1) Alfonso Cuarón’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the director’s first foray into the Potter series. The movie stays close to the book it is adapted from, thematically, anyways. Good versus evil is the theme that permeates the series; but Cuarón’s installment is decidedly less sure about which side colors the world of his movie compared to his predecessor’s. The dark tones and graininess that define this installment are not without merit though, for the third installment of the series is when one feels that events have been set into motion that will ultimately lead to Harry and Voldermort’s meeting. The first two books serve to set up the story, its universe and its characters, while the third is decidedly influenced by the dark lords presence.


2) Pretty much all of what I said about the movie is true for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. But there is so much more to Rowling’s sprawling third book. The written word is allowed to work slowly, to ferment like wine, and slowly more details are added like ingredients to the mix, slowly letting them intermingle and meld in the mind. Thus Alfonso Cuarón’s problems are in terms of creating characters that are complex and believable, even one’s that appear for the first time in the third book. Events are easy to stage, recreate. They are given meaning only through what we know about the characters involved. Yet time is money, as they say and especially for the movies. Events are what drives the story forward, get it from point A to point B, and Alfonso Cuarón must find a way to develop his characters during the succession of events, in contrast with Rowling, who could spend chapters developing the intricacies of a character.





– A site dedicated to finding anomalies in movies that have time travel. The site creator apparently thought the time travel in Azkaban was simply ludicrous but has recently taken back his pronouncement. A quote from the preface of the article: “I might owe J. K. Rowling something of an apology.  I had read the book and seen the movie, and was caught on the fact that Harry Potter cannot survive unless he survives.  If we learned one thing from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, it is that only those who win get to come back in time to change the details.  These are wonderful stories well told, but this is a temporal disaster–and I said as much.  I had, however, missed a possibility, and if one essential detail can be accepted, the film just might work.” Needless to say, anyone who takes the time travel of Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey as a matter of strict inquiry – and learns from it – is awesome and worth reading.



– An odd, creepy account of Azkaban through the lens of the bible (the resultant picture is not a positive one). The author basically says the Dudleys are the only non-satanists in the book.



– A site of fan drawings of the book. Interesting to see the more cartoonish look the artist chose, in contrast to the darkening tone of the books and movies.


4) To many critics, Alfonso Cuarón did a good job in the film in steering the Harry Potter series in a darker direction. How is Prisoner of Azkaban “dark”? And how does this relate to the growing maturity of both the main characters and the actors?

Cuarón’s Azkaban is decidedly darker, and it matches a noticeable turn in the seriousness of the series. The film is grainier, and darker in almost every conceivable way. Its as if he took all the lights from the previous movies and dimmed them. Furthermore, the evils Harry encounters are more adult, in their physical appearances and their consequences. This darkness relates to the growth of the characters and actors maturity in an interesting way. The Potter series came out one year at a time, and so as the characters grew, so did the audience. With the audience being young children, the change in maturity over a year is greater than say between twenty year olds, or teenagers even. The darkness motif works for a couple of reasons. First, maturing as a child is a scary thing. Not only are you unsure of what is happening to you, you are also given more responsibility, and are expected to face your fears, be they the dark of a room without a nightlight or a stranger next door. Secondly, the actors themselves are able to play more risque roles as they grow before our eyes on screen, mirroring the path of the children who admire them so much.