Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban © Warner Bros.. All Rights Reserved.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry, Ron and Hermione, now teenagers, return for their third year at Hogwarts, where they are forced to face escaped prisoner, Sirius Black, who poses a great threat to Harry. Harry and his friends spend their third year learning how to handle a half-horse half-eagle Hippogriff, repel shape-shifting Boggarts and master the art of Divination. They also visit the wizarding village of Hogsmeade and the Shrieking Shack, which is considered the most haunted building in Britain. In addition to these new experiences, Harry must overcome the threats of the soul-sucking Dementors, outsmart a dangerous werewolf and finally deal with the truth about Sirius Black and his relationship to Harry and his parents. With his best friends, Harry masters advanced magic, crosses the barriers of time and changes the course of more than one life. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron and based on J.K. Rowling 's third book, this wondrous spellbinder soars with laughs, and the kind of breathless surprise only found in a Harry Potter adventure.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 4K Ultra HD Review

As Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his third year, he once again faces an unknown foe in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Eagerly awaited by fans back in 2004, this third installment of the popular series also saw a changing of the guard with Director Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) replacing Chris Columbus (Home Alone) at the helm.  This meant that while the series had a good, solid foundation, this third film was a little darker as well as more artistic than the previous two movies.  No longer was the audience a casual observer peeking into this magical world but suddenly we were completely enveloped in the drama and action.

As Harry gets ready for another year at school he, along with everyone else, is aware that Sirius Black (Gary Oldman; The Dark Knight) has escaped from Azkaban prison and is coming for Harry.  What we don't know is why.  There is also a new Professor at Hogwarts, Professor Lupin (David Thewlis; The Theory of Everything) who holds his own dark secrets.  As these two men converge at the famed school we find out more personal details about Harry, his parents and the details leading to their untimely deaths.  Not to be missed is also Hermione Granger (Emma Watson; The Perks of Being a Wallflower) time traveling through the semester.

While not my number one favorite film in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban certainly ranks up there in my top three.  As previously mentioned, Cuaron gives us a much more stylized film with sweeping angles and great shots.  He also delivers a more mature and complete picture of Harry and his friends Hermione and Ron Weasley (Rubert Grint; Snatch).  Though not easy to take over from another, successful Director Cuaron did a great job and paved the way for David Yates (The Legend of Tarzan) to build upon in the fourth installment as he helped move the series from childlike wonder into deeper, darker places than previously explored.

The 2160p high definition video is certainly a treat for fans of the film who already own the Blu-ray version.  While there is a coldness that permeates the movie the Blacks have a warmth and depth to them that helps engross the viewer completely. The colors are full and rich with little noise found anywhere.  The DTS: X audio is outstanding and once again accentuates another one of legendary John Williams' (Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope) soundtracks.  The mix is nice with music and effects not overpowering the dialogue that sits comfortably in the center channel.

The set comes with the 4K Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray disc, and the Ultraviolet Digital Copy.  The extras sit on the traditional Blu-ray and is previously released material including Behind The Story broken into the following segments: Creating The World of Harry Potter Part 3: Creatures, Inside The Creature Shop, The Magic Touch Of Harry Potter, Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban: Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Making of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, An Interview in Spanish With Alfonso Cuaran, plus Trelawney's Crystal Ball Deleted Scenes, and Trailers.

With the upgrade in technology, it is no wonder the Harry Potter series has been given the updated release.  These films are ripe for the newest and best and the transfers are very well done.  Among the best is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with its excellent audio and video quality.  The 4K version enhances the story and the viewing pleasure and is well worth the price.  Honestly, any Harry Potter fan with a 4K Blu-ray player should invest in the whole series but if you want to pick one film to "test it out" before buying them all, you can't go wrong with this one.

Grade: A-


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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban images © Warner Bros.. All Rights Reserved.

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