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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Preview

Preview by: Jack Foley

NOW that the one ring of power has been destroyed, and the Hobbits content themselves with attempting to become the most successful film of all time, it is left to young Harry Potter to continue bringing cinema audiences a little magic in the New Year.

While the first two Harry Potter movies have had to contend with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the third instalment, The Prisoner of Azkaban, has opted against taking on Gandalf and co, and gone for a 2004 release instead.

And the word for Potter fans is good.

The Prisoner of Azkaban is rated by many to be the best book in the series, and, in film form, marks the

blockbuster debut of hugely-talented Mexican director, Alfonso Cuaron, of Y Tu Mama Tambien fame.

From its trailer alone, the film looks a far darker affair, with new cast members, such as Gary Oldman and Michael Gambon, mixing well with the established likes of Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane and co.

The plot finds Harry beginning his third year at Hogwarts, and Sirius Black — an escaped convict from the prison of Azkaban —on the loose, with only one thing in mind: Harry.

Cuaron, however, remains dubious over whether it can really be described as dark. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, he states that while the film will get into more complex territory, he added: "I don't know if 'dark' is the word for it, because there's a great deal of humor as well."

He also told Newsweek that the villain of the piece this time around, the evil wizard Voldemort, reminds him of a combination of President George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein.

"They both have selfish interests and are very much in love with power," he states. "Also, a disregard for the environment, and a love for manipulating people."

But he added, in another interview, that ‘to be entrusted with such rich and beloved material, and given the opportunity to collaborate with this extraordinary cast and crew on the next Harry Potter adventure is an honor’.

Needless to say, much is being written about Harry Potter on the internet, so ardent fans will find none of what’s written here particularly new.

However, one good website for Harry Potter information, apart from the official site itself, of course, is, which contains pages and pages of interviews, and news nuggets, about the upcoming movie. It can be explored by clicking

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is scheduled for a release in June. Needless to say, the fourth film in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, will follow soon after, in 2005, with Mike Newell rumoured to be the director. It may also take the form of a two-part film, given the length of the book.

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