YaK:: WebLog #535 Topic : 2004-08-28 00.11.49 matt : the missing 10 minutes of the azkaban movie [Changes]   [Calendar]   [Search]   [Index]   [PhotoTags]   
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the missing 10 minutes of the azkaban movie

"Harry Potter 3", as my ticket called it needed 10 more minutes to be perfect.

A confession should preface my brief rant: I ma one of the biggest Harry Potter nerds that I know. I've read 'Prisoner of Azkaban' 4 times now (and the other books about as many times). I pick up on the hints other people don't, and when I try to share my excitement, most people stare at me cross-eyed.

That out of the way, I'm not one of the nutballs that thinks the movie should've been 4 hours long and an exact teleplay of the book. The restructuring of everything was fine, but the movie simply doesn't make much sense to anyone who hasn't already read the book. Everyone I know who saw the movie but hadn't read the book was very confused, but entertained by the nice special effects anyways. There are two reasons for this: 1) the scenes fly by so fast most of the time that you don't get a chance to digest what was just communicated in one before going onto the next, and 2) there are key facts that are not communicated to the audience.

There were some "slow" scenes in there, like Lupin and Harry on the bridge-like thing; the flowers whithering as the Dementor passsed to indicate passage of time; and the boys in the dormitory doing the equivelant of getting high. Thank god for those moments, which allowed the picture to breathe at all. But they came after relatively light scenes anyways, when there was little information to digest anyways. Nobody really understands why Lupin knows about the map; who the fuck Padfoot, Prongs, Moony, and Wormtail are; how Lupin and Black know eachother; or why Hermione was given a time-turner.

Here is my suggestions for extending the movie by 10 minutes that would've helped these problems a bit:

1. Rather than having Hermione "appear" behind Harry and Ron, who then act surprised to indicate Hermione is using a time turner, 3-4 minutes should've been added showing her strung out and stressed, carrying all those books around. This also allows for...

2. It isn't stressed that Ron and Hermione were really fighting about Scabbers appearing to be dead. This is kind of like in Chamber of Secrets when they didn't really have Harry questioning his relation to Slytherin, and it just takes all the air out of the subject. Why do we care that Scabbbers is dead? Judging by the 30 seconds Ron spends yelling about it, he doesn't really care either. Therefore, neither do the audience. 2 more minutes should've been added with Ron and Hermione having a row and not speaking to eachother. This would've fit in nicely with the previous extension point, and it helps set up a bond between them.

3. It needs to be explained more thoroughly who the authors of the Maurader's Map are, which would explain why Lupin knows what it is and why he watches out for Harry. This isn't something that can be dumped all at once without totally pandering to the audience, so it'd have to be 2-3 minutes spread out over several parts of the movie.

4. Okay, this one is kind of unnecessary, but I think it's important. In the book, at the beginning of term feast, Dumbledore says "Dementors are not to be fooled by disguises, .. , or Invisibility Cloaks." at which point Harry and Ron look at eachother. This 15 second portion of that scene says so much about Albus' and Harry's relationship.

5. The beginning of the film was quite rushed, I think an extra minute should have been spent on the dinner with Marge getting more and more abusive, and Harry turning his wand onto Vernon before leaving.

There's my suggestions for an additional 10 minutes to Azkaban that I think would have made it perfect. I think I might give a try to a screrenplay for Order of the Phoenix as an exercise to see how difficult it would be to fit it into a 3 hour film.

What do you guys think? Any other additions or subtractions that could've been done to make it better?

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