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"HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN"
(2004) (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Heavy *Extreme Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Mild Extreme None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Mild Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Adventure: A young wizard must contend with news that a murderer has escaped from prison and is coming after him.
PLOT:
After putting his mean-spirited aunt and uncle, Vernon (RICHARD GRIFFITHS) and Petunia Dursley (FIONA SHAW) and their spoiled son, Dudley (HARRY MELLING) in their places via his magical powers, 13-year-old Harry Potter (DANIEL RADCLIFFE) runs away from home. He soon ends up back at Hogwarts, a school for wizards and witches run by Professors Dumbledore (MICHAEL GAMBON) and McGonagall (MAGGIE SMITH).

There, he's joined by his friends and fellow students Ron Weasley (RUPERT GRINT) and Hermione Granger (EMMA WATSON), and sees the school's regulars, such as the friendly groundskeeper, Rubeus Hagrid (ROBBIE COLTRANE), rival student Draco Malfoy (TOM FELTON) and the stern Professor Snape (ALAN RICKMAN).

New to the school are professors Sybil Trelawney (EMMA THOMPSON) and Professor Lupin (DAVID THEWLIS), who has taken over the leadership role of Defense of the Arts. Harry will need his help as he's learned that murderer Sirius Black (GARY OLDMAN) has escaped from the Azkaban prison. Supposedly responsible for the deaths of Harry's parents, it's reported that he's making his way toward Hogwarts and is after Harry.

With Azkaban's ghoulish and dangerous Dementor sentries patrolling the school's perimeter, Harry learns new things about his past as he and the others prepare for Black's arrival.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of the novels or the first two movies, it's a good bet they will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For frightening moments, creature violence and mild language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DANIEL RADCLIFFE plays a 13-year-old wizard who uses magic and learns more about his past as he prepares for the eventual arrival of Black.
  • EMMA WATSON plays his good friend and fellow student who assists him and repeatedly puts Malfoy in his place.
  • RUPERT GRINT plays their other friend and fellow student who similarly assists them, but isn't as brave as either of them. He briefly uses some minor profanity.
  • GARY OLDMAN plays a reported murderer who's escaped from prison and is now heading toward Hogwarts and Harry.
  • DAVID THEWLIS plays the new Defense of the Arts professor who instructs Harry on how to deal with Black and the Dementors, but harbors a secret of his own.
  • ALAN RICKMAN plays the stern professor who's suspicious of various people and developments that arise.
  • MICHAEL GAMBON and MAGGIE SMITH play the leaders of Hogwarts.
  • ROBBIE COLTRANE plays the friendly groundskeeper who's just received his first teaching post.
  • TOM FELTON plays Harry's rival who repeatedly tries to undermine him, but is a coward in disguise.
  • RICHARD GRIFFITHS plays Harry's uncle who's mean to him.
  • EMMA THOMPSON plays a new professor who teaches and practices fortune telling.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this adventure film that's rated PG. Various scenes - often accompanied by ominous or suspenseful music - might be unsettling, suspenseful or downright frightening to kids. That all depends, however, on any given child's age, level of maturity and tolerance for such material.

    That includes characters seeing and interacting with various menacing looking beings and monsters, close calls with menacing characters, supernatural events and various locales that appear foreboding, dangerous or simply scary.

    Some brief fighting and threatening is present (with some slightly bloody results), along with a battle between a wolf and a werewolf, while some of those menacing beings try to suck the faces and/or souls from various characters. Some bad attitudes are present, while some tense family moments include a boy dealing with his mean relatives and there's some talk of his parents being killed when he was young.

