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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Dark Magic

Harry Potter's entering the world of adolescent angst (welcome and enjoy hell for the next five years, big guy) and it doesn't look pretty. His third year at Hogwart's is full of hormones, weird teachers and evil wizards out to kill him (this kid attracts as much trouble as Frodo from Lord of the Rings). Indeed, this third movie installment of the famously popular Harry Potter series is a lot darker than the previous two movies and the best one up to date.

The young wizard (played by Daniel Radcliffe) returns for the term only to discover that purported psycho-killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban Prison. Being buddies with Lord Voldemort, the man who killed Harry's parents and gave him his signature scar, the chances are very high that the lunatic is now coming after him. Mr. Potter's response? -Bring it, you bastard. The Harry from last year would have at least quaked a bit in his school uniform.

This year, the kid is positively surging with testosterone (I smell trouble) and is ready to kick some ass. In turn, he is becoming more and more of a loner as he tries to come to terms with his past and awful lot in life; someone give this guy a hug or next thing you know he'll be dressing in all black and wearing Slayer t-shirts. Too bad his friends Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint spotting perpetually ruffled hair) are too busy hugging one another to notice. But it's a little early in the day for this possible love triangle in the making, and his friends finally do come through in the clutch.

Alan Rickman is absolutely fantastic and hilarious as the socially challenged and quirky Professor Snape, Emma Thompson is equally creepy and funny as the visually impaired Professor Trelawney and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) is as annoying as ever. Also making The Prisoner of Azkaban the most interesting Harry Potter film to date, is the special effects. This movie is dark, gray and scary. The major contributors to this are The Dementors of Azkaban, vicious creatures of a frightening nature who patrol the prison and make life a living hell for its inmates. The tech team brings these monsters to the screen so vividly you can practically feel them sucking the light out of you.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a movie that is enjoyable to adults and kids alike. But, please note, that while it is rated PG, it will scare young children and the last thing fellow movie-goers need is screaming kids in the theater frightened out of their wits. I wonder when Harry hits seventeen, if they'll add in some crazy sex scenes and a whole lot more violence and make the movie rated R. Hopefully, underage fans of the books/movies will have grown up by then.