Thursday, January 06, 2005

Harry Potter at the Movies

Last night, my wife and I popped in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (PoA). It is the third movie in a series of film adaptations.

If I really need to get into Harry Potter and who he is, then let me wipe off the bottom of the rock for you and tuck you back in.

Of the three movies, PoA is the best and the one that I would watch over and over again if given the opportunity.

PoA was a departure from the first two films in two respects. They chose a new director - younger, hipper director that offered a fresh slant to the highly popular and familiar characters and they strayed from the book some. That... for me... made for a much better movie.

The original director - Chris Columbus of Home Alone fame - did a tremendous job adapting the books from book to film. The visuals were stunning and the characters developed exactly as I thought they would. I enjoyed watching the visuals I had created in my head come to life. That is also the reason why I don't necessarily need or want to watch them again.

Although they were triumphs in film making, they were stale. Nothing new was offered. I didn't really need the movie to experience Harry Potter.

PoA however, was fresh. The new director - Alfonso CuarĂ³n - took the book and maintained a strict adherence to the book but didn't rely on all the subject matter. He took what he needed and turned it into a film. He even added new plot elements. He made a better film since I wasn't sure what to expect.

Some of the highlights included:

1. When Harry and Hermione left the inrfirmary to "fix" the problem, (I don't wanna give the plot away to people who want to be surprised) there was a ticking clock. Go back and watch it... it was so subtle but a brilliant addition to the flick.

2. The new director moved the whomping willow tree and Hagrid's hut to a new location -- one that made more sense.

3. I know it is small, but I really appreciated the costume design in this flick. The kids didn't wear those god awful robes for most of the movie. They wore regular kid clothes like sweaters and T-Shirtish type tops with jeans and sneakers. Just a small detail that I appreciated.

4. The casting of some of England's finest actors including one of my top five -- Gary Oldman. When Emma Thompson is playing the smallest of the major roles... you know you got yourself some fine actors.

That's it for now.


Post a Comment

<< Home