    Profanity consists of a handful of minor expletives, while some colorful phrases and brief crude humor are present. A few characters also drink. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Harry's uncle Vernon pours brandy for himself and his sister who wants him to keep filling her glass.
  • Harry's aunt Marge implies that Harry's father was a drunk.
  • We see what may be a beer bottle on a table in a tavern of sorts.
  • A man pours two drinks.
  • Dumbledore tells Hagrid that he'd like some tea or brandy.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Harry has a few scrapes on his face.
  • A man steps over horse excrement on the ground, but then steps backwards into it.
  • We see some blood on Ron's leg (in a dark scene) from where a wolf grabbed him there.
  • Black's clothes are torn and he has a little bit of blood on his chest and a few scrapes on his head (following a battle with a werewolf).
  • Hermione has a small cut on her face (with a bandage on it).
  • Harry has what looks like a large bloodstain on his shirt.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Viewers who don't approve of the notion/practice of magic may find many of the characters and most of the movie as having both types of attitudes.
  • Harry's uncle Vernon and his sister, Marge, are not nice to Harry, with Marge belittling both him and his late parents.
  • We hear that Black is a murderer who's escaped from prison, was supposedly in cahoots with an earlier villain, and is apparently coming after Harry (Ron's father tells Harry that the latter is in grave danger).
  • We hear that Harry broke the law by practicing magic in public as an underage wizard, but he's not punished for that.
  • Malfoy (and his two goons) has a perpetually bad attitude toward Harry and his friends.
  • An older twin gives Harry a magical map of Hogwarts that he says he swiped from a professor's office.
  • We see that a man in cahoots with Black.
  • We hear that another character killed Harry's parents.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • The following scenes/sequences (especially when accompanied by suspenseful music) and others listed under "Violence" may or may not be unsettling, suspenseful and/or scary to some kids, all depending on their age, level of maturity and tolerance for such material. That said, there's little doubt that some/much of the following may affect some kids and could be the stuff of which nightmares are formed. That's especially true of the ghoulish/ghostly Dementors, hooded and floating/flying beings that will be extremely creepy/scary to kids of many ages.
  • At night and by himself in a playground (and as suspenseful music plays), Harry sees various pieces of playground equipment moving and then spots a black wolf slowly approaching him.
  • In several scenes, we see shrunken heads that talk.
  • We hear that Black is a murderer who's escaped from prison, was supposedly in cahoots with an earlier villain, and is apparently coming after Harry (Ron's father tells Harry that the latter is in grave danger).
  • Harry holds a large monster book of monsters (that's animated like a cross between a book and a huge spider). Its sudden movement and sound might startle some younger viewers and it scampers under Harry's bed. He slowly bends over to look under the bed and another jolt from the book might again startle some viewers. Harry eventually captures it by jumping down onto it.
  • Harry, Ron and Hermione are on a train with a stranger when the train suddenly stops, things turn ice cold and Ron nervously states that something is outside the train (as music plays). The three then see a tall and hooded figure with long fingers slowly approaching from the hallway (backlit at the moment). It then floats into their compartment and begins to suck away Harry's face (from a distance), but Lupin suddenly reveals himself and uses his wand to ward off this Dementor.
  • Dumbledore warns the students that the Dementors will be located around the school (looking for Black), are extremely dangerous and that the students shouldn't give them any reason to harm the students.
  • Professor Trelawney foresees an omen of death for Harry (alarming him).
  • Hagrid instructs Harry about how to approach a huge half-bird, half-horse creature. Harry makes a mistake while doing so, leading to a few tense moments.
  • We hear talk that Black is close to Hogwarts and thus Harry.
  • In an animated wanted poster, Black looks like a raving lunatic (and might be scary looking to younger kids).
  • Various students are taught how to deal with a shape shifting creature. Lupin instructs them to think of their worst fear and then turn it into something funny. Ron see a huge spider (that then ends up on roller skates), a girl sees a monstrous cobra (that turns into a creepy looking jack in the box), and Harry sees a ghostly looking Dementor that comes at him. He can't make it change into something funny, however, so Lupin has to do it for him.
  • We hear that Black is now somewhere inside Hogwarts (after an animated painting has been torn from her frame and is now hiding in another painting).
  • During a Quidditch match (somewhat like rugby on flying broomstick like things) in a bad storm, one student receives an electrical shock from a lightning charge, while various Dementors then race after Harry who tries to elude them (after seeing a cloud that looks like a wolf). One Dementor then starts to suck his face off (from a distance), but Harry falls from his broom and plummets a long way toward the ground(we don't see any impact and he's later okay).
  • Lupin shows Harry how to create a magical shield that will protect him from the Dementors. He then goes through two tests where one such creature approaches him (he passes out the first time, but is successful in creating the energy shield the second time).
  • We hear that Hagrid's huge half-bird, half-horse creature has been sentenced to death (for earlier injuring Malfoy). The kids then see an executioner sharpening his huge ax and then see him, Dumbledore and another man approaching Hagrid's place, ready to do the deed. After the kids leave there, they see the men walking out to the creature (seen from a distance) and then see a closer view of the ax being raised and then swung down, but don't see any impact (although a flock of birds takes flight at that moment). They assume the bird creature was beheaded, but we later see that's not the case.
  • Harry walks down a dark hall at night by himself, holding an animated map that shows where anyone inside Hogwarts is located. With only his wand to illuminate just a few feet in front of him, Harry sees footprints on the map approaching his location, but panics when he doesn't see anyone or anything in the hallway. We then hear that the person he was tracking is supposed to be dead.
  • Harry sees Black in a crystal ball, creepily calling out his name. Professor Trelawney's hand then suddenly touches Harry's shoulder and she briefly appears to be possessed.
  • A large wolf approaches the kids and then grabs Ron by the foot, pulling him along the ground and then into a hole beneath a huge willow tree. When Harry and Hermione try to go there, the tree sends his limbs snapping at and smashing into them, knocking them around, flinging Hermione about and then sending both down into the hole that turns out to be a cave and passageway to other areas.
