Book to Film: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

"Character will be tested"

Book Release:  1999   /    Movie Release:  2004

(Unlike other reviews on the site, the 'From Book to Movies' feature has to reveal spoilers to make sense.)

   Introduction / Brief Movie Thoughts

Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite of the first three books. I was anxious to see how they handled the movie. They still kept the fun and humorous theme of the original movies, but this one brought in a few darker twists and vibes as more about Harry's past (and future) are revealed.

The movie held up well with another excellent cast, children and adults included, as well as sticking close to the book. Again the effects and cinematography were well accomplished. The storyline is enjoyable to follow, creatively showing a small mystery that is solved with a revelation at the end that turned out improving the film and series in general.

It's hard seeing longer scenes in the movie shortened due to needing to be briefer and take up less time. I also didn't feel the same oomph in chemistry from Sirius and Harry. It seemed more casual here and missed the depth of their relationship a little. There was also less tragedy in Harry's memories of his parents in the movie; I didn't hear the cries of the mother and him remembering more as time went on.

As for the dementors, I pictured them a little differently in the book, but the movie brought forth some creepy creatures indeed.

   Biggest Differences

  • In the book Hermione slaps Draco in the face - in the movie she pulls out the wand and actually punches him in the nose.
  • Snape only tries once in the movie to make the map work, but in the book tries several times.
  • In the book Harry has more intense memories of his parent's deaths when faced with dementors. The movie kept this briefer and less traumatic.
  • A surprising change is Snape helps protect the kids from when Lupin is a wolf in the movie, unlike in the book where he remains unconscious. I like how they did it in the movie better this time.
  • The book leads up a lot to Mr and Mrs Weasley disagreeing about telling Harry about the danger he could be in. He overhears conversations they have about it and observes. In the movie they took that out entirely and just jumped ahead to Mr Weasley talking to him briefly before boarding the train.
  • A big change is the aunt Marge. When inflated she ruptures in the book and is put back together by the magical ministry team. She also stays in the house. In the movie they just had her rise like a balloon outside. Guess it's less violent that way and perhaps funnier on screen than the other way around?
  • Cho Chang plays a smaller role in the movie, not even having relevancy with the Quidditch team.

   Glad the Movie Kept

I'm glad the movie kept the issues with Snape and finding them all together in the tree hollow.

I'm also please the movie kept the flashbacks, although it was very diluted.

Thankfully the movie followed the book rather faithfully, but they changed small things for certain reasons, mainly to strengthen Hermione into an even bigger girl power type role model.

   Who is the Big Winner?

The book. While the movie was well done, I had read the book right before and it captured much more emotion about Harry's past and present, with a deeper complexity of Sirius and all that was going on.

   Movie Trailer

 Check out the full list of Harry Potter Featured Posts for Harry Potter Week

  • Book Reviews: The Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows
  • Book-To-Film Comparison: The Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows
  • Site Features: Mailbox Monday, Cover Crush, Tune-in Tuesday, Universal Studios Trip
  • Themed Posts: RIP Alan Rickman,  Philosophers Versus Sorcerers, Magical Quotes