Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

05 June 2004


So after work I worked with Brittney for a little over an hour and then headed to my folks' house.  I hung out there for a while by myself until Dad got home.  The folks and I had dinner and then I went to the Evil Monkey show. 

After the show, we all (most of us) headed to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Covina.  I managed to piss off Elizabeth, but also managed to beg forgiveness once I figured out she was pissed.  (Note to self: be a little less of an ungrateful motherfucker.)  Good things about HP3: 1) Buckbeak is beautifully created, 2) hilarious knight bus sequence worthy of any Cuarón movie, 3) Emma Thompson's brilliant impersonation of Linda Bisesti, 4) the whomping willow marking the seasons, 5) Julie Christie, and 6) a spot-on ending.

Slightly bad things about HP3: 1) Cheesy bridge sequence with Harry and Lupin, 2) Fudge's outfits' lack of panache (I expected limes and aubergines and other bright colors), 3) patronus not as cool as I would have liked, and 4) total cheese sequence at the end with Harry and Sirius that just rang hollow and Columbus-y.

Great things about HP3:  Well, obviously Cuarón is the main attraction here.  He knows how to create the mystical world that exists in these books, and so Hogwarts comes across as a place that is full of wonders, a little bit scary, and extremely mysterious.  He knows how to tell us kids are having fun (animal noise sequence early on was fucking brilliant).  His visual style is so interesting and clever, and it serves the movie very well, never detracting from the humanity of the tale.  The Buckbeak/Harry flight at the beginning is stunning and engrossing.  The best thing that Cuarón does, though, is fixing the problems that made HP1 and HP2 such utter snores.  Cuarón's successes on this front are numerous, perhaps countless.  What he does with Grint, Watson, and especially Radcliffe is nothing short of miraculous.  I cared about them, wished them success, and even loved them.  Radcliffe, in the first two films, is, in my opinion, just plain awful.  In this movie, he's fascinating to watch and entirely loveable.  Grint, in the first two films, harps on that single string of mock shock/horror.  In this movie, he's much more the real sidekick he is in the books.  Cuarón also dispenses with this idea that the other people in the world are more important than Harry, Hermione and Ron.  Thankfully, Professors McGonagall, Snape, Hagrid and even Dumbledore are reduced to very minor characters in HP3.  And thank heaven for it!  This gives us more time to focus on Harry's own journey as he grows from a young, beleaguered boy into the fierce wizard we all know him to be.

I cried this time, although I should have known I would.  This is the introduction to Sirius Black, Harry's only living relation, and his last link with his parents.  As he said goodbye to Harry at the end of the film, I couldn't help but think of Order of the Phoenix...

Thank you, Alfonso Cuarón.  Thank you for saving this movie franchise and reminding me how much I loved this book.