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Harry Potter and the prizoner of Azkaban DVD

by Warner Brothers Pictures; directed by Alfonso Cuaron; starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Emma Thomson, Julie Walters; to name but a few.

On the whole this is a pretty good dvd. Not overpriced for a 2 disc set, and some interesting extras. But why didn’t they put it in a nice cardboard cover like the other 2 so they can go in a nice row on the dvd shelf looking smart? Probably a subtle hint to get us to fork out the extra money for the 3 film box set.
The film itself is really good – our family were all there with our tickets booked as soon as they were on sale for the pre-showing. The new layout of Hogwarts bugged me. The whomping willow was definitely in the wrong place! But I did like the extra scenery of the hills and the area around the school.
For children it did get scary if they didn’t already know the happy ending. Despite trying to finish reading the third book to my eldest daughter, I was a few chapters from the end when we saw the film and she actually fainted when she thought Black was going to kill Harry in the shrieking shack. (we just chucked her head down; then gave her some water and carried on watching!) She was 8 then, but my other daughter who’s 5 had no problem with it at all!
The beginning of the film didn’t seem to run smoothly from one to the next with each bit being too short. I felt like it was being rushed to get through everything, and you shouldn’t feel like that. But once the kids were at school it all flowed smoothly along. Using different coloured leaves on the trees to show season to season worked well.
On the whole it went from book to screen pretty well. They obviously can’t put everything in, but it was a shame there was none of the stress of Hermione’s work load and the arguments between her and Ron about the rat and Crookshanks. The actors all looked so much older! And Malfoy looked too much like Eminem and my kids thought it was a different actor. The dementors looked how I imagined them really; I suppose their effects on Harry were tamed to get the PG rating. Kids can be old that monsters and werewolves aren’t real, but the sound of a mother dying is another matter.
Now, back to the dvd. The deleted, or unfinished scenes were much better in this one, but far too short. Obviously a lot more of those scenes were filmed and I suspect they’re keeping them for future special editions to make us part with more money. Also, there were no commentaries, which I was disappointed about (though expecting as there weren’t on the other 2 either). Again, I’m hoping there will be on future releases.
Johnny Vaughan’s interviews were interesting, but weren’t exactly ‘raucous’ as described on the cover. And I wished they were longer. I love all the behind-the-scenes sort of stuff, so the creating buckbeak and the dementors bit was the best for me. And I was really surprised that they actually used real bats in Hagrid’s hut; and filmed a real hippo for one of the pictures in Hogwards. I just assumed that would’ve been added later on computer.
The tours of honeydukes and Lupin’s classroom were cleverly done, but just a bit dull. There was also a couple of games that kids might enjoy doing.
Definitely a good value for money dvd, when you often get films for the same price with little or no extras. But then, many of us will also buy the 7 film box set. And also the special edition the year after that will the extra extras!!

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