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Harry Potter

I went to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with a large horde last night, almost repeating our annual tradition, except that it wasn't opening night this time. I was impressed. It's the best of the three movies, in large part because of the way secondary plots were effectively cut out. It hung together well. I only missed two brief scenes which would have added to its internal completeness, but which were by no means necessary: the signing of the permission form, and an ultimate explanation of the newspaper clipping. I loved the details, even when they were as stupid as the baby fox sitting by the pathside while the children come down the stairs. I especially liked the various uses of the whomping willow. And Buckbeak! He wasn't at all as I imagined him, but he was perfect.

I thought it was a little too heavy-handed on the uses of clock-like devices, and was particularly disturbed by the enormous pendulum which swung back and forth over the entrance they kept using. I also thought the werewolf looked a little cgi-stupid, particularly when compared to Sirius' variant. Much as I loved what Emma Thompson did with Professor Trewlawney, I'm not sure any of the Divination class scenes were actually necessary for the movie; but more world detail is good.

Also - the entire animagus reporter plot was cut from the movie. In general, it's extraneous material but, as C. has observed, it does add a crucial extra element which isn't really in the book otherwise: the way events at Hogwarts can have major effects on the entire wizarding world. It's a gentle introduction for the increasing level of politics in the subsequent books.

My favorite job from the credits: Creature Hairstylist.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2004 03:49 pm (UTC)
I was reading in this week's EW that Cuaron wanted to cut Prof. Trelawny, but JKR made him put her back, because her prophecy is so important for the story, and possibly for future books. (Duhn-duhn-DUHN!) I enjoyed Emma Thompson quite a lot, though.

I didn't mind the clock visuals, but I am psyched by that sort of thing, so... ;-)
Jun. 6th, 2004 07:49 pm (UTC)
Good moments in HP
I've just come back from seeing it - I liked the care of magical creatures book...:o)

This film had a different director to the previous two. Chris Columbus couldn't put the same amount of energy in yet again so I think he changed to executive producer or something. Both Chris and J.K. were happy with the replacement though, and I think his style worked well. The book was darker and he worked hard to achieve that, but you also had the other little moments to punctuate it.

I want to go back and read the books now....
Jun. 7th, 2004 03:25 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed it, but couldn't for the life of me remember if the animagus connection/stag/James Potter connection was spelt out in the third book or the fourth--if it was supposed to be in the third, then why wasn't it there?! The stag Patronus seems really gratuitous and confusing without that explanation...but without copies of the books to refer to here to see, maybe it wasn't explained until the fourth book and I'm quibbling needlessly!

Otherwise I thought it was decent and MUCH less choppy than the second one in particular...but what does bother me a tad is that the books are so detailed that even the best director can't capture the richness in the same way in the film.

c'est la vie!
Jun. 7th, 2004 11:19 am (UTC)
*scratches head*
When I went to see the film, I watched for the baby fox because you'd mentioned him... but I didn't see him. Foo. It sounded like a cute little detail to throw in.

As the credits rolled, I liked that the footprints on the map changed slowly from people-prints to paw-prints when they listed the main folks responsible for the werewolf cgi-effects :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )