Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Harry Potter and the Filming of Azkaban

Monday, June 14, 2004
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the first of the Potter films which is actually a film in its own right rather than a predictable book-as-script adaptation. Director Alfonso Cuarón (of Y tu mamá también fame) has brought his own magic to Rowling's tale and created a cinematic experience worthy of the best of the Potter series to date (at least in my humble opinion!). While purists may be appalled at Cuarón's lack of fidelity to the book, his alterations make the story far more cinematic while remaining faithful to the tone and feel of the tale. Simple changes see the Weasley twins producing sweets which make the recipient sound like an animal, as opposed to the unfilmability of different tastes. More dramatic changes see Malfoy's race-hatred relegated to a couple of lines, and the backstory of Azkaban prison completely omitted, and that's just the beginning. These changes, however, make Azkaban a far better spectacle. Cuarón has brought an almost gothic sensibility to the project, with haunting shots, terrifying Dementers and a generally darker feel to the whole story. Of equal importance is Cuarón's own take on magic and muggle lore; the set and prop design suggest a relationship between magic and technology, positing magic as having some sort of origins in Copernican science. Lupin's study harks back to early ideas of astrology, but also manages to draw in elements of alchemy. Professor Lupin, played by David Thewlis and Professor Trelawney played by Emma Thompson are both perfect additions to the cast. Lupin's relationship to Harry becomes even more fatherly in the film, while Thompson has minimal screen time, but makes the most of every second (it should be added that her annoying classes and the portents of Harry's demise are only just included in the film). The Marauder's Map provides bookends for the film, and is fantastically brought to the screen! I must admit, I like Harry less and less as the story continues (in both book and film), so I might be being a bit harsh when I find Daniel Radcliffe's acting a bit cardboardy at times. On the other hand, Rupert Grint's Ron is funnier than ever and Emma Watson's portrayal of Hermione Granger is brilliant; Hermione really gets to star in Azkaban and she makes the most of it (she is, after all, the most talented witch of her age!). So, if you haven't guess by now, I think Alfonso Cuarón has done a brilliant job with this third installment of the Potter series; the film is joy to watch and the only one (so far) worthy of re-watching!

Mischief Managed.

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