Dabbling in the occult

To the Vue cinema last night for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Having not been infected with Potterhoea I haven’t read any of the books, so the plot was all new to me.

Before the film there was the now-standard “Watch it, chummy, copyright infringement is worse than murder” notice, warning of 10 years in jail if you took dodgy camcorder footage of the film (but I’m sure you can grab a copy pilfered/leaked from the studios if you look hard enough). They also announced that “Cinema staff may be watching with night-vision goggles”. I imagine that there’ll soon be a requirement to have your minds wiped of all storylines on leaving the cinema in case you divulge the studio’s “valuable property” to unauthorised persons.

The film itself is OK. Some Children’s Film Foundation acting as usual from one or two of the cast, voices newly broken, and substantially more Scottish scenery than I remember from past films. It’s certainly pacier than the first two, and the plot is more involved as well.

Michael Gambon is virtually indistinguishable from Richard Harris under the whiskers of Dumbledore. Alan Rickman lays on the ham as per. I enjoyed the performance of Emma Thompson as one of the professors – a nicely judged mix of comedy and creepiness.

Avaragado’s rating: Half a pumpkin.

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