The first movie in the series with fear and wonder in its bones, and genuine fun, too.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
The third Harry Potter movie is the first one that actually looks and feels like a movie, rather than a staged reading with special effects.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
It's all rattling good fun.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
Thanks to director Alfonso Cuaron, a dazzling storyteller with a keen eye for whimsical detail, the third film in the Potter franchise is a visual delight.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
The third installment in the Harry Potter series, is everything the first two films were not: complex, frightening, nuanced.
Nicole Arthur - Washington Post
This is one long sit, made all the more so by a turgid story, a dour visual palette and uninspiring action.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
It's far less self-conscious about how to please an audience and isn't as slavishly interactive with its source material.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
A mild upkick in pacing and texture can be credited to director Alfonso Cuaron ... who avoids Chris Columbus's mastodon-like setups and knows a bit more about whipping up atmospherics.
Michael Atkinson - Village Voice
An entrancing experience for Potter fans.
Jami Bernard - New York Daily News
This is a luminous movie -- luminous, imaginative and affecting. For Harry Potter, at least, the third time is the charm.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
The film's disarming blend of freshness and darkness should please the Potter faithful and win new followers.
Philip Wuntch - Dallas Morning News
Cuaron has done what few sequel caretakers ever manage, refreshing the characters and stories for a long potential run.
Michael Booth - Denver Post
The most powerfully entrancing children's film in years.
Peter Rainer - New York Magazine
The world of Harry Potter remains delightful, amusing and sophisticated.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Until now Harry Potter has been a great book character and a functional movie hero. With Cuaron leading the way, Harry has burst from the printed page to soar on-screen.
Mark Caro - Chicago Tribune
Like the first two movies, this is loaded with computer-generated imagery, but for the first time there's a sense of dramatic proportion balancing the spectacle and the story line.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban offers what neither of its predecessors, for all their wand-waving and witch-brooms, had: real magic.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
Younger children might be put off by the darker tone of this movie, but the franchise's new direction holds promise.
Jeff Strickler - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Artful, fast-moving and engrossing.
Tom Long - Detroit News
A tremendous achievement in production design.
Bill Muller - Arizona Republic
The silliest, as well as the most contrived -- and confusing -- of them all.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
Much like a child going through puberty, the maturation of the Harry Potter franchise has yielded awkward growing pains for the third film in the series.
Brian Lowry - Variety
Harry Potter and the Wizard of Azkaban is precisely the kind of invention the franchise needed.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
It's hard to imagine that any Harry Potter movie will ever top the enchanted achievement of Prisoner of Azkaban.
Jay Boyar - Orlando Sentinel
While I confess to being almost utterly lost within the narrative within about 20 minutes, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen.
Geoff Pevere - Toronto Star
In a series that's episodic by definition, too many of these episodes lack any climax or payoff.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
The first true Harry Potter movie -- the first to capture not only the books' sense of longing, but their understanding of the way magic underlies the mundane, instead of just prancing fancifully at a far remove from it.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
In Cuaron's hands, the world of Harry Potter doesn't feel like a synthetic movie theme park anymore. It's almost real, Hogwarts and all.
David Edelstein - Slate
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban proves that a new director with a different perspective can freshen a series that could otherwise resort to stale repetition.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
A deeper, darker, visually arresting and more emotionally satisfying adaptation of the J.K. Rowling literary phenomenon.
Michael Rechtshaffen - Hollywood Reporter
Just about everything plays better this time.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
Not only is this dazzler by far the best and most thrilling of the three Harry Potter movies to date, it's a film that can stand on its own even if you never heard of author J.K. Rowling and her young wizard hero.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
For the final hour of the two-hour- and-21-minute Azkaban is the closest any of the films has gotten to capturing the enormously pleasing essence of the Potter books.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Fantastic, but kids are older, themes are darker.
Nell Minow - Common Sense Media
Cuaron filigrees his film with brilliantly outsized projections of Harry's fears and underlying realities. [Blu-ray]
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Potter's third year is his most inventive yet.
R. L. Shaffer - IGN DVD
Ultimately the success of the film lies in the characters, and the emotions that they trigger in us.
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
Regardless of its cinematic shortcomings, the Harry Potter film series still has a ton of life in it.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Rather than a brand new sense of adventure, there's a sense in this sequel of a rerun, a tendency that even Harry's extreme magic can't seem to overcome.
