First official review of 'Prisoner'

  May 23, 2004 at 12:48 AM ET
  Geri     Yahoo! News (via Newsweek)

Newsweek has posted the first official film reviewopens in new window of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the movie rocks.

The first scene of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban removes any doubt that the famous child wizard is growing up fast. The camera glides toward a light pulsing in the night, then through an open bedroom window, where Harry is hiding under his covers, playing with his wand and hoping to God he doesn't get caught.

Intentional or not, it's a pitch-perfect bit of subtext, and only the first of many reasons Azkaban rocks. Sure, there's a werewolf and a hippogriff and a bunch of other magical stuff, but the real reason this third film in the series outshines the others is that it's about something far more frightening than failing your Potions final or facing Lord Voldemort.

In Azkaban, Cuaron keeps the camera moving, using very few close-ups, which adds to the eerie sense that Harry is being stalked. The result is a film that's really moving—and really moves.

Of course, all of Cuaron's efforts would have been for naught if the three stars—Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Emma Watson (Hermione) and Rupert Grint (Ron)—weren't up to the task. But their performances, Radcliffe's in particular, are far more impressive this time around.


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