Here is another From Book to Movie piece focusing on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie. After re-reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and finishing Harry Potter and the Sacred Text: Season Three, I’ve been trying to find the time to watch the movie adaptation, and finally did!
I continue to believe the main actors (Harry, Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, etc.) were cast extremely well and really enjoyed the chemistry they shared with each other.
There were a few character switches in this movie. One of the biggest change was the casting of Dumbledore due the death of Richard Harris (Dumbledore in the first two movies). Both actors do a wonderful job, but there is definitely a different acting choice both make. While Harris played more of an older wise grandfather role, Michael Gambon brought a more lively acting style. Though I can see the significance of both, Gambon almost harsh way of portraying of Dumbledore can be a bit overbearing. However, I’m getting ahead of myself. I thought Gambon did a nice job playing Dumbledore in this movie, even with tying his beard (not a big fan of that, lol).
Tom from the Leaky Cauldron was also re-casted. In the first movie, Tom was a calm and seemingly sweet bartender. The Tom here was a hunchback who was somewhat obnoxious. Also, the Fat Lady was different. These changes didn’t really change the overall presentation of the movie, but after seeing this movie several times, it was easy to recognize the differences.
The only other aspect that I wished was different in the script/dialogue was the direction they took Hagrid. In the book, I felt the pain that Hagrid felt throughout the whole Buckbeak trial and the seemingly inevitable execution. Here, you can see his sadness once and no more. It seemed unrealistic for the Hagrid character to be just kind of upset by Buckbeak’s demise, instead of completely in shambles because of the love he has for all creatures.
I really enjoyed the music yet again in this third installment of Harry Potter. There’s a homey feeling when I listen to the Harry Potter music.
The one that sticks out to me the most in this movie was when Harry was flying on Buckbeak for the first time. It was during Hagrid’s first lesson and Buckbeak flew Harry over the lake. Watching and listening filled my heart with such happiness. It was so beautiful, and I thought the music fit perfectly with the scene.
There were a number of changes to the script and dialogue when comparing to the book. Some changes worked fine, while others I found a bit off. I found the Quidditch scene much more believable this time around versus previous attempts. I also found the Ron and Hermione argument sequence in the movie less annoying than the book. When reading, I just wanted them to be friends again, but it took so long. In the movie, the arguing over Crookshanks was minimal and there were even some flirty scenes, which I enjoyed better.
One of things that was done here that bothered me was the mini-monologues that a couple of characters took part in; they felt so forced. So much of these movies is the feel that we are entering the magical wizarding world as an outsider, just getting a peak. The mini-monologue scenes I’m referring to makes it feel as if the characters are directly speaking to the audience, which actually made me cringe.
Two mini-monologues came from the random Gryffindor male student who spoke about the Grim in Trelawnley’s class and about catching Black is like catching smoke with your hands. The other came from Dumbledore when the students were sleeping in the Great Hall due to Sirius Black breaking into Hogwarts. Dumbledore said something about letting Harry dream and not telling him about Black yet. Both characters were almost looking at the camera and talking to the audience more than to someone in the scene. This choice felt different than the other two movies, and I did not care for it.
The other biggie is the beginning sequence. Clearly, Harry is at the Dursleys, where he isn’t supposed to use magic, but he keeps repeating “Lumos Maxima”. Why is he trying to learn any spell in the Muggle world when he could easily be expelled for doing so? The inconsistency goes even further when both Vernon and Harry, at different times toward the beginning, plainly stated that Harry could be expelled for using magic outside of Hogwarts. This seems a bit careless, and I’m not sure why no one caught it or cared.
This will be my last comment: When Lupin is teaching with the boggart, there is a part that just doesn’t make sense. In the book, Lupin doesn’t allow Harry to confront the boggart since he was afraid that Voldemort would appear in the classroom, but in reality Harry was thinking of the dementors. In the movie, Harry does confront the boggart and it takes the shape of a dementor before Lupin interferes. Maybe the shape of the dementor was for audience purposes only and Lupin didn’t actually see the formed creature, but this wasn’t really made clear when watching and it just bugged me, lol.
Scenes I Missed:
One of the biggest scene changes that I missed happened during the train ride to Hogwarts. Both Ginny and Neville were in the compartment with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Lupin in the book, but in the movie they weren’t. It would have been pretty powerful to see both Ginny and Neville have a more similar reaction toward the dementor as Harry did. Ginny because she was possessed and almost died in the last book/movie while Neville’s parents (we learn) were tortured to insanity by Voldemort supporters. I feel that the relationship building between Harry and Ginny is portrayed better in the books than the movies. A scene like this would make that future relationship more valid and more satisfying. There was another scene when Harry and Ginny share a secret laugh as Percy struts toward his girlfriend. Again, this could have added to the validity of their relationship.
I also missed the involvement of Crookshanks throughout the movie, especially toward the end. He wasn’t part of the whole Sirius Black reveal, even though he played a big part in the book. As a side note of those last few scenes, Hermione doesn’t seem to be upper body strong. How is it that she is able to lift Harry with one hand while being flung around by the Whomping Willow? Wouldn’t it have made better sense to have Crookshanks know how to stop the tree from thrashing, like in the book, than portraying Hermione as Hulk Jr.?
It was definitely another great Harry Potter movie, and one that I enjoyed. With the exception of the inconsistencies in both the script and presentation of the movie, it was a fairly good from book-to-movie adaptation.
If I had to give this book-to-movie adaptation a rating, I would give it an 7/10 Buckbeak feathers!
Thank you for tuning in! Until next time!