Prairie Miller - Long Island Press
A menagerie of menacing and morphing computer-generated special effects make the movie worthwhile.
Kam Williams - Princeton Town Topics
Cuaron has produced the most terrifying and darkly humorous movie adaptation of Rowling's stories to date, giving it a visual flair sorely missing in the previous installments.
Peter T. Chattaway - Christianity Today
[Director] Cuaron's imagery delights again and again
Jay Antani - Cinema Writer
Compared to its predecessors, this is a more wintry, thoughtful and rewarding movie.
Wally Hammond - Time Out
What we're treated to is less a story than a series of vignettes.
Rick Kisonak - Film Threat
Two and a half hours of neck-cramping semi-entertainment.
Jeremiah Lewis - Film Threat
The childlike whimsy of the previous Potters is dead, replaced by an encroaching loss of innocence and a foreboding sense of darkness. A new punch of life for the series.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Consistently glorious to the eye.
Gregory Weinkauf - UberCine
Growing up is hard enough for us Muggles; it certainly can't be any easier for wizards and witches. This is the first Potter movie that examines this.
David Medsker - Bullz-Eye.com
Despite generic constraints and audience expectations, Cuaron has succeeded in making a personal film
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
One of the best films so far this year and a big step up from two previous solid efforts.
Garth Franklin - Dark Horizons
Dean Essner - Independent
The ordinariness of the magical world is a theme that runs throughout the film. Where Columbus went to great lengths to highlight every fantastical thing about this universe, Cuaron treats it matter-of-factly.
Ethan Alter - NYC Film Critic
Entertaining, but it drains any kind of suspense from Harry's adventures by giving the magicians every variety of spell that they need just when they need it.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Looking Closer
I'm really happy with how this installment turned out. I can easily recommend that you grab the kids and catch it on the big screen.
Kamal 'The Diva' Larsuel - 3BlackChicks Review
...a good, atmospheric stepping stone in the Potter chronology, with yet something missing to make it an entirely satisfying movie on its own. (Ultimate Edition, Blu-ray)
John J. Puccio - DVDTown.com
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
The overall look is purposely grim and downbeat.
Steve Crum - Kansas City Kansan
Just like Hagrid when he's faced with the certain death of his faithful pet Buckbeak, the audience falls into the emotional trap that Cuaron creates.
Wesley Lovell - Oscar Guy
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
A refreshing change of pace. Sophisticated and distinctive.
Mark Sells - Oregon Herald
A picture that's not only a franchise peak but a high point of the whole summer. For the first time in four years of half-trying, I'm gathering what all the fuss is about.
Nick Davis - Nick's Flick Picks
More thoughtful, but still entertaining.
Rex Roberts - Film Journal International
Comes very close to soaring.
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Where Cuaron really succeeds is with the actors.
Michelle Thomas - Future Movies UK
'Est llena de magia, diversin y personajes que Cuarn ha vuelto ms que entraables. Felicidades, Alfonso! Enhorabuena.'
Jorge Avila Andrade - Moviola
Brilliantly conceived, Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban is a fantastic step up from the first films.
Joe Utichi - FilmFocus
This time out the spell that's cast is actually a potent one. Cuaron's talent is the magical ingredient in this concoction.
Nathaniel Rogers - Film Experience
This is the best Harry Potter film to date.
David Gritten - Daily Telegraph
... the most emotionally effective film in the HP series ...
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
Azkaban is a great adventure, a work that's marvelous as part of the franchise and on its own.
David Cornelius - eFilmCritic.com
(...) Esta tercera entrega de Harry Potter luce mucho mas fresca y atractiva, casi como una renovacion.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
The third time is less charming and more serious, yet Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban easily meets our requirements for a bewitching adventure.
Judith Egerton - Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
A new filmmaker provides his take on the third book by author and creator J. K. Rowling, providing a darker tone that meets the book halfway for its... wiser student wizard.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
Moves with a new confidence. It's less scrubbed and disinfected and throbs with a more nightmarish excitement.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Though Harry's now a teenager, Daniel Radcliffe hasn't grown an inch as an actor. No charmer, Radcliffe is barely the British version of Macaulay Culkin.
