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HARRY POTTER AND THE
PRISONER OF AZKABAN
USA & UK: Warner Bros
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Tom Felton, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Pam Ferris, Paul Whitehouse, David Bradley, Robert Hardy, Mark Williams, Julie Christie, Warwick Davis, Dawn French, Lee Ingleby, Miriam Margolyes, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Chris Rankin, Jim Tavare
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
USA & UK: 136 mins
USA Rated: PG for frightening moments, creature violence and mild language
UK Certificate: PG contains scary scenes and mild language
USA Release Date: 4 June 2004
UK Release Date: 31 May 2004
Thirteen year-old Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has reluctantly spent yet another summer with the Dursleys, his dismal relatives, "behaving himself" and not practicing any magic. That is, until Uncle Vernon's bullying sister, Aunt Marge (Pam Ferris), comes to visit. Aunt Marge has always been particularly horrible to Harry and this time pushes him so far that he "accidentally" causes her to inflate like a monstrous balloon and drift away!
Fearing punishment from his Aunt and Uncle (and repercussions from Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic, which strictly forbids students from using magic in the non-magic world), Harry escapes into the night.
He is promptly picked up by the Knight Bus, a fantastic triple-decker purple vehicle that whisks him off to the Leaky Cauldron pub. Upon arrival, Harry is met by the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, who inexplicably doesn't punish the teenager for his errant wizardry and instead insists that he spend the night at the Leaky Cauldron before heading back to Hogwarts for his third year of study.
It quickly transpires that a dangerous and enigmatic wizard, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), has escaped Azkaban prison and is believed to be searching for Harry. Legend has it that Black was responsible for leading Lord Voldemort to Harry's parents and ultimately to their subsequent deaths; it is also believed that he is determined to kill Harry too.
To make matters worse, Hogwarts is playing host to the Dementors, the terrifying Azkaban guards who are stationed at the school in an attempt to protect the students from Black. The Dementors suck the souls from their victims and, unfortunately for Harry, they seem to have more of an effect on him than the rest of his classmates. Their ominous presence chills the young wizard to the bone, rendering him virtually helpless, until Professor Lupin (David Thewlis), the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, trains Harry in how to use the Patronus Charm to shield himself from the Dementors' paralyzing effects.
Meanwhile, Harry's third year at Hogwarts is filled with exciting new creatures like Buckbeak, a magical half-horse, half-eagle creature called a "Hippogriff"; eerie encounters with Divination Professor Sibyll Trelawney (Emma Thompson) and the omen of death known as the "Grim"; and breathtaking adventures, including clandestine visits to the wizarding village of Hogsmeade, deciphering secrets hidden in the enchanted Marauder's Map, and a terrifying trip to the Shrieking Shack (the most haunted dwelling in Britain).
Along the way, Harry will try to make sense of Hermione's (Emma Watson) puzzling appearances and disappearances, with the help of Ron (Rupert Grint) and the giant Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), who has taken on a new position at Hogwarts as the Care of Magical Creatures teacher.
A confrontation between Harry and the menacing Sirius Black seems inevitable...but what exactly is Professor Lupin's relationship with Black? What is the dark secret that Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) is so eager to reveal? And just why is Ron's pet rat Scabbers so frantic to escape his grasp?
Harry will need all of the courage, magic and support he can muster to answer these questions and uncover the truth behind Sirius Black and his ties to the gifted young wizard's mysterious past.