  • A man starts to turn into a werewolf and then knocks Black aside. It then swipes at Snape and the 3 kids, but a wolf attacks the werewolf and both battle. Harry then throws something that hits the werewolf after it had tossed the wolf aside, injuring it.
  • A pond suddenly freezes and a swarm of Dementors flies in circles above Harry and Black. They then end up starting to suck off part of Harry and Black's faces (from a distance) and appear to suck out Black's soul, until another being shows up that scares the Dementors away (and Black lives). We later see this scene again, but from a distance and a different angle.
  • Harry and Hermione run through the woods at night from a werewolf. They then try to hide behind a huge tree and slowly make their way around it to keep out of sight. They then end up backing out into the open, however, and directly in line with the werewolf. They then cower in fear, but a huge half-bird, half horse creature intervenes and scares the werewolf away.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Magical wands: Used to threaten or blast others aside. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Namby-pamby," "Bitch" (dog), "Shut up," "Bloody," "Murderous raving lunatic," "Wonky," "Don't be such a wimp," "Idiot," "What's this rubbish?" "Bloody hell," "Shut the damn door," "Young whippersnappers," "Crikey" and "What the bloody hell was that all about?"
  • The film could inspire kids to get involved with magic and such.
  • Hermione suddenly spins around and punches Malfoy in the face, stating that doing so felt good.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Harry holds a large monster book of monsters (that's animated like a cross between a book and a huge spider). Its sudden movement and sound might startle some younger viewers and it scampers under Harry's bed. He slowly bends over to look under the bed and another jolt from the book might again startle some viewers.
  • A sudden sound and jolt on a train might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful, ominous and scary music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 hells, 1 damn, and 1 use of "God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Professor Trelawney tells Hermione that someone's bosom is as shriveled as an old maid's is.
  • While invisible (under a cloak that creates that), Harry throws snowballs at Malfoy and his goons and pulls down one's pants (we see him in his boxers - played for laughs).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Harry's uncle Vernon and his sister, Marge, are not nice to Harry, with Marge belittling both him and his late parents.
  • Lupin and Harry talk about his parents, with the latter thinking an earlier scream was from his mother on the night she was murdered.
  • Harry hears that Black is the reason that his parents are dead. He briefly cries about that.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The use of magic/sorcery in the film.
  • The various scary scenes and related imagery in the film.
  • The comment that happiness can be found in the darkest of times as long as one remembers to turn on the lights.
  • Time travel.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Mad at his aunt, Harry first causes the drinking glass in her hand to break and then causes her body to inflate like a balloon (some of her buttons pop off her clothes and smack Dudley in the head, knocking him to the floor). As she starts to float away, and after the family dog has bitten his leg, Uncle Vernon tries to hold onto her foot, but then lets go and lands hard on the ground. After this, Vernon pushes Harry backwards, saying he can't leave, but Harry holds his wand on his uncle and makes him back off.
  • Harry twice slams into the glass of a double-decker bus (from the inside) when the driver slams on the brakes (played for slapstick).
  • A Dementor begins to suck away Harry's face (from a distance), but Lupin suddenly reveals himself and uses his wand to ward off this creature.
  • A huge willow tree zaps a flying bird with one of its long branches, leaving nothing but a puff of feathers. It does this again later in the film (both seen from a distance).
  • Malfoy pushes a kid aside and boldly approaches Hagrid's huge half-bird, half-horse creature, It then rears up and kicks him to the ground, injuring him.
  • Some students briefly push each other while forming a line.
  • During a Quidditch match (somewhat like rugby on flying broomstick like things) in a bad storm, one student receives an electrical shock from a lightning charge, while various Dementors then race after Harry who tries to elude them. One Dementor then starts to suck his face off (from a distance), but Harry falls from his broom and plummets a long way toward the ground(we don't see any impact and he's later okay).
  • While invisible (under a cloak that creates that), Harry throws snowballs at Malfoy and his goons, pulls down one's pants (we see him in his boxers), kicks one to the ground and drags another along the ground (before all three run away in a panic -- all played for laughs).
  • Harry knocks some small carolers aside while upset and running past them.
  • Hermione suddenly spins around and punches Malfoy in the face, stating that doing so felt good.
  • A rock breaks a vase and another hits Harry on the head.
  • Ron's pet rat bites him and then runs away.
  • A large wolf approaches the kids and then grabs Ron by the foot, pulling him along the ground and then into a hole beneath a huge willow tree. When Harry and Hermione try to go there, the tree sends his limbs snapping at and smashing into them, knocking them around, flinging Hermione about and then sending both down into the hole that turns out to be a cave and passageway to other areas.
  • Harry grabs Black by the throat, pins him to the floor and is about to use his wand on him, but he's stopped.
  • Snape shows up and holds his wand on Black, but Harry blasts him across the room with his wand (so that he can learn the facts about who killed his parents).
  • A man starts to turn into a werewolf and then knocks Black aside. It then swipes at Snape and the 3 kids, but a wolf attacks the werewolf and both battle. Harry then throws something that hits the werewolf after it had tossed the wolf aside, injuring it.
  • A pond suddenly freezes and a swarm of Dementors flies in circles above Harry and Black. They then end up starting to suck off part of Harry and Black's faces (from a distance) and appear to suck out Black's soul, until another being shows up that scares the Dementors away (and Black lives). We later see this scene again, but from a distance and a different angle.
  • We see another view of Hermione punching Malfoy in the face (from above).
  • Hermione throws two rocks (one that breaks a vase, the other hits Harry on the head, both as a necessary distraction).



  • Reviewed May 23, 2004 / Posted June 4, 2004

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Darkest Hour] [Just Getting Started] [The Shape of Water]

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