1. Analysis of the book
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment of J.K. Rowling’s popular Harry Potter series, succeeds in furthering the story of Harry Potter and having a universal appeal to children and adults. Once again, Rowling’s uncanny ability to stack mystery on mystery and piece things together is on full display in the book. Also, the book stands out because it introduces readers to important characters central to the development of the story, such as Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. The characters are very well written, which makes the story that much compelling—always a quality of Rowling’s writing. In terms of the plot, while it turns out that Sirius Black is on Harry’s side and not a follower of Voldemort, and Voldemort remains largely absent from the novel, the reader notices the ascension into darker matters, as Harry will no doubt have larger obstacles in the upcoming books.
2. Analysis of the film
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the first and only Harry Potter film to be directed by Alfonso Cuarón and it’s fair to say that he succeeded in his only attempt. The film was a successful change in direction from the previous two films directed by Chris Columbus. Perhaps the first thing the viewer notices is the stunning visuals and Cuarón’s methodic keenness to detail in every frame throughout the film. Along with the detail, the film is noticeably darker than the two previous films and one indicator of which is the Dementors—large, scary, soul-sucking creatures that are perhaps too intense for children. The film works the time travel angle quite well and accurately portrays the main characters (Harry, Ron and Hermione) during a time of maturation, which enhances the validity of the film.
3. Analysis of the adaptation
As is the case when examining a book’s adaptation to film, one of the first things to be examined is what the film included and more seriously, what it left out. In Alfonso Cuarón’s adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, there seems to be significant detail excluded from the novel. For example, according to lecture, there’s no “Owl Post,” no equivalent to the different books and forms of writing in the book, barely a Quidditch match—actually, its purpose is for a Dementor attack—and more. On the other hand, it’s tough to incorporate every detail from a 435-page book into a movie. There has been debate whether Cuarón’s film was truly a good adaptation and I believe it was, as he stayed true to the story, developed the characters and set the story up well for its fourth installment in theaters.
4. Online research on the film
This website is an interesting read because it describes what worked and flopped in the Harry Potter movies and how they compare to the books.
This paper, titled, “The Prisoner of Azkaban: A New Direction for Harry Potter” describes the elements of Cuarón’s directing and the new direction in which he chose to take the film.
This particular page on the Leaky Cauldron website contains analysis of all the adaptations of Harry Potter books to film. According to the website, it’s “the largest Harry Potter Social Network on the Web.” With currently 86,900 people who like The Leaky Cauldron on Facebook, I can’t disagree.
5. Critical analysis paragraph
To many critics, Alfonso Cuarón did a good job in the film in steering the Harry Potter series in a darker direction. How is Prisoner of Azkaban “dark”? And how does this relate to the growing maturity of both the main characters and the actors?
Alfonso Cuarón’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is dark in a way that probably few saw coming, as the movie was filmed with this dark tone and background. First, if you Google search the title of the book, the movie posters are all dark and the characters appearing in them either have a serious or scared look on their faces. It’s a microcosm of the movie, which portrays darkness in the return of Sirius Black and the ongoing presence of the Dementors (Voldemort too is also rebuilding and not out of the picture). The darkness also symbolizes the maturation process for Harry, Ron and Hermione, who encounter more and more real issues and face a nearly constant threat of death that even the walls of Hogwarts have trouble repelling. The state of the wizard world is about to shift to the darkness of Voldemort and his dark army and this movie portrays that. In many ways, the film does a good job of setting up the fourth movie.