Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
|Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy-adventure film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, written by Steve Kloves and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the third installment in the Harry Potter film series and is produced by Chris Columbus, David Heyman and Mark Radcliffe. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry’s best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The supporting cast features Michael Gambon, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Timothy Spall and Emma Thompson. Julie Christie makes a brief appearance as Madam Rosmerta in the movie.
The film was released on 31 May 2004 in the United Kingdom and on 4 June 2004 in North America, as the first Harry Potter film released into IMAX theatres and to be using IMAX Technology. It is also the last Harry Potter film to be released on VHS. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards — Original Music Score and Visual Effects at the 77th Academy Awards held in 2005, which it lost to Finding Neverland and Spider-Man 2, respectively.
While Prisoner of Azkaban garnered the highest critical acclaim of the series and grossed a total of $795.6 million worldwide, its performance at the box office ranks as the lowest amongst the seven films. Nonetheless, it currently stands as the 29th highest-grossing film of all-time.
Harry Potter is at the Dursleys’ for the summer, spending his time studying new spells undercover. When Uncle Vernon’s sister, Marge, comes for a visit and infuriates Harry by insulting his parents, he accidentally causes her to inflate and fly away. Harry loses his temper and threatens to curse Vernon but flees, fed up with his life at Privet Drive. The Knight Bus appears and delivers Harry to the Leaky Cauldron, where Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge tells him he will not be arrested. Harry also learns that Sirius Black, a convicted supporter of Lord Voldemort, has escaped Azkaban prison and is likely intending to kill Harry.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione head back to school on the Hogwarts Express. They share a compartment with the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin. When the train abruptly stops, Dementors (the guards of Azkaban) board, searching for Black. Harry faints when one Dementor enters their compartment, but Lupin repels it with a charm.
At Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore informs students that the Dementors will be guarding the school while Black is at large. Professor Lupin is introduced, and Hagrid is announced as the new Care of Magical Creatures teacher. Lupin’s lessons prove enjoyable; he focuses on practice, not just theory, and encourages less confident students like Neville. However, Hagrid’s first class goes awry when Draco Malfoy deliberately provokes the Hippogriff, Buckbeak, who then attacks him. Draco’s father Lucius Malfoy has Buckbeak sentenced to death.
During a Quidditch match, several Dementors approach Harry, causing him to fall off his broomstick. Lupin teaches Harry to defend himself against Dementors with a Patronus charm. Because Harry lacks parental permission to visit Hogsmeade, Fred and George give him their Marauder’s Map, a magical document showing every person’s location within Hogwarts, as well as secret passageways in and out of the castle. At Hogsmeade, Harry overhears that Black is his godfather and was his parents’ best friend. Black was accused of divulging the Potters’ secret whereabouts to Voldemort and murdering their mutual friend Peter Pettigrew. Harry vows to kill Black.
As Harry is leaving his Divination final exam, Professor Trelawney enters a trance and predicts that the Dark Lord’s servant will return that night. Later, Harry, Ron, and Hermione visit Hagrid to console him over Buckbeak’s impending execution. While there, they discover Scabbers, Ron’s missing rat. Fudge, Dumbledore, and an executioner arrive at Hagrid’s to carry out Buckbeak’s execution, and the three students hurry away to avoid being discovered. Scabbers suddenly bites Ron and escapes, the trio chase him. A large dog appears and drags both Ron and Scabbers into a hole at the Whomping Willow’s base. Harry and Hermione follow them through an underground passage to the Shrieking Shack.
There they discover that the dog is actually Sirius Black, who is an Animagus. Harry attacks Black, but Lupin arrives and disarms Harry. After exchanging a few cryptic words with Black, Lupin then embraces him as an old friend. When confronted by Hermione, Lupin admits to being a werewolf, and he and Black begin to explain that Black is innocent. Professor Snape bursts in, intending to hand over Black to the Dementors, but Harry, having begun to believe Lupin and Black, knocks him out with a spell. Lupin and Black explain that Scabbers is actually Peter Pettigrew, an Animagus who committed the crime for which Black was convicted.
Lupin and Black force Pettigrew back into his human form preparatory to killing him, but Harry intervenes saying that his father, James Potter, would not have wanted his two best friends to become killers. Pettigrew was then to be turned over to the Dementors. As the group heads to the castle, the full moon rises; Lupin transforms into a werewolf, and Pettigrew manages to escape. Lupin and Black fight in their animal forms, until Lupin is distracted by another animal’s howls. Dementors attack Black and Harry. As their souls are about to be removed, Harry sees a distant figure cast a powerful stag-shaped Patronus that scatters the Dementors. Harry believes the mysterious figure is his dead father.
Harry passes out from the trauma, and awakens to find he is in Hogwarts and Sirius was captured. Acting on advice from Dumbledore, Hermione reveals that she possesses a time-turner that she has used all year to take multiple classes simultaneously. She and Harry travel back in time three hours, watching themselves repeat that night’s events. They free Buckbeak, and return to the Whomping Willow. As the Dementors descend to attack Black and his “other” self, Harry realises that he himself was the one to cast the Patronus, and rushes to do so. Harry and Hermione rescue Black, who escapes on Buckbeak. Lupin resigns the next day, knowing that parents will object to a werewolf teaching their children. Shortly after, Black sends Harry a Firebolt, the fastest racing broom ever made.