It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.
Release Year: 2004
Rating: 7.7/10 (166,541 voted)
Critic's Score: 82/100
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Harry Potter is having a tough time with his relatives (yet again). He runs away after using magic to inflate Uncle Vernon's sister Marge who was being offensive towards Harry's parents. Initially scared for using magic outside the school, he is pleasantly surprised that he won't be penalized after all. However, he soon learns that a dangerous criminal and Voldemort's trusted aide Sirius Black has escaped from the Azkaban prison and wants to kill Harry to avenge the Dark Lord. To worsen the conditions for Harry, vile creatures called Dementors are appointed to guard the school gates and inexplicably happen to have the most horrible effect on him. Little does Harry know that by the end of this year, many holes in his past (whatever he knows of it) will be filled up and he will have a clearer vision of what the future has in store…
Writers: J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves
Ernie the Bus Driver
Tom the Innkeeper
Young Witch Maid
Something wicked this way comes.
Warner Bros. |
Release Date: 4 June 2004
Filming Locations: 8 Stoney Street, Borough, London, England, UK
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $93,687,367
(6 June 2004)
(10 November 2011)
Did You Know?
Dudley Dursley has no lines. He only laughs at the TV and gives two gasps of surprise.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs:
In the first scene with the Fat Lady, the background of the painting appears to be inside a structure, with a pillar to the left of the picture. When the picture is next seen after having been slashed, the background has completely changed, with a structure in the far distance. Hogwarts portrait backgrounds are usually static, but this change could be a result of this trauma.
A visual feast with bite
Harry Potter is growing up! The voice is deepening, the shoulders are
broadening and…hurray! You no longer feel like a creep for having a
little crush on Daniel Radcliffe…whoops, did I say that out loud? Say
what you will, I see him making the jump from child star to adult actor
in a way that Haley Joel Osment only dreams of.
Appropriately, this third film in the Harry Potter series has matured
along with it's young stars. At first glance the storyline itself is
relatively simple – Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban Prison and
young Harry is on his hit list. But the reality is that this movie is
about being a teenager and all the trials and tribulations that go with
it. On one level, Harry is like any other kid at school – he puts up
with torment from bullies, gets into scrapes with his teachers and
hangs out with his friends. But this is not just any school. This is
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and Harry has a whole OTHER
set of problems. Like an escaped madman who may just want to kill him,
The plot contains the requisite amounts of twists and turns. The focus
is on Harry's past – Sirius Black was his godfather but just may have
been in league with he who's name cannot be mentioned. There is the
usual game of 'are they or aren't they?' when it comes to deciding
which characters are really the baddies. Alan Rickman continues to walk
the finest of lines between good and bad with his marvelous performance
as Professor Snape. Has there ever been a better match of actor and
character? Snape shows again that, while he may take occasional delight
in making his students' lives difficult, he does have their best
interests at heart – like any good teacher. Other plot quirks worked
well – I enjoyed the way the time travel angle was worked in and the
map showing the location of everyone in Hogwarts was a delight.
Visually, this is a much darker film and it is a sumptuous treat for
the eyes. There is so much incredible detail in the sets that it's
impossible to absorb it all in one sitting. All the staples from the
other films are there – the paintings talk, the staircases move, ghosts
roam the halls – watch out for the knights on horseback crashing
through windows! The special effects are all top notch. A word of
caution for any parents – there are some genuine scares here. The
Dementors are particularly nasty, and I would certainly think twice
about letting very young children watch this film. This is without even
considering it's running time – two and a half hours – which is a very
long time to expect some children to sit still.
One of the most impressive things about this film is the way that the
young cast are more sure of themselves. As Hermione, Emma Watson grated
in the first film with her occasional woodenness. Pleasingly, she has
grown into herself as an actor and her performance here is much more
mature. A leading lady of the future, perhaps? Hermione is growing up
and is tired of being taken for an irritating goody-two shoes know it
all. Rupert Grint provides comic relief and Daniel Radcliffe gives an
outstanding performance, considering the whole film rests on his
shoulders. Harry is the hero – the audience needs to identify with him.
By the end of this film teenage girls will want to take him home to
mother, while their mothers will just want to take him home and adopt
New cast members acquit themselves well. The role of Sirius Black was
tailor made for Gary Oldman – he has a requisite creepiness with just a
dose of humanity to bring the character to life. Daniel Thewlis is good
as Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts master who
takes Harry under his wing. Emma Thompson is amusing as a Divinination
professor with bad eyesight. She can see into the future but can't tell
which students are falling asleep in her class!
Many have criticised Michael Gambon's performance as Dumbledore. While
it's true that he is no Richard Harris, I personally was pleased that
he didn't attempt to imitate his predecessor. Gambon is accomplished
enough a performer to stay true to the character while at the same time
putting his own stamp on it.
Take away the magic and monsters, and what you have is a coming of age
movie. Harry is forced to grow up and confront both his past and his
future, and come to terms with the reality that he is no ordinary
wizard. With the spectra of 'you know who' continuing to loom on the
horizon, roll on film four!