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(Review originally written at 4 January 2005)

This third Harry Potter movie is different from the previous two movies. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" is darker and much more mature but not better than its predecessors.

Yet again there are several things wrong with this Harry Potter movie. The movie starts of too slow with a completely wrong pace due to some poor editing. Once the movie really gets started you'll notice that there are several things different about this movie compared to the first two. No, I'm not just talking about the visual style or the fact that Harry and his friends are wearing 'normal' clothes, I'm mainly talking about the two things that I missed most in the movie; The humor and the adult cast. What made the first two Harry Potter movies excellent to watch was the perfect English adult cast with many big names. In "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" the adult cast is heavily underused. Gary Oldman who I normally love was way too plain and boring in this movie, I actually really wish now that he hadn't been in it. Odd thing is that they let the main adult character play by the fairly unknown actor David Thewlis. Micheal Gambon does his best but he really wasn't Dumbledore to me. Richard Harris scene's as Dumbledore always brought a smile on my face and I really enjoyed every scene with him, Gambon just plays the role very plain and I just couldn't like it...

Problem is that the story takes itself too serious. The first two Harry Potter movies had a fun feeling especially between the three main characters and some good humor. In "Harry Potter the Prisoner of Azkaban" everything is far more serious and less fun. The story also gave me the feeling that it wasn't very original all. It seems like J.K. Rowling uses a bit too many parts and elements from different fantasy genres.

Good news is that the special effects are looking great. Another great thing was that there were some nicely done acting sequence's such as the werewolf scene which I found quite good.

It is still good entertainment, especially for children and the Potter fans, although the movie probably is too scary for the very young ones.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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