Page vs Picture
By Geeky Gem
For this weeks Book vs. Film, we are heading back to Hogwarts, only this time, it’s to deal with an escaped prisoner. Yes folks it’s time to take a trip though Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book in J.K Rowling’s series.
Ready? Here we go. We start this book, as always on Harry’s birthday. He is turning Thirteen, and besides the fact he is a wizard, things are about to get a whole lot more complicated for our young friend. This year, Harry will have to find out what an escaped prisoner, from the Wizard prison of Azkaban, has against him. The staff, again, will change, with the arrival of Professor , who hides a secret too. Harry also takes up some new subject’s, as he starts to study for his O.W.L’s, and just how is Hermione managing to be in what seems like two places at once? All this and more is answered in this fantastic book.
Prisoner of Azkaban is one of, if not my, favorite book in the series. Again this was another book that I just couldn’t put down. It was brilliant from start to finish, and I thought the addition of Lupin and Black brought more to the Potterverse than the other two books. You finally start to piece the bits together in this book, and Harry’s past gets richer and darker. The back story really starts to take off here, as we learn more about Black, and why he wants to be so close to Harry. The detail that Rowling shows in this book, and the others, is just plain brilliant, and I know that this is a bad reason to like something, but when you find out a bit more about the magic of the Whomping Willow, I couldn’t help but giggle. I love that tree. Like I said this book is just so much richer, and feeds you information that you know will have repercussions later on.
On to the film. It came out in 2004, again Steve Kloves wrote the screen play, however, this time, there was a change of director, and Alfonso Cuaron takes over.
I think Cuaron’s take on the Harry Potter world is really good. He makes Harry dark and this sets up the rest of films. He also makes some changes to locations. He moves Hagrid’s Hut further from the school. To where I always imagined it should be. He also introduces the long bridge that becomes a focal point in the Battle of Hogwarts. Other additions to this film are some new characters, and a cast change of another.
Shall we do the cast change first? After the late, great Richard Harris passed away, the big question was, who will play Dumbledore? This question was answered in the form of Michael Gambon. Who I think was brilliant replacement, it’s just a shame that Richard Harris couldn’t see the series though. Not that this makes Gambon’s Dumbledore, any less loved.
Guess what? There is a new teacher, that seems to happen a lot in Hogwarts. Kind of like new school year, new Defence against the Dark Arts teacher. This year, it is Professor Remus Lupin played by David Thewlis. However Lupin has a secret….oh wait I already told you that. He’s a werewolf and although I like werewolves, and normally enjoy a good werewolf, the CGI for this lycanthrope is not so good, and that’s being nice.
The other new character to make an appearance in this film, one that will have a big impact on Harry, is of course Sirius Black. Harry’s Godfather has wanted nothing more than to clear his name, and avenge James and Lily Potter. He also hopes to have a relationship with Harry. Sirius is played by the fantastic Gary Oldman. Sirius is one of my favourite characters in the book. I think he’s what the series needed. Harry needed to know he had other family out there, and that the Dursleys weren’t all he was left with. Oldman plays Sirius perfectly.
Along with all these new additions, the film is brilliant and I am not going to say it isn’t. In regards to the series as a whole, this is, in fact, one of my favourites. However, we must once again answer the question we came here to answer, is the book better then the film?
Well I had to think long and hard about this one. There was a lot to take into account. I love them both for different reasons. The one thing I think lets the film down is the CGI werewolf, which is bad, because the CGI work on Buckbeak is brilliant. It’s almost as if Lupin in wolf form was an afterthought. With that being said, and please understand there are other reasons for my choice, I have to say as for Prisoner of Azkaban, I pick the book. Yes people I have gone for the book. That puts the score at Book 1 – Film 2. So until we meet again, happy reading and happy watching.