Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Gary Oldman, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, David Thewlis
Viewed in theaters: 6/11/04
Best Score - John Williams (lost to Jan A.P. Kaczmarek for Finding Neverland)
Best Visual Effects (lost to Spider-Man 2)
It is no coincidence that I am posting this review on Harry Potter's (and JK Rowling's) birthday. Just thought it would be a good day to post my next Harry Potter film review. I would also like to boast that I share the same birthday as Hermione which I think is pretty darn cool if I do say so myself.
This is the third film in the series and this is the point in the novels when the story really gets more interesting. We're introduced to new characters who are quite pivotal throughout the rest of the series. Of course I'm talking about Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. I know many people love this film and claim it's their favorite Potter movie and while I think it's cinematically better than the first two, I still had many issues with it, mostly the characterization of certain characters.
While enjoyable to a certain level, I always found the first two movies to be too cutesy and mostly marketed to the kiddie crowd. Of course Harry and friends are eleven and twelve in those movies, so I can somewhat understand the reasoning for that. Also, I don't know if it's because of Curaon's direction or because they're getting better with experience, but the three young actors don't act as though they're reading their lines from a cue card and the interaction between them and the other characters seem to flow much more naturally.
My biggest gripe with Azkaban is the characterization of Hermione. She is so out of character in this film, it drives me insane! First of all, she seems to take over the movie halfway through even though the movie is called HARRY POTTER and the ..... She's the one who's pretty much front and center and she steals other character's lines. But those aren't the reasons why she's OOC. Let's go through the examples, shall we? I can name three off the top of my head:
1. Hermione punches Draco: Okay, yes, Hermione dislikes Draco greatly, but punching him in the face? No, just no. If Hermione were to attack him, she'd use her wand, but even then this is the rule-following Hermione we're talking about. Now if Ron had punched Draco, that might have been more believable.
2. Hermione fretting about her hair: Ugh, I hate that scene when Harry and Hermione have used the Time-Turner and they're hiding in the woods so their past selves, who are crouching behinds the pumpkins in Hagrid's yard, don't see their future selves (I'm sure that sentence didn't make any sense for those of you who have never read the books or seen the movies!) Hermione looks at her past self and makes the comment, "Is that really how my hair looks from the back?" Um, excuse me, but has Steve Kloves even read the books? Hermione is not the vain type who cares what her hair looks like, especially in a situation like that. It was a stupid throwaway line that wasn't needed.
3. Hermione not thinking something through: When future Harry and Hermione are trying to pry the werewolf (awful CGI, by the way), away from their past selves, Hermione howls so the wolf comes over to them and tells Harry that she "didn't think about that!" when the wolf comes running over to them. This is Hermione Granger the smartest witch in her grade and she doesn't think something through? Huh?
It's not just one little thing, it's all these scenes where she is totally out of character and it makes me wonder if Rowling was busy writing Half-Blood Prince when the film was being made because surely she wouldn't stand for this murdering of her beloved character!
Luckily there are a couple of cute HeRmiONe scenes. When they're both looking at the Shrieking Shack, Hermione suggests that they move closer. She means to the shack but Ron thinks she means to each other and gets all flustered. Also, when Buckbeat is executed, Hermione hugs Ron, but then Harry tries to get in on the action too, tisk tisk. Forget Bella and Edward! (GAG!) Ron and Hermione are the cutest literary couple from the last decade