Movie of the Week: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

Considered by fans and critics to be one of the best movies in the franchise, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is LETNetwork’s choice for “Movie of the Week.” Directed by Mexican film director Alfonso Cuarón, his darker take on the franchise was incredibly refreshing for fans of the series. Casting the top notch actor Gary Oldman for the role of Sirius Black, the third installment of the Harry Potter movies moves into a more sophisticated stratosphere with its more serious tone. Warning: possible spoilers ahead.

Beginning the movie where the previous installments had done at Harry’s repulsive aunt and uncle’s home, Harry once again makes his way for another year at the wizarding school of Hogwarts. However, the escaped criminal from the prison Azkaban, Sirius Black, has has caused the presence of dementors. The dangerous shadowy beings roam the school campus in an attempt to find the convict. Being an old friend of his father, Professor Lupin informs Harry that him Sirius, and Peter Pettigrew were all close friends before Sirius supposedly betrayed their father to Voldemort and killed Peter. It is only when Sirius reveals himself and explains his innocence do the characters realize it was Peter who betrayed them and Harry’s family.

There are multiple great performances throughout the movie but the most impressive was Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Sirius Black. Clearly physically and mentally tormented in a supernatural prison, his introduction scene tells the audience a great deal with his appearance alone. Sirius’ need for vengeance is palpable as he cannot even control himself in front of his god son Harry. His emotion in proclaiming he had done his waiting in prison as the murderer of his best friends scurried free cuts the audience deep. His few scenes alone makes this film worth the watch.

While previous Harry Potter movies promoted a feeling of joy and wonder, this film takes a dark and serious turn. Harry is much older now and is no longer a young child. He is confronted with a mystery that, if solved, will get to the bottom of the reasoning and circumstances of his parents murder. All the while twisted soul devouring creatures fly around as an ominous setting overtone. Not only does the movie stand on its own two legs in terms of a singular plot, but it succeeds in setting up the sequels to the franchise. This movie is highly recommended and a must watch for any fantasy lovers.

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