By Casey Wren
|Image property of Warner Brothers|
As always, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson play Harry, Ron, and Hermione. This movie shows the continuing growth in their acting abilities, with their performances looking much smoother than they did when they first started out.
David Thewlis plays Remus Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher (hey, I’m starting to notice a pattern here). I’ve heard and seen a few complaints about this choice, in regards to the age of the character. A few people seem to believe Thewlis was “too old” for the part. These complaints appear to be few and far between, but I’ll address it anyway because I happen to disagree. Though I don’t think Thewlis looked or was particularly “old”, I remember Lupin being described as looking a bit older than he actually was (or something along those lines) in the books. Besides, after watching his performance, I feel Thewlis was an excellent choice to play the mild-mannered, kindly new teacher, and I wouldn’t have replaced him if I had the chance.
Sirius Black is played by the talented Gary Oldman. Much like Alan Rickman was THE choice for Snape, Oldman is THE choice for Black. His every action, from the delivery of lines to his facial expressions, portray the insane character of Black to perfection (yes, portraying insane perfectly IS a compliment in the right context).
|Image Property of Warner Brothers|
Crookshanks the cat is portrayed beautifully by...a cat. Why am I even mentioning a cat? Well I’ll tell you. Not only am I simply fond of cats and like to mention them whenever I can, Crookshanks played a bit of a bigger role in the book than he did in the movie. How much bigger a role can a cat possibly have? You can read the book to find out, or leave it at “she’s fond of cats and like to mention them whenever she can”. Either way, you’re not wrong.
Michael Gambon plays Albus Dumbledore in this movie. A replacement for the late Richard Harris (who played the character in the previous two films), Gambon is closer to what I imagined Dumbledore to be. Don’t get me wrong, Harris played the character exceptionally, but I pictured Dumbledore as more energetic. Gambon portrays this better, though I must say, both actors portrayed the character beautifully.
Emma Thompson plays Sybill Trelawney, the Divination teacher at Hogwarts. In the book, she’s there mainly to annoy students and readers alike, casting doubt on both her seer abilities and the validity of divination in general. In the movie, she is no different. Still annoying and perhaps slightly delusional, the character is a pain in the neck...but you can’t help but like her just a little bit.
Lastly, we have Aunt Marge, portrayed by Pam Ferris. Though her appearance is only a few minutes long, she quickly earned a place in my heart as the most hated of Harry’s aunts. Yes, even more-so than Petunia. See, for as much as I hate Petunia, she has a story behind her and her actions, and maybe has her own reasons for being as ghastly and dislikable as she is. Marge....Marge is just a bitch. Ferris shows us this in a span of maybe five minutes. Very well played, Ferris, I applaud you.
Next, we have settings. There’s not a whole lot I’d like to note here except for Hogsmeade. Within the first few pages of the book, you learn Hogsmeade is a wizarding village near Hogwarts, and students can get permission to visit the town in their third year. And no wonder they want to go! There’s the entertaining joke-shop, magical candy shop, and even their very own haunted shack. You can see clearly how excited the students are to be there in the movie, and you wish you could be there yourself.
Finally, we have the special effects. The Dementors, in particular, are as pants-wetting scary as they’re described in the book. The guardians of the wizard prison, Azkaban, these are some no-nonsense monsters who don’t take sass from anyone. They drain the fun and happiness out of everything with their mere presence, and they’re not even trying yet! You feel cold, watching them drift around on the screen. Which is good, because that’s exactly how you’re supposed to feel.
Buckbeak the hippogriff looks pretty much like the hippogriff that was described in the book. And with effects updated since the last movies, you feel like you can reach into the screen and feel his feathers.
The beloved Whomping Willow makes another appearance. Last seen smashing stuff up in the previous film, it is now seen...smashing other things up. But now, it’s looking better while it’s doing it. My only complaint is the location. It’s a nitpick for sure, but I noticed it. The tree is much farther away from the school than it was in the last film, and that bothers me more than it really should.
All in all, this was a good adaptation from the book. There was a lot from the book that was cut out and/or didn’t get as much attention, and some of it was fairly important. According to a valuable wizarding source (Wikipedia), this was due to time issues. Which is forgivable. If you tried to fit every detail from a book into a movie, you’d get a movie that’s a week long.
Do you like fluffy cats as much as I do? Or, more importantly, how do you feel about this adaptation?
|Image Property of Warner Brothers|