Nine Quick Thoughts About Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

1. I have rarely seen a movie that has pacing this bad. The first and second acts trip along nicely, before we’re suddenly rushing through a very hasty third. Then, the last half hour replays the third act. This whole “time turner” thing works far better in a literary format. On screen, it’s just really bad. The last part of the movie is just a yawn fest, because it’s so painfully obvious what’s going to happen. It really just kills this film dead.

2. David Thewlis is a badly under-rated actor, and is one of my favourites to see on screen. He really carries this picture, and he’s great in all of the scenes he’s in, even if the twist about his character is extraordinarily weak and obvious. It’s important to note that in a film where Gary Oldman is a title character, Thewlis really steals his limelight.

3. Lupin is now number three of an ongoing series of “Defence against the Dark Arts” who are either evil, bad or have some form of dark secret. It’s around now that starts to get noticeable, and the next three books will add more.

4. This movie starts the “growing up” tone, with the first few proper hints at the Ron/Hermione sub-plot and the greater number of scenes with the characters wearing contemporary clothes. It’s done well enough, and it important to start this process.

5. The “time turner” is really dumb. It is the worst kind of dues ex machina, because it creates this gaping plot hole for the rest of the series. There is no problem it could not, potentially, solve and they never mention it again. You always have to be careful when writing up objects and plot devices of that sort and Rowling was clumsy with it.

6. Dementors are cool and all, though I’m struggling to avoid the comparison with Tolkien’s Ringwraiths.

8. Malfoy is very underused in this flick. It’s a shame that Rowling left it so late in the series to really start developing him, because he could have been a really fantastic villain.

9. Seriously, his name is “Lupin”. It’s like she wasn’t even trying with the names.

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