Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban/Goblet of Fire – Combined Movie Review

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban directed by Alfonso Cuaron, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire directed by Mike Newell

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in 2003, and there was quite a bit of change in production between the previous film and this one. Because of Richard Harris’ untimely death, Michael Gambon was recast as Albus Dumbledore, and I already pointed out in my previous review that I think Harris was a better Dumbledore. Gambon wasn’t bad, though. He was just a bit too… Can I say unmagical? … To be the perfect Dumbledore, but he was still good. Not like George Clooney’s Batman, to make an apt comparison.
Chris Columbus was also no longer director, and it was handed over to Alfonso Cuaron, most known for Gravity (which I didn’t like much),  who only stayed for one film. I wish he stayed for more though. 
I don’t think there’s a movie more accurate to the book than the Prisoner of Azkaban, in all eight films. But even looking past that, it’s a great movie in itself. It’s well shot, well edited, and the aspects that made the tone shift were beautifully handled. The change is very apparent from the previous two films and this one, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I gave the Chamber of Secrets the highest rating I could, but this movie isn’t bad at all. What Cuaron did really well, which is also something that this book is filled with especially, is that he handled suspense as he should have. With the introduction of the Marauders’ Map, the angle of Sirius Black, the Dementors  going after Harry… All of it was portrayed magnificently, with great cinematography, sound editing and acting. And despite the complexity of the story, it was told in a way that was really easy to understand, which is always a great thing. 
So with that review being quite short, I’ll just rate it, and move on. On a scale where M is lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: MIHIR

Now I’m going to have to talk about the next movie, which is nothing like its predecessor. 
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released in 2005, and it isn’t good. That’s the simple way of putting it. But I have to explain. 
Quite a few people regard this as the best film in the series, and these people are likely to have never read any of the books in their life. This movie strays away so wildly from its source material that it baffles me how they somehow told the same story, at least, the context of it. 
Ludo Bagman is missing. Winky the elf is missing. Dobby doesn’t appear. Barty Crouch’s spiral to madness doesn’t exist. It isn’t even explained why and how Barty Crouch’s son turned bad! He’s just bad, you have to accept it. 
This movie is over two and a half hours long, and it doesn’t feel that way. It moves really fast, and in a rare instance, I don’t mean that in a good way. There is no emotional investment anywhere. Everything just runs along, transition to transition to transition, where there are just way too many scenes. And I know it sounds odd, me saying they left so much out but put too much in, but let me explain that too. Why was the Yule Ball even in this movie? What happened as a result of the Yule Ball in the book is that Ron and Hermione have a falling out, and that effects Harry’s mentality going into the second task. Sure, they argue here too, but then nothing happens. They’re suddenly friends again, and that leads me to wonder why that was in the movie at all. It had no impact at all on the main plot, and it would have spared around fifteen minutes (including the time spent with Harry and Ron trying to find a date). So much time could have been used for something else, like maybe the characters.
Ron, for instance. The reason Ron had a falling out with both Harry and Hermione, on separate occasions, in the book. He’s starting to feel like the weak link, with Harry being famous, and Hermione being a genius, and that both of them aren’t as poor as he is. And he feels jealous when he can’t get a date to the ball, but Hermione does (and partially because he wanted to go with her). Sure, this is actually in the movie, but like I said, nothing results from it. Ron’s character should have been much more in this movie, because it was a lot more in the book!
But that doesn’t even compare to what they did to Hermione. The Goblet of Fire was pivotal to Hermione’s character, with her persistence on house elf protection and standing up for equality. What does this movie make her? Victor Krum’s crush. That is so infuriating. That isn’t Hermione Granger. It’s a part of her, but it isn’t her. 
Okay, the movie isn’t all bad. For one thing, the first task (although the second and third were a bit dodgy) was handled well, despite not being exactly as it was in the book. And Lord Voldemort’s return was done well. That’s enough for me to give it a rating that isn’t the least, but just above, but that still means that it’s a bad movie. 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: MIHIR

And would it have cost them millions to just show what Harry did with his Triwizard Championship winnings? At least that way Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes’ finance would make sense in later movies! 

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