Nov 192017
 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is perhaps one of my favorites of the series and kind of a shame director Alfonso Cuaron didn’t return to do more of these and it was a nice, and necessary, change-up as Harry’s storyline advances to darker territories.

 

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
(2004)

Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Drama
Warner Bros. | PG – 142 min. – $44.95 | November 4, 2017

Date Published: 11/19/2017 | Author: The Movieman

 


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron
Writer(s): J.K. Rowling (books); Steve Kloves (screenplay)
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths, Gary Oldman, Fiona Shaw, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Tom Felton
DISC INFO:
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Trailers
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 3
Audio (4K): English (DTS:X), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Audio (BD): English (DTS HD MA 5.1) , French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Dynamic Range: HDR10
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K UHD I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.”

Note: Portions of this was copied from previous reviews. Only the video and audio portions are new.


THE MOVIE — 4.5/5


Harry Potter (DANIEL RADCLIFFE) begins his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with his two best friends, Ron Weasley (RUPERT GRINT) and Hermione Granger (EMMA WATSON). Of course, it wouldn’t be a normal year if there was no danger or secrets, and this time around, it directly concerns Harry and the deaths of his parents.

Convicted murderer Sirius Black (GARY OLDMAN) has escaped from the infamous Azkaban prison in order to take care of Harry. Sirius Black was apparently the one who betrayed Harry’s parents, sending in Voldemort after them. Harry must now be on the lookout for Black plus deal with his own past as his wizardry powers continue to grow stronger with each passing year.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was, as a non-Potter fan, much better and more enjoyable than the first two. Although I liked Chamber of Secrets well enough, Azkaban had something different in it that took this franchise to a new and different level. Perhaps it was the change of guard with Chris Columbus stepping down (to spend more time with family) and replaced by the director of Y tu mamá también, Alfonso Cuarón. At first, a change like this seemed perplexing to say the least, but upon watching this film, I tend to see why Warner Brothers and company chose him. While it’s not a vast change, this Potter film was a tad bit darker (though it’s been years since I’ve seen the others) and seemed to match the darker tone of the story.

The Potter franchise has taken a natural and smooth progression keeping the cast mainly intact (with only Dumbledore being recasted due to the death of Richard Harris). For me, I appreciate continuity that begets a certain familiarity that many sequels miss.

Speaking of which, Daniel Radcliffe does a great job once again, as do Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. These three primary actors really seemed to have a close bond that translates very well onto the screen. Finding that certain chemistry of best friends is hard to do and when you believe they are friends and have known each other as long as these characters have, it makes it easier to enjoy the movie as a whole.

New to the franchise are David Thewlis as Professor Lupin, some more mysterious creatures including the guards of Azkaban who are known as Dementors, plus the Prisoner of Azkaban himself, Sirius Black played by veteran Gary Oldman. In regards to Oldman, he is only seen (slightly disappointedly so) until near the end which is usually the norm for the other adult actors such as Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane and Maggie Smith. This is nothing bad about the film but I like Gary Oldman and had hoped for more screen time, but be it as it may, he turns in a solid performance.

While this Harry Potter movie is different from the previous two entries (and we can expect the same differences as Goblet of Fire will have a new director), it also remains the same in some ways. If one were to watch all three back-to-back-to-back, it all seems to be a part of a complete set (like the novels).

Overall, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban will surely please the die-hard Potter fans as well as those who are not. I myself found it more enjoyable than the first two and personally made the anticipation for Goblet of Fire grow further. While I still have some reservations about how dark these Potter films have been (and this one is no different), the kids seemed to really like it and the adults surely will too.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5


This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Disc 1 (4K):
No features.

Disc 2 (BD):
No features.

Disc 3 (BD):
Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 3: Creatures (1:03:22; HD) – The third documentary of the eight planned takes us inside the various creatures in the movies chronicling creating them either via CGI or practically and also give background on each of them. This feature interviews with the cast (Radcliff, Watson, Grint, etc) and crew (Columbus, Yates, a couple producers and others in the creature design arena) who give their insights into each one.

Inside the Creature Shop (8:27; HD) – Special Make-up Designer Nick Dudman gives a tour of the shop where the creatures are created. There’s nothing really fascinating here but we do get some extra looks at the creature designs.

Deleted Scenes (4:53; HD) – Five scenes have been included here for the first time and although they don’t offer much, it’s nice to have them here and in high-def. Given the movie was already 142-minutes, these were rightly excised.

The following are “Vintage TV Specials”:
The Magic Touch of Harry Potter (42:28; SD) – This old documentary, that originally aired on A&E and narrated by Jeremy Piven, shows how the mega-hit novels were brought to the big screen, focusing on Prisoner of Azkaban.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Something Wicked This Way Comes (13:02; SD) – More goodies that gives glimpses at making POA including interviews with the cast and crew but obviously made to get the audience excited to see the third film.

The Making of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (10:02; SD) is another featurette that only gives a brief look on how the movie was made; only made to advertise the new film.

An Interview in Spanish with Alfonso Cuaron (8:15; SD) is fairly obvious as the director his thoughts on the projects.

Last on this disc is the teaser trailer (1:51; HD), theatrical trailer #1 (1:24; HD), theatrical trailer #2 (2:01; HD) and a few various advertisements (iPhone app, pop-up book, etc).

 


VIDEO – 4.75/5


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban debuts on 4K presented with a 2160p ultra high-definition transfer and shown in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio. Being this is probably the darkest of all of the films, more so in style, which was a departure from the first two, I wasn’t sure how this would look and all in all, was impressed. Although colors aren’t entirely vibrant, though there are splashes here and there mainly with the skin tones, the dark levels are nice and stark throughout without being overly crushed and still being able to discern certain detail in those shots.

AUDIO – 4.75/5


The disc sports a DTS:X track, a solid upgrade over the Blu-rays DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. As with the other films in the series, the audio here does sound fantastic presenting excellent and clear dialogue levels while also showcasing fine depth during the various action sequences, however those are few and far between so I don’t think you’re surround system is going to get much of a workout. That said, the LFE channels do kick in for that extra boost I like reverberating around the room.

 


OVERALL – 4.5/5


Overall, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is perhaps one of my favorites of the series and kind of a shame director Alfonso Cuaron didn’t return to do more of these and it was a nice, and necessary, change-up as Harry’s storyline advances to darker territories. The 4K UHD offers up excellent video and audio transfers and there is a good selection of bonus features ported over from the UCE.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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