Thomas Delapa - Boulder Weekly
Cuaron replaces the glossy sheen and rote mechanics director Christopher Columbus brought to the first two films with a dark, rich intensity.
Randy Shulman - Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)
A shining improvement over the first two Potter installments and, in a comment I never thought I'd say, I would actually love to see Azkaban again.
Steven Snyder - Zertinet Movies
Hogwarts never felt so real. Stunning and delicious.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
[It] has moments that come alive, but is confined by an attitude that fantasy needn't pertain to anything beyond itself.
Mark Palermo - Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Alfonso Cuaron imprime (ao filme) um aspecto sombrio, sem, com isto, perder a caracteristica mais fascinante da serie: o invencionismo de J.K. Rowling.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
Dean Essner - Sunday Times (Australia)
So much time is spent on including juicy little inventions from author Rowlands' pages that the story tension dissipates and the audience's mind travels to other regions.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
The Prisoner of Azkaban is basically a routine vehicle that plods its way through details without giving much incentive to feel engaged by the specifics.
David Keyes - Cinemaphile.org
It's Lupin, with his shabby dignity and tender concern for Harry, who's the emotional counterweight to the teenager's sadness and anger, and Thewlis brings great warmth to his father-figure role.
Joyce Millman - Boston Phoenix
I'm bewildered and frightened to find myself reporting that it's a very good movie, and it might have been a wonderful one.
Jake Euker - F5 (Wichita, KS)
It's not a stretch to see Emma Watson as her generation's Jodie Foster - she's that good.
Jeffrey Bruner - Des Moines Register
The story was a little harder to follow for novices like me
Dan Marcucci and Nancy Serougi - Broomfield Enterprise
In Azkaban, Cuaron has made a character-driven film almost completely devoid of a big, senses-shattering, Hollywood climax. Even more amazing, you never miss it.
KJB - IGN Movies
Even though Azkaban in many ways is a far more accomplished film than its predecessors, it comes dangerously close to shutting out the nonreader.
Donald Munro - Fresno Bee
Bring on the geek hate-mail, but Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban mops the floor with Lord of the Rings
Mike Sage - Peterborough This Week
Cuaron has imbued this film with his own style and dramatically changed the look and feel of the Potter universe...which I see as a marked improvement.
John R. McEwen - Film Quips Online
The Potter movies have an endearing and light-hearted spirit of whimsy from which a certain other, recent fantasy trilogy -- more overwrought, overlong, and overrated -- could have greatly benefited.
James O'Ehley - Sci-Fi Movie Page
...feels at once more magically childlike and grimly grown-up...
Josh Larsen - Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
Let's peek inside Harry Potter's inbox, to see what day-to-day life is like for the protagonist of the edgy new Prisoner of Azkaban.
Martin Scribbs - Mixed Reviews
The most magical thing is how much older and bigger our young movie stars are
Marty Mapes - Movie Habit
Harry is confronted by the Dementors, ghastly prison guards who feed on every good feeling, every happy memory, and every repeat showing of The Shawshank Redemption on TNT.
Mark Ramsey - MovieJuice!
A Harry Potter picture that flirts with -- and possibly even achieves -- greatness.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
...no matter what I say you're still probably going to see it anyway.
Tony Toscano - Talking Pictures (U.S.)
Cuaron ... uses his enchanting vision to send Rowling's third installment down its dark, wondrous, often captivating road in grand style and with a generally steady pace.
Larry Ratliff - San Antonio Express-News
Despite a stronger appreciation for the characters' psyches, Prisoner of Azkaban gets messy when Cuaron feels rushed.
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
Rowling's prose unwittingly resembles the monster books that try to eat the students.
Stephen Himes - Film Snobs
Cuaron's involvement should have made this the best of the series, but 'Prisoner... once again falls prey to author Rowling's tendency towards a lack of sophistication.
David N. Butterworth - Movie Boeuf
The visual imagination on display in this film is head and shoulders above the first two films.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Cuaron leaves Peter Jackson and his bloody Hobbits choking on his dust.
Beth Jones - Roanoke Times (Virginia)
Now that the groundwork has been laid, the series is free to really explore some compelling themes.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
As in "Princess" and "Mama," Cuaron explores the secret lives of young people forging identities in an adult world that alternately wants to ignore and to control them.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
The adults may like it as much as any of the children in the audience. But the series is reaching a point of diminishing returns.
