Last night I went to see an exclusive pre-release screening of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”…a benefit of working at AOL which is owned by Time Warner, which owns Warner Brothers, which distributes the Harry Potter series. The third movie installment of the wildly popular book series was directed by Alfonso Cuaron, a well respected but fairly unknown director.
Well, I must say that “Azkaban” is a wonderful movie and a significant step up compared to the previous two installments (which I very much enjoyed). The pace of the movie was quick and smooth, and Cuaron did an outstanding job of transitioning between scenes and plot lines. He did an effective job of focusing on the key elements of the storyline, rather than trying to have the movie go exactly by the book. I think he was effective in making the not-so-bold assumtion that the majority of the people seeing the movie will have either already read the book (if not the entire series to date) and/or seen the previous two releases and therefore, are well versed in the basics of the story (that Harry lives with his muggle relatives, that he hates living there, that he goes off to school for another year, etc.). Yet, with that said, I do think he could have put a bit more time on the movie to build out some of the storylines a bit more. I got the feeling that the critical scene in this book (you know what it is – rats and warewolves) happened far too early in the movie. All in all, a fine effort and a movie well in keeping with my favorite installment of the series to date.