About last night
Saw the movie, Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban, last night at the IMAX theater. I understood what the critics meant by the movie being different from its two predecessors. Atmosphere and theme were definitely darker and more character-focused with the latter on, of course, Harry. The former was accomplished considerably by colour choices with shadows and greys being pronounced. Even the massive banner over the theater was in shades of gray reflecting the growing darkness in Harry's once bright and colorful world.
Theme reflected Harry's entrance into adulthood. And it's not a smooth one. Harry's far more rebellious; the open scene where he lashes out with his magic against his aunt reflects his "I won't take it anymore" attitude. The same is reflected in his friends attitude: Hermonie, especially, is less willing to back down. Ron has the least fire but is no pushover, either. At the same time, the threesome back down from several confrontations reflecting youth's lack of experience in many social interactions. Realistic though I felt sometimes rushed.
All the previous adult characters (e.g., Dumbledore, etc.) were relegated to the background with only Snapes and newcomer Professor Lupin having the most prominent roles. The latter, especially, provides a sounding board to Harry. I always felt Dumbledore provided that role and I like the change.
Azkaban also departs from this predecessors in another major fashion. It is the first movie to be an adaption of the books instead of faithfully following the tome. I believe part of the reason is the sheer size of the story: Azkaban, I believe, is over 400 pages. Many scenes were omitted from the movie while others were either added or new (i.e., the Dementors on the train.) I'm not a stickler for details as long as the prominent plot points are not removed (e.g., the stag or the 'twist' ending) or changed; and the changes (again, the first showing of the Dementors) were entertaining.
I thoroughly enjoyed the special effects. The hippogriff, especially, looked very real. Only in a couple of scenes did I think the effect looked, well, faked (e.g., the bird flying to the Whopping Willow) but otherwise was satisfied the effects enhanced the story.
A different movie for a different book. Overall, I give Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 3 1/2 stars out of 5.
Thursday, June 17, 2004
About last night