Mark R. Leeper - rec.arts.movies.reviews
[a] whimsically solid entry. Cuaron creates a Harry Potter universe that is visually more stunning and sardonic in content...a viably entertaining creepy coming-of-age saga
Frank Ochieng - Movie Eye
[E]ven if you're never read a word of the Potter books and you haven't seen the first two films, Azkaban stands alone as a creative triumph.
Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper
All hail Harry Potter!
Elias Savada - Nitrate Online
The third edition of this classic tale brings thrills, chills and a new direction.
Vince Koehler - Entertainment Spectrum
"While still riveting and wonderful in its mythology, is somewhat clunky and confounding in execution."
Angela Baldassarre - Sympatico.ca
Le meilleur, ou le plus mature au minimum, des films de la serie.
Nicolas Lacroix - EnPrimeur.ca
It just chugs along briskly, riding a wave of wonder and enthusiasm.
Marrit Ingman - Austin Chronicle
The darkest, most heavily plotted and handsomely crafted film of the three, but what's missing without Chris Columbus in the director's chair is the gee-whiz sense of wonder.
Jonathan R. Perry - Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)
Un renacimiento de la saga, el brinco inevitable a la pubertad y el puente sin regreso del mundo de la magia inocua, a la fantastica esfera del horror y lo desconocido.
Luis Martinez - Cinenganos
Did we mention Chris Columbus didn't direct this film?
Jimmy O - Film Snobs
Darker, edgier and more artful than its predecessors. What's even more surprising is that it's actually very good!
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
It helps that I'm a huge fan of Rowling's Harry Potter books, and love the core story so much (especially Azkaban) that I'm apt to overlook some minor quibbles.
Gabe Leibowitz - Film and Felt
The third time's the charm with this visual confection.
Boo Allen - Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
This is a true adaptation, giving the impression of filming the whole book while carefully choosing what to include and leave out -- and thus it feels more complete and satisfying.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
...has exactly what the earlier ones lacked - a sense of magic of its own.
Andy Klein - Los Angeles CityBeat
The other films felt like nothing more than companion pieces to the novels, illustrations to go along with the words; this one stands on its own.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
An utter delight.
(CNN.com) Paul Clinton - CNN.com
Paul Clinton (CNN.com) - CNN.com
'Something Wicked This Way Comes!' promises the tagline -- and it delivers!
Staci Layne Wilson - Horror.com
As good a movie as anyone will ever make out of J.K. Rowling's revered novels about the boy wizard.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
As magical and adventurous as ever, but perhaps just a smidgen darker than its predecessors, and deliciously foreboding.
Jack Garner - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
This isn't the Grade Three incarnation of Harry Potter anymore.
Ryan Cracknell - Movie Views
Forrest Hartman - Reno Gazette-Journal
Easily the most clever, emotionally affecting and involving of the adaptations so far.
Terry Lawson - Detroit Free Press
The best of the films to date.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
[Alfonso Cuaron] has never made a special-effects movie before, and he's careful to balance the ooh-ahh moments with human interaction.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
[Cuaron's] dark touch gives the latest chapter a fresh bolt of energy and - at last! - a rush of inspiration.
Austin O'Connor - Lowell Sun
Those who feared the franchise might grow as stale as Batman or Alien need not worry, as Cuaron proves there is still a little magic left up Potter's sleeve.
Jon Niccum - Lawrence Journal-World
A fast-paced, suspense-filled adventure that takes viewers on a wild, mesmerizing, magical ride regardless of their age.
Louis B. Hobson - Jam! Movies
This chapter leaves me little enthused for the future.
Edward Havens - FilmJerk.com
A great continuation of the series and immediately available for viewing in IMAX! See it that way if you can!
John Venable - Supercala.com
A well-paced tween movie that feels modern, timeless, funny and frightening all at once.
Dean Essner - E! Online
There hasn't been a truly great Harry Potter movie yet, but this is a step in the right direction.
Kevin N. Laforest - Montreal Film Journal
Fast, fluid and absorbing.
William Arnold - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
An adaptation worthy of Rowling's marvelous creation-a chapter that spins the story to ever more thrillingly dark, treacherous heights.
Sara Brady - Premiere Magazine
This film tells the exact same story more effectively than J.K. Rowling.
