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JLFM's Movie Reviews (152)

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 
Improves Upon The First Two
3.5/4 stars

After two entertaining and likable films starring the students of Hogwarts, we have the first truly great Harry Potter film. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban takes everything that made the first two films great, and expands upon them, making this easily the best Potter film so far.

Harry Potter and friends are once again studying at Hogwarts, though the escape of an insane murderer named Sirius Black threatens the lives of everyone at Hogwarts, namely Harry.

The characters are as lovable as ever, music is great, acting is (mostly) solid, etc. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban avoids many of the pitfalls of the first two films, and manages to bring a whole lot of new magic to the series.

The story, while seemingly simple at first, becomes more and more complex as the story unwinds. The plots for the original was relatively simple, and while the sequel's plot was a large improvement, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban takes things a step further.

The visual effects are significantly better in this film than the previous two. Magical spells and creatures come to life in a more real and convincing way than the previous two films ever managed.

Despite a nearly 2 and a half hour length, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is entertaining from start to finish, with few moments of exception. There are loads of memorable scenes packed into this film, from suspenseful action scenes, amusing spell and magic displays, and some very polished use of time travel at the end.

The acting is good, but as is expected of child actors, some more emotional scenes are performed quite poorly (and dare I say it; laughably). I'm specifically referring to Daniel Radcliffe, who's acting as Harry Potter is good, but he simply cannot convey the emotional complexity his character is demanding. The other actors are good (including Michael Gambon who replaces Richard Harris as Dumbledore), though Emma Thompson as Sybill Trelawney steals every scene she's in (though admittedly, she's not in many).

The score, composed by John Williams, features a diversity that's not evident in the previous two scores. Moments of fun and intense action are scored pitch perfect by the master composer. This is the last Potter film that Williams scored for, but it seems that Williams really brought his A-game for his last outing at Hogwarts.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is funnier, smarter, and more exciting than anything witnessed in the previous two films. Massively entertaining, and certainly magical, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a superb fantasy film.

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