I doubt I am not the only one who was a bit shocked when it was first announced that Alfonso Cuarón had been signed to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban full movie, the third film version of J.K. Rowling’s famous novels.
Yes, the Mexican director had nailed A Little Princess, a movie featuring a young girl who, similar to Harry, was an orphan. But he had recently directed Y Tu Mama Tambien, a sensually explicit film involving the relationship between two teenage boys and an older woman. Luckily, any fears that Cuarón would have Harry and wizardy best friend Ron Weasley trading graphic descriptions of their sexual conquests – Y Professor McGonagall Tambien? – claimed unseen. Instead, Cuarón brought to the Potter series a quality intriguing missing from the two prior films: magic in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban full movie online.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban full movie attempts to bring Rowling’s masterpiece to the silver screen – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – were both directed by Chris Columbus, the sentimentalist who brought us such adventures of modern domesticity as Stepmom, Mrs. Doubtfire, Adventures in Babysitting, and the Home Alone series. Columbus’s strong grounding in the cinema of the Here and Now left him under-prepared to capture the magical appeals of the Potter franchise, so he went back to literalism, transcribing Rowling’s novel onto the screen with stenographic loyalty. The result was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban full movie which, for all the spark and wit of their source elements, appeared boring and lifeless, like filmed books-on-tape. Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, while seems less faithful to the details of Rowling’s masterpiece, captures far better its sentiment, the constant sense of marvelous discovery and hidden danger.
Harry, as children adores in at least 61 languages are well aware, is a young wizard attended Hogwarts Academy, a kind of coed Eton for the magically gifted, located in a vast medieval castle in northern England. Like the previous adaptions, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban full movie starts just before the beginning of the school year, with Harry, who spends summers in the rural side with an abusive aunt and uncle, longing for his return to Hogwarts. In keeping with Rowling’s basic concept, Harry has an unpleasing encounter with his relations and responds with an involuntary exposure of magic. But already there is a more foreshadowing edge to the occurrences, with both the abuse and the boy’s response relatively darker than previous films. And that’s before Harry discovers the scary black dog grunting at him from the bushes.
Things get a bit better after Harry reunites with school peers Ron and Hermione and returns to Hogwarts. A murderer, Sirius Black, has fled from the formerly inescapable wizard prison of Azkaban and seems attempting to kill Harry. Worse, the Dementors charged with chasing Black soul-sucking wraiths that make Peter Jackson’s Nazgul look like Ewoks appear also to have taken a bad interest in our young hero. From these foreboding starts unfolding the story with absolute cautiousness for which Rowling is famous, with countless braided storylines – the improvement of beloved ogre Hagrid to Professor of Magical Creatures; the appearance of Professor Remus Lupin, yet another in a series of Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers with a secret; the mystery of Hermione’s overloaded class schedule; the missing of Ron’s pet rat, and many more – leading the story toward an end that will be weirdly unexpected for the audiences who haven’t already read the novel.
Like Columbus before him, Cuarón struggles to harmonize all the details of Rowling’s overstuffed story into the limited running time of a feature movie, losing odds and ends along the way. He never clarifies, for instance, who Padfoot, Prongs, Wormtail, and Moony are, or why Harry discovers a ghostly stag throughout the lake as the Dementors swoop in for the kill. Other oversights are more welcome -particularly a dramatic decrease in the screen time spent for Quidditch and the decision to pass the self-compliment end-of-the-school-year celebration took place in each of the first three books.
However, Cuarón does not limit his variations to cutting. Rather than use his source element as received texts, inviolable and untouchable, Cuarón freely concludes his own ideas. Hogwarts now owns a sophisticate gothic footbridge and a gigantic clock tower whose pendulum swings dangerously across the school’s entryway – this latter depicting foreshadowing the solution to the novel’s central climax. The changes of the seasons are exaggerated with brief comic settings displaying a murderous bit of plant called the Whomping Willow.
Most essentially, Cuarón brings an entirely fresh topography for the Hogwarts bases. The first two films happened almost completely indoor, with only occasionally turn to the Quidditch field, Hagrid’s cabin, or the Forbidden Forest – none of which took place in any obvious geographic connection to the school itself. Instead, Cuarón positions Hogwarts on a steep hillside looking over a crystal lake and draws his characters to come out for some fresh air. (The glorious scenery is credited to Glencoe and Loch Levin, in the Scottish Highlands.) In front of this mesmerizing backdrop Cuarón even spears time to offer moments that are not entirely needed for of the storyline. These sequences – among them two talks between Harry and Lupin, one on the footbridge and the other in woods viewing at the lake – grant much-needed reposes from Rowling’s intense work. Cuarón’s calmness, his willingness to hold to enjoy a mountainous view or a talk between two characters, opens the film up and gives room to breathe. After all, nowadays, any director with a full technical budget can bring us animated trolls and basilisks, flying cars and digitalized chessmen.