you read the books, it’s pretty tough to know what to expect. You can always assume twists and turns and for your original instincts to be wrong. It’s amazing that these family films can accomplish the mystery/suspense thing so well, yet adult genre movies fail nearly every time. That’s a true testament to the great writing by novelist J.K. Rowling and to screenwriter Steve Kloves.
I’ve heard complaints from people who’ve read the book and don’t like the movie, because it ignores key aspects of the novel. All I can say is welcome to the world of adaptations. I’d be amazed if there is a movie out there that is actually better than the book it came from. The movie was over two hours long and can’t possibly include every nuance or every side story. I wish there was more characterization (which is a main complaint), but the movie still works as is. It’s still a lot of fun and excitement.
Director Alfonso Cuarón adds an interesting touch to the visual side of things and presents us with a darker palate to accompany the increasingly ominous mood. Also new to this film are vignette scene transitions. It’s a slightly subtle addition and enhances the feel as well. The screen becomes engulfed in black and then is lifted from it again only to have it hover along the edges until it retreats past the borders of the frame. Maybe I’m reading too much into that, but I’m sticking to it.
Once again, we get a worthy sequel. It’s pretty easy to see why so many get excited about these movies and books. They’re fun, entertaining, exhilarating and well made. It’s good to see a worthwhile movie series being produced again. Let’s keep them coming.
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