My Harry Potter Journal 4 - The HORRIBLE Prisoner of Azkaban Movie
I think this journal is going to be more of a rant about how bad the movie was, but I also want to make it clear how much I enjoyed the book. When people used to tell me that the movies were bad, I would pass them off as Harry Potter nerds who were never satisfied and had high expectations. I mean, how bad could the movies be? And I'll admit, the first two movies were decent, not as great as the books of course, but at least they made sense. The Prisoner of Azkaban though, holy crap. I feel like it was made with the expectation that people who had already read the book, so they didn't even bother explaining half of the story. It was pretty much an extended trailer of clips featuring highlights from the book.
The Prisoner of Azkaban Book
So before I go off on a tangent about the movie, I just want to say, this book was really good. I've heard countless times that Book 3 is where the series starts to get really good, and you know what, they were right. I mean, I liked the first two books, but it didn't have that OMG AWESOME factor to it. I really enjoyed the plot twists and suspense in this book.
Like usual formula of Harry Potter books until this point, the first half of the book is usually about the Dursley's home, Harry's mission getting to Hogwarts, the introduction of his classes, etc... The conflict doesn't really start 'til about halfway through. In this book, I felt the first half was better than the previous book, as Sirius Black escaping from prison was mentioned in the first chapter, along with the Dementor scene on the train. There was definitely some action in the first half, so it was by no means boring.
It really started to pick up in the Hogsmeade scene though where Harry found out about what Sirius Black actually did (or what people thought he did anyways) and how it all related to James Potter. It was really interesting hearing about the previous generation and there was an allusion to the first book where Hagrid rides Black's motorcycle to save Harry, and it suddenly clicks in your head that it was mentioned in the first book. Overall, you finally get a glimpse of the events that took place 12 or whatever years ago when Voldemort killed Harry's parents. The final scene was really good as well, when we learn that Sirius was actually innocent and it was Peter that killed the innocent muggles and betrayed Harry's parents.
Overall, I enjoyed this book the best so far. I see that it's already lengthier than the first two by about 100 pages, though I guess that was well deserved for such intriguing background information and all of the events that took place. My only problem was with the last scene where Harry and Hermione have to travel back in time to save Black. The chapter seemed to go on too long explaining events that had already happened and overall just didn't seem justified, it was hard for me to believe that was the only way to save Black. At the same time though, it was nice to finally find out how Hermione was attending all of her classes. My original prediction was a doppelganger or something.
Why was the Prisoner Of Azkaban Movie so bad?
So, why did I feel the movie was so bad? Well, there's lots of reasons but most of it really just goes down to plot. There is no way in hell that someone who was just following the movies would understand the plot, or the significance of the events, at all. I mean, I get it, it's a complex series of events and it's hard to transfer them to movie form, especially with a time restraint, but come on, at least explain the damn plot properly! I was shocked to see that the time of this movie was less than the previous two, considering so much more happens. Little did I know that they took away a third of the plot...
Basically, here are the main problems with the movie:
- The Hogsmeade scene doesn't really get the point across that well of how Black betrayed Harry's parents, why he was the secret keeper, or his relation to his parents and how close they were. I mean, it's described briefly, but it's more of a "meh" revelation than the epic feeling I got when reading the book when I was like "oh snap!"
- The last scene was just awful. One second Harry hates Black and wants to kill him, and then he instantly believes him about the Peter thing, which still isn't explained that well. Did they even explain how Peter ended up becoming the secret keeper? And then a minute later Black is asking to live with Harry and you're just like... Oh okay...
- The pacing was bad, everything just happens so fast you don't get anything to sink in.
- The casting/acting seems to have gotten worse. I just didn't like Lupin, Black, or Peter's character's. They seemed kind of silly and not as dark as in the book. Ron and Hermione are kinda portrayed as stupider. The part where she walks off from Divination class didn't seem believable at all. Speaking of which, the Divination teacher also seemed really silly, which she was also in the book, but in a frightening psycho sort of way. In the movie she just seems stupid.
- The Animagus history of the characters was barely explained.
- The one thing that I liked were the Dementor's, they were pretty cool and still horrifying, Except for the Quidditch scene. That could've been done so much better, and the music used in the scene was just as bad. Also, why didn't we hear Harry's mom's screams? They took all of the horror out of the Dementors!
So yeah, basically the movie sucked. While the graphics were still well-done (except for the dog and werewolf, they looked shrimpy instead of scary...) it still didn't justify the plot decisions and overall bad acting. I think Harry Potter would've faired much better as a TV series. This allows time for everything to be explained and better pacing as a result. But I guess WB wouldn't have cashed in as much dough that way, and that's what it comes down to in the end right? I don't think I'll be wasting my time watching the movies after this point... except maybe Deathly Hallows.
The Prisoner of Azkaban Movie v.s. Book
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My Harry Potter Journal Series
- Introduction: I Have Never Read a Harry Potter Book or Seen a Harry Potter Movie
- Part 1 - After Reading the First 5 Chapters
- Part 2 - Finished Reading The First Book
- Part 3 - Chamber of Secrets and First Two Movies
- Part 4 - The HORRIBLE Prisoner of Azkaban Movie
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