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June 7, 2004

-- Movie review --

A magical 'Harry Potter'

By Kate Haire

From the haunting opening tune to the melodic choral finish, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" sprinkled magic in the hearts of many on its opening night Friday.

The screenplay, although somewhat darker than its two prequels, still depicts a seemingly accurate picture of what J.K. Rowling envisioned when she was writing the hit novels.

As Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) turns to Hogwarts for his third year, he is faced with even more challenges. His defense against the dark arts teacher has a ghastly secret that could hold the key to Potter finding out the truth about his parents.

Only with the help of Hermione's time travel mechanism do they manage to make things better -- at least until the next movie comes out.

The acting in this movie is far superior than in the first two because the actors have matured and are more in tune with their characters.

As always, a stunning performance was delivered by Radcliffe, Emma Watson as Hermione and Rupert Grint as Ron in this new adventure at Hogwarts.

Their looks may have changed a bit, but only for the better, and it's safe to say the same about their acting. The trio seem more comfortable with each other, and portray this friendliness on the big screen.

The addition of some new characters doesn't take away from the charm of the classic Harry Potter stories that we all know and love. New characters include Lupin, Sirius Black, and Buckbeak the Hippogriff. Buckbeak was portrayed with excellent digital graphics that made his feathery body look extremely real.

The new director, Alfonso Cuaron, has brought out the darker aspects of Hogwarts, including breaking away from the "traditional" aspects of the stories that previous director Chris Columbus kept. Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff are nowhere to be found in this movie, as are the robes that the students at Hogwarts are required to wear ... in the books, anyway.

But the more relaxed atmosphere does wonders for the main characters, as they are dressed in normal street clothes that can help the audience relate to them more, even if it takes away from the "magic" of the Hogwarts castle.

The new Harry Potter movie is different than its predecessors, but the series seems to be heading in a good direction.

This movie is more adult and focuses on some of the darker aspects of attending a wizard's school.

As the characters mature, the direction of the series is also. We can all look forward to seeing the outcome of in the future.

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