Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is not simply the movie that modified the Harry Potter movie franchise without end, making a richer on-screen universe for this beloved story, however helped form the following decade of younger grownup movie franchises for the higher as an entire. As we attain the 15th anniversary of the movie’s launch, let’s break down why this movie was so essential within the historical past of cinema and adaptation storytelling…
Earlier than Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron got here on board the Harry Potter franchise to direct the third movie, the collection was very a lot a straight-forward, by-the-book adaptation of J.Okay. Rowling’s bestselling collection, kind of in step with different movie diversifications of kids’s books. This is smart, on condition that American director Chris Columbus, who helmed the primary two films, had made lots of the most iconic household lk21 films of the previous couple of many years, together with House Alone, Adventures in Babysitting, and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Cuaron’s entrance into the Harry Potter franchise would set the tone for a extra complicated adaptation of kids’s books, heading right into a prolific time for diversifications of younger grownup e-book collection particularly (partially impressed by Harry Potter‘s success). Cuaron did not simply change the Harry Potter franchise along with his path of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He modified the established order for all book-to-film diversifications geared toward younger folks, making the following decade in blockbuster cinema a way more fascinating place.
Azkaban is darkish, emotionally-rich, and tonally-nuanced.
For most individuals who’ve both watched the movies or learn the books, Prisoner of Azkaban marks the start of a turning level for the collection. Whereas it nonetheless retains the comparatively quick, extra cohesive journey thriller format of the primary two books/movies, it begins so as to add in a darkness and narrative complexity that isn’t as current within the earlier, extra simple Harry Potter installments.
In Prisoner of Azkaban, Rowling begins to broaden this world by giving us the story of the Marauders, Peter Pettigrew’s betrayal, and Sirius Black’s tragic life story because of that betrayal. It performs with the idea of time — each within the type of Hermione’s Time-Turner and in an exploration of the earlier era’s affect on right this moment’s youth — in complicated methods, hinting at how essential understanding the previous would develop into in defeating Voldemort as soon as and for all.
We meet the dementors and study Azkaban for the primary time. We begin to extra totally discover the legacy of James and Lily Potters’ murders, not merely as a tragedy for Harry, however as a tragedy for these individuals who had complicated lives of their very own. Their deaths not solely affected their child son however the numerous others who cherished them.
For the primary time within the collection, Rowling is not afraid to widen the main focus from Harry’s personal life and perspective to a extra complete one, based mostly across the different Mauraders. This modification in each scope and tone is mirrored in Cuaron’s directorial decisions. He visibly darkens the film, whereas additionally taking the time to indulge within the emotion of Harry, Sirius, and the numerous different characters on this movie in a manner The Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets and techniques didn’t.
Cuaron did not merely darken the world of Harry Potter with Prisoner of Azkaban, in fact. He performed with a wide range of tones, infusing marvel, curiosity, humor, and teenage angst into the method. That final one is especially essential, as it will go on to play a a lot bigger function within the franchise transferring ahead, most notably within the following movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Hearth, directed by 4 Weddings and a Funeral‘s Mike Newell.
Given the character of those characters being a bit older than within the first two movies, it is comprehensible that Columbus wasn’t capable of tease these similar notes out in The Sorceror’s Stone or Chamber of Secrets and techniques, however Cuaron’s normal curiosity within the wealthy, interior lives of Harry, Ron, and Hermione is an enormous enchancment on their earlier characterizations.
Cuaron offers each these characters and the film’s younger viewers extra credit score, asking extra of his viewers than Columbus ever did. This can be a ability Cuaron had additionally demonstrated in his glorious adaptation of A Little Princess virtually a decade prior, and one that might be infused into the most effective younger grownup movie franchises transferring ahead.
Azkaban is not afraid to vary the supply materials.
As a lot as I hate that Cuaron not noted a lot of the Marauder’s backstory in his retelling of Prisoner of Azkaban, total, his consolation with making modifications to Rowling’s supply materials within the curiosity of pacing, continuity, and the respective strengths and weaknesses of movie vs. the novel, had been an enormous turning level for the Harry Potter franchise that might go on to have an effect on different Harry Potter installments, most notably, Deathly Hallows: Half 1.
Cuaron described this problem to IGN, saying:
I needed to be very respectful to the supply materials, but additionally to the 2 earlier movies. However, on the similar time, I used to be making an attempt to make one thing that I may really feel my very own.
Although even the least trustworthy of Harry Potter movies are nonetheless fairly darn trustworthy, each Prisoner of Azkaban and Deathly Hallows: Half 1 aren’t afraid so as to add components, along with taking out particulars within the curiosity of time. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Cuaron provides the Shrunken Heads onto the Knight Bus. Cuaron’s dedication to creating the film his personal is echoed in later franchise selections, such because the addition of one of the vital quiet, most intimate scenes in your entire collection: Hermione and Harry dancing in Deathly Hallows: Half 1.