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Now that I've seen it...

Last night I saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I had bought my ticket in advance and still left over an hour early--what a fuss I made to get there early and find good seats, and the place wasn't even crowded! I guess that everyone had plans to see the movie in another theater? O_O

My general opinion was that the movie was really odd. Which is more than I could say for the first two, which were bland and obvious. There were a lot of parts from the book that were missing and I admit I was disappointed to not see the history of the Marauders explained, but it was a gorgeous, gorgeous movie. It didn't feel like Harry Potter, it felt like one of those movies I loved when I was a kid and watched ad nauseum, like Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Yes, it was dark, and it didn't play it safe, but what an emotional impact it had! What a freaky, beautiful movie!

But let me give a rundown on my impressions of the new characters:

Michael Gambon as Dumbledore: I saw the movie with Kristen and our mother, who hadn't been to a movie theater in the longest time, either. Mom didn't like the new Dumbledore. She had also previously said that Richard Harris was bad, and she has only read half of the first book. I liked Michael Gambon's performance a lot, though. He had some of the funniest lines in the film. He was so quirky and weird that perhaps he didn't feel as dependable as the former Dumbledore (whom I think sucked), but as a movie character in his own I thought he was great. Michael Gambon's Dumbledore was a cool, wacky and eccentric character. He gave the impression that if he wanted to he could kick your ass, whereas Richard Harris...well...you know.

David Thewlis as Professor Lupin: I know a lot of people regard Lupin's look as a black spot on David Thewlis' career, but as someone who's seen him in at least ten films I can say that he had more "cute" moments as Lupin than as any other character he's played. When he was sick he looked ghastly, but there were other moments where he appeared radiant. Lupin was cute. When he first showed up his voice sounded kind of weird, like he had a frog in his throat, but that look he had on his face when he was watching to see if Harry would eat the chocolate he gave him was priceless! I'm not sure what he was trying to do with his accent. At first I thought he was playing Lupin with a standard educated English accent, but towards the middle of the movie the Northern accent slipped out and stayed out. It was cute. ^o^

You know, the bad thing about seeing movies in the theater is that you can't go back and rewatch the scenes you liked the most. The scenes with Harry and Professor Lupin were over too quickly. I can't wait till the DVD comes out. David Thewlis did a great job as Lupin, and I wanna watch his scenes over and over again! It bothers me that people are still complaining about Lupin not being good-looking, because he was actually quite attractive. :P

Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney: I was prepared for her to totally suck, and she totally didn't! Well, she wasn't brilliant, but she was very funny. I don't think anyone could be brilliant at playing Professor Trelawney. She's not a great character. On second thought, maybe Emma Thompson was making a fool out of herself, but she got some laughs from me. ^o^

Gary Oldman as Sirius Black: Um...I don't know how I can say this, but I found his performance in the Shrieking Shack appalling. He sounded like he had accidently taken a whiff of laughing gas and gone on with the scene from there. Talk about chewing the scenery! Fuumuu fuumuuu....once he calmed down he was quite good. His final scenes with Harry were very touching, and I loved the part when he apologized for biting Ron's leg. He seemed to me to be very much like Order of the Phoenix era Sirius.

Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew: He wasn't in it enough to make a difference. They might as well have had a dummy in his place. Hopefully this will improve later.

Even though I had been warned against her, I liked Dawn French as the Fat Lady. Julie Christie as Madam Rosmerta was good as well.

All in all, I would give the movie an 8 out of 10. It wasn't as obviously faithful as the first two movies, but it felt like it was the only one really worth watching. It was flawed in some aspects but wonderful in others. I remember being disappointed in the first two movies and deciding to take them only as companions to the books. The third movie stands out in a class by its own. Even if some unpleasant changes were made, I walked away from it thinking that Cuaron was a very talented director. I would love to see POA again.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 5th, 2004 03:24 pm (UTC)
I've seen it just a couple of hours ago... at first impact I have to say I didn't like this movie at all. (and I was the first to say the others two were just banal... =__= now I think I'm rediscovering them...)
I really liked David Thewlis as Lupin and Gary Oldman played a good Sirius - even if I don't like the character and I usually don't like Gary Oldman as well... XD
Michael Gambon played a better Dumbledore than Richard Harris (I just thought the same as you! XD lol) and Emma Thompson was a nice Sybil... the rest of the cast is annoying to death, except Rupert and the twins.
I didn't like Cuaron's style at all... the movie is FULL of holes in the plot. If you can't follow the whole story, just make another one, keeping the basic points! It's annoying to watch a movie that runs so fast just to reach... nothing. T___T
Anyway, I don't know. Maybe I'd find the movie better at a second glance. :| So far I'd say 6 out of 10, not more...
Jun. 7th, 2004 06:35 pm (UTC)
I admit that the movie was kind of hard to follow and jumped too quickly from one point to another. It was disappointing to have so much background material left out, but at the same time there were some moments in the film that were truly beautiful. The bad camera work in the first two movies hurt my eyes. At least, if the movie is different from the book you have the book to look forward to again. The first two movies were so cut and dry they made the books seem less interesting than they really were!

I think the only thing you can really compare it to is a manga to anime conversion, because even though the POA movie didn't seem faithful to the book it was much closer than most book to movie adaptations I've seen. When they make a TV series or movie based on manga it follows the basic story but the manga always seems more rich and varied. At the same time, seeing the story on film can help you form a more complete image of the characters from the source material.

I guess they're never going to be the same! ^__^
Jun. 5th, 2004 03:59 pm (UTC)
We also just finished seeing the movie. I wasn't sure what to make of Dumbledore II... I liked Richard Harris' twinkly-eyed venerable old Dumbledore, possibly because he looked and sounded really convincingly ancient. The Michael Gambon Dumbledore was so very robust! He sounded like a healthy 60 year old, rather than an ancient wizard... I can think of some other roles he'd be well suited to, but this one felt jarring to me. Perhaps I will just assume that Dumbledore got a shipment of Viagra and ginseng and changed because of that. :p

Lupin/Thewlis was superb, I thought! Of course, I went into the movie with a slightly confused mindset (more on that in my own LJ, I guess) but he really made the movie for me. :)

Sirius Black, on the other hand, probably needed more screentime. Otherwise, the gibbering madness from the Shrieking Shack scene really comes out of nowhere (and the resolution to that seems somewhat unconvincing).
Jun. 7th, 2004 06:40 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is that Dumbledore in the books is supposed to be odd and energetic. Richard Harris played him in the most sensible way considering what kind of role it was but weird as he was, I think Michael Gambon was more accurate.

I'm hoping there will be extras on the DVD that will give Sirius and Remus more time to explain their past. The story of their friendship with Peter and James Potter was hacked to pieces in the movie, and it was a pity!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )