Here’s the thing, I’m quite fond of the Harry Potter novels and most of the film adaptations. This past week, Paul and I got our hands on the Blu-ray box set of all the films and so we’ve been watching through them. Tonight we watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
While I appreciate that this film had a change of director, it did have the same scriptwriter, and that it was an adaptation of the longest novel in the series (up to that point), I don’t think it’s quite as good as the first two films. My negative thoughts towards it are due to several reasons and I acknowledge that some of them are perhaps a bit of a fan thing coming through. But hear me out, there are some technical aspects of the film I found lacking.
For instance, the use of the Whomping Willow as a cutaway option and used as a way of showing the passage of time – I don’t feel that it really works. I think it ended up over used and was not as good a tool of showing the passage of time as the previous two films had been with their incorporation of seasonal events.
Perhaps one of the main problems I have with this film though is the amount of subplot from the novel that was chucked out and the blossoming relationship between Ron and Hermione that was basically shoehorned in. The relationship could have been done more subtly and the subplots, well I think they should not have overlooked the past relationship between James, Remus, Sirius and Peter as much as they did.
Sure it was a longer novel than the previous two, but because the film relentlessly progresses from one main plot point to the next, you hardly ever feel like you had the chance to catch your breath. Showing seasonal events and having a couple of scenes to explain Mooney, Padtail, Wormtail and Prongs – to me – would have greatly improved the pacing.
Pretty much, including any one of the subplots from the novel that were removed for the film would have helped the pacing. It also would have helped with the exposition just that bit more. And while this film is long, they could have cut down on some of the depiction of the Dementors to save some screen time.
And why, for pity’s sake, was the damn Headless Hunt galloping around the place? Why was the Pink Lady no longer the Pink Lady – did someone promise Dawn French the chance to appear in one of the films? (That’s the fan bit I warned you about.)
Not my favourite film in the series.