Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Okay, so I don't get too down about things in the past that can't be changed or fixed, I'll talk a little about this weekend.
David did indeed get tickets to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Friday night. There were things I liked, and things I didn't.
Liked the lighting in this one. No clear sunny day in any part of it. The way the train looked, the sky -- it all looked more authentically British.
Emma Thompson was utterly adorable as Trelawney. She didn't get much screen time, but she was very enjoyable during the time she had.
I liked Rupert Grint in this, and I don't think they should replace him. Indeed, his slight gawkiness due to his growth spurt adds that much more charm to Ron, and makes it less Hollywood and more realistic.
Also liked David Thewlis as Lupin.
Out of the youngsters, whoa, hello Tom Felton! I mean, I think they've all improved somewhat just with practice and getting a bit older, but he was really quite good! I felt arrogance and menace from Draco, accompanied by the complexity of living a very protected life hiding behind an influential father, and not having a name of his own. I don't know if the boy's had acting lessons recently or what, but I thought he showed real promise as an actor in this one.
Thought the CGI looked pretty good in this one, particularly Buckbeak.
Not sure about:
I'm not sure about Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. I got the distinct feeling he was holding back a bit, perhaps to allow the audience to transition comfortably from Richard Harris' portrayal to his interpretation of Dumbledore. I know he can do more with it; he's a classically-trained British stage actor who's a six time winner of the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award, as well as numerous other accolades.
I still can't help wondering what Bernard Hill or Derek Jacobi might have been like in the role. Wouldn't it be neat to be a casting director?
I understand that the director was trying to show a bit of individuation in the characters as they matured, and getting them into casual clothes outside of classes was part of this, but for me, the casual attire kind of hurt my immersion. It made them look, well, too Muggle-like. It made the movie look more like a BBC tale with children in a more normal adventure, rather than feeling like they were on the wizardly side of things.
I know they're still trying to keep it watchable by kids, but I really didn't think they took the dementors to the level of creepiness depicted in the book.
I don't think they made it adequately clear to those who hadn't read the book that Trelawney was having a real prophecy at that point with Harry there, and as prophecies become more important in Order of the Phoenix, I kind of think they should've.
Neither Alan Rickman nor Gary Oldman got enough screen time for my taste. I'm keeping fingers crossed for some sort of extended edition, but I doubt that'll happen. I wanted more of Maggie Smith as McGonagall, too.
I really missed Nearly Headless Nick! I know he's a minor character, but he helps to add to the whole atmosphere of the school, and John Cleese is fun.
I don't think they adequately clarified the depth of the betrayal that occurred at Pettigrew's hands, with the schoolboy friendship between Lupin, Black, James Potter and Pettigrew, aka Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail.
A lot of reviewers have criticized the previous two movies as being cinematic readings of verbatim text from the book. Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing at all, and the pacing of this one definitely felt a little too rushed for me. I liked the first ones for being truer to the books: found it quite refreshing.
Nothing to do with anything, but in certain scenes, I thought Daniel Radcliffe's expressions made him look somewhat like Tobey Maguire. Not all the time, mind you, just here and there.
Goblet of Fire is going to be directed by Mike Newell, who did Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mona Lisa Smile, and a few bits of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. I think that's a good thing. Cuaron was probably a fine director for this particular chapter of the series, but I'm not sure I'd want him to stay for successive ventures.