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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

July 3, 2011

1. Film Analysis

In the third film installment of Harry Potter, the tone  is much darker than in previous films.  Prior to this film, there is lots of talk about Voldemort and the evil that he brings.  However, Voldemort is not in this latest film and yet the fear is much higher when the dementors take the screen.  Through great cinematography and directing, the dementors  make this film equivalent to any horror film.  Their distorted faces, and “the kiss of death” we see on the screen are nail-biting fear.  When the dementors have gone and Harry has recovered, Ron says they make him feel as if he can never find happiness again.  They represent what is most evil and vile and once in their clutches it almost seems impossible to escape.

2. Book Analysis

One of the main themes in the book is betrayal.  In the beginning of the book Harry learns that Sirius is his Godfather and that he betrayed Lilly and James Potter.  He feels so betrayed by Sirius’ actions that he doesn’t fear Sirius but wants to kill him.  We also hear the story of betrayal later when the real story comes out that Pettigrew was the real secret keeper and that he betrayed the Potter’s.  We see betrayal when Buckbeak is beheaded simply because Malfoy exaggerates his injuries.  Hagrid feels that sting of betrayal the most until the time-keeper makes it possible for Harry and Hermoine to save BuckBeak.  This theme is intertwined with the theme of growth and change.  We see Harry grow and learn from each time he is faced with betrayal.  Harry learns to never take words at face value.  He learns that his father’s courage and kindness live on through him.  For the first time we see Harry as having extended family and with this he gains a new sense of pride and belonging.

3. Internet Research

This is a cute interview with Harry, Hermoine, and Ron(Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint and their take on Prisoner of Azkaban.  Additionally, the interviewer asks each of them about their lives since Harry Potter.  The actors talk about how reading the books affect their role expectations. It’s a cute interview with the 3 main characters.

This site is fan site about all of the Harry Potter books.  It does have photos about the movie premiere of The prisoner of Azkaban and it has a synopsis of the film.  There is also a link for YouTube videos associated with Harry Potter.

THis is a great site that gives great information about the film.  One can find themes, quotes, and study questions on the site.  Because this is a site about the book, you can find information about each of the characters.  Additionally, there is a great section that gives a book analysis.

4.Critical Analysis Question

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is considered by some critics to be the best Harry Potter film adaptation. It is considered by other critics to be the worst. What do you think? (This question implies familiarity with both the books and the films).

While the Prisoner of Azkaban is more visually stimulating than the first two films in the series, it is not an accurate adaptation of the book version.  In the book version, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, there are several critical storylines that are left out in the film.  One of the big stories essential to the plot is the relationship between Sirius Black, Lilly and James Potter, Professor Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew.  In the book Rowlings describes their relationship when they were young and attended Hogwart’s .  We go on to read about how they acquired the names Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs.  The book gives the reader background information about the strong relationship they shared with one another.  In the film there is no mention of these names or of the history they shared together.  This is important in the plot of the story and in understanding why Snape despises Black as he does.  It’s important in understanding how they all came to be animagus and why that was important in their relationship.  While this film was very entertaining, it leaves a lot of critical information out.  Many stories are left undeveloped and therefore the viewer who has never read the books is left a little in the dark about the true spirit of Rowlings book.


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  1. As usual, all good stuff. Your argument paragraph was particularly good. But I do have to take points off for mentioning by name He Who Shall Not Be Named (just kidding!). 10/10.

    • haha I almost said he who shall not be named but couldn’t get the wording right. : )

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