Harry, Ron and Hermione, now teenagers, return for their third year at Hogwarts, where they are forced to face escaped prisoner, Sirius Black, who seemed to pose a great threat to Harry. Harry and his friends spend their third year learning how to handle a half-horse half-eagle Hippogriff, repel shape-shifting Boggarts and master the art of Divination.
Harry's story begins again in the house of that awful Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. They're frightening enough, but when Aunt Marge comes to visit, Harry is driven to use his magic. Fearing the consequences he escapes into the night. When he finally arrives at Hogwarts Harry finds that the school is not the cheery experience it has been in the past. There are ominous signs: an escaped prisoner, Sirius Black, Gary Oldman, is at large, the new master of the dark arts, Professor Lupin (played by David Thewlis) also holds a deep dark secret; and the frightening spectre of the Dementors keep watch over proceedings.
This really is a coming of age film not only for Harry but for Hermione and Ron. Relationships have matured and now they will be tested against the prisoner of Azkaban.You have to applaud J.K Rowling for not only improving children's literacy worldwide, but for also bringing back the mystical. In a world where technology and science have become the new theology, the success of Harry Potter suggests that we are all in search of maybe something more. In my day films like Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang enchanted audiences but they were never this good. Stylish and beautifully imaged, Harry Potter transcends the usual fare of children's movies.
Set design and computer animation appear seamless under the control of Alfonso Cuaron, who also directed A Little Princess, one of J.K's favourite films. Obviously you don't need Columbus to sail the seas of Harry Potter.