June 02, 2004

Harry Potter – The Prisoner of Azkaban – Movie Review

A Garbled Tale – A Lot of Fluff
By Fred H. Arm
So here we are with number three in the series of a now older 13 year-old Harry Potter that badly limps in story content. Sure, the movie is full of neat special effects, cute scenarios, and spectacular sets; however, as far as a good tale is concerned, this screenwriter must have been absent during writing 101. This fable keeps bouncing around from one implausible and twisted situation to another without rhyme nor reason to fortify its transitions. If I wasn’t enthralled by the effects presented on the giant IMAX screen at the Loew’s IMAX, I probably would have spent considerably more time at the snack bar and the restroom.

Many of the special effects seem to be a rip-off of the Lord of the Ring’s last adventure. Especially the Werewolf whose face, color and body is virtually identical to the incoherent, naked dwarf in LOTR who if you remember treks along with the heroes throughout the other movie. The “Hippogriff”, half bird and half horse, also seems similar to some creatures featured in LOTR. Frankly, I was not too impressed with the rest of the CGI monsters made for the film. The dreaded “Dementors”, who ostensibly suck the soul out their victims, never seemed to be able to accomplish that task. They seem far better suited for an animated film than a feature.

There were some funny moments, especially at the beginning when Harry casts a spell on his shrew of an Aunt by causing her to inflate grotesquely and float off into the sky over London. His antagonists were lamely presented without nearly the intensity of the prior Potters. In this muddled presentation it was difficult to establish who in fact the actual heavies were. The movie jerks you back and forth until you don’t know whom to hiss at any more, nor do you care.

Had this film been better crafted, it would have been quite memorable in the IMAX format. Now the format and the scenery are the star, leaving the film a mediocre children’s tale. I query whether even a child would be entertained by the confusion and ambiguity. The stunning scenery and special sets are a delight to see; nevertheless, I would still pass on this puppy, unless of course you get to see it on the IMAX screen.

Opens June 4th, 2004.

Posted by fredarm at June 2, 2004 06:14 PM
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