Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a fantasy film produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, Heyday Films, and 1492 Pictures. The film is the third edition to the Harry Potter film series (after the Sorcerer’s Stone and the Chamber of Secrets) and is based on the novel of the same name. Released on 23rd May 2004, the film is directed by Alfonso Cuarón and features a cast of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, and Richard Griffiths.
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The Film Review
The film begins as we get to see Harry reunite with his friends at Hogwarts after another devastating summer vacations. Harry learns that a dangerous murder of the wizarding world, Sirius Black, has escaped from a prison in Azkaban and is coming to kill him. Meanwhile, Harry maintains a good relationship with his new Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin, who teaches him the spell to repel dementors that have constantly been irritating him.
After Hagrid’s Buckbeak becomes executed for injuring Draco Malfoy -only after he provoked it-, Ron’s pet rat Scabbers bites him and escapes. Ron tries to chase after it, but a large dog appears that drags both Ron and Scabbers into Shrieking Shack. Harry and Hermione follow him only to encounter Black who is revealed to be an Animagus.
Lupin arrives and explains how Scabbers is actually an individual known as Peter Pettigrew who had framed Black for his crimes. Harry suggests sending Pettigrew to Azkaban instead of Black however as they appear to walk back, Lupin suddenly transforms into a werewolf due to the full moon and inadvertently attempts to attack the rest which enables Pettigrew to escape. Harry and Hermione travel back in time using her Time-Turner and protects the Buckbeak from execution, thereby letting Black escape through it. The film ends as Black sends a Firebolt broom as a gift to Harry, which he happily accepts.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban features the return of the regular cast, but the film becomes relatively darker than its previous versions. Director Alfonso made sure that the film was creative, but not in a fake sense. Alfonso made sure that the production didn’t include anything that would be too flashy, making the film look cheap.
To aid him in his cause, over 750 VFX shots were taken by five different companies including Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), The Moving Picture Co., Double Negative, Framestore, and Cinesite. According to filmmakers, most of the VFX work was divided between companies according to sequence. ILM made 200 shots with the Quidditch game, the Dementors whereas Double Negative made around 130 shots, mostly related to the Knight Bus sequence and the Hogwarts express.
The main score of the film was composed by John Williams. This was the third consecutive and final score that was composed by him. It also received a nomination for Best Original Music at the Academy Awards.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban broke the record for biggest release, by making £5.3 million. The film, overall, grossed over $796 million throughout the world, making it the most popular film of the series at the time. The film is arguably considered to be the best edition in the whole franchise, making it a must-watch!