Fred Topel - About.com
A different kind of Harry Potter movie, a better kind.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
Cuaron tries to touch on a couple dozen of the subplots that so delightfully and leisurely unfold in the book, but here come off like a fast-forwarded highlight reel.
Christine James - Boxoffice Magazine
A marvelous adventure.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
The other films had magic brooms, but this is the first picture that flies.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
While voluptuously bringing to luscious life the kid-lit world of witchcraft, wizardry and bizarre creatures, has script and plotting as bland as the Hardy Boys.
Phil Villarreal - Arizona Daily Star
Pardon the pun, but when it comes to Harry Potter films, the third time's a charm.
Sarah Chauncey - Reel.com
Despite a meandering middle and an anti-climatic ending, this installment is better than its predecessors in nearly every way.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
The effects are a wonder to behold.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
Scarier, funnier, filmed with real style.
Bob Strauss - Los Angeles Daily News
...the most multifaceted and intriguing Harry Potter film yet.
Guylaine Cadorette - Hollywood.com
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the best entry, yet, in the series
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The third time's the charm. Or maybe it's the second director. Either way, "Azkaban" proves the boy wizard's most bewitching big-screen adventure yet.
Carol Cling - Las Vegas Review-Journal
At long last, here is a film where the computer-generated imagery actually serves the magic rather than being the magic.
Karen Karbo - Oregonian
A spell whose effect - though effectively and expertly cast - will not likely last much longer than the time it takes to watch it.
Todd Gilchrist - FilmStew.com
The first [of the series] that really accomplishes what Rowling's books do so well -- respect the intelligence and imagination of Harry's young audience.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
Here, at last, Harry Potter And The Movie Adventure hauls itself up to the standards set by the brilliant books.
Colin Kennedy - Empire Magazine
The best Harry Potter adaptation so far... more emotional, scarier, and demands more from the actors portraying the young wizards, but they all deliver.
Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone - TheMovieChicks.com
Cuaron achieves what the first two films failed at: creating an empathetic, human dimension for both Harry Potter and the entire world of witchcraft and wizardry.
Audrey Rock-Richardson - Tooele Transcript-Bulletin (Utah)
Until an even more impressive chapter comes along, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban looms as the apex of the phenomenal new film franchise based on J.K. Rowling's celebrated series of novels.
Joe Baltake - Sacramento Bee
A big, marvelous entertainment we can feel proud to love.
David Elliott - San Diego Union-Tribune
If the first two films could easily have been tightened up by a half-hour or so, this one left me wishing that there were an 'extended edition' DVD coming.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Cuaron is... having fun with the neverwhere between childhood and adolescence in a deliciously metaphoric way that Chris Columbus wouldn't or couldn't venture near...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Here, finally, is a Harry Potter movie I'd happily see again.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Prisoner may not be perfect, but when it's good, it's very good indeed.
Robert Denerstein - Denver Rocky Mountain News
A whole lot of fun, even for those of us who haven't read the books.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
the most atmospheric, heartfelt and elegantly eerie installment so far... 'mischief managed' -- marvelously.
James Sanford - Kalamazoo Gazette
Pitched to an older crowd.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
More adult, and seeing this series become gradually more sophisticated, along with its three stars, is a real treat.
Jon Popick - Planet Sick-Boy
The best book in the series is now the best film in the series. We all have a better movie in our heads, but I had a blast seeing what lurked inside Curon's.
Collin Souter - eFilmCritic.com
He's great, , the dementors are great , everyone else is great and the film is great.
Eric Lurio - Greenwich Village Gazette
an influx of terrific British actors, the oncoming adulthood of the film's three young stars and the fabulous effect that is the Hippogriff sock this one over
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
It's a dazzling, magical cinematic experience.
Susan Granger - www.susangranger.com
Stretching the PG rating to its breaking point, Mr. Cuaron has directed the creepiest and scariest Potter picture yet -- and to my mind, the best.
David Sterritt - Christian Science Monitor
Less a proper story in itself than a reminder to enjoy the wonders [J.K. Rowling] has conjured.
Rob Vaux - Flipside Movie Emporium
More magical than its cinematic predecessors.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
...there is very little about this bloated package that delivered anything of great impact, particularly its story-line...
JoBlo - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
"Prisoner" ironically feels much more unrestrained by the pressure of translating J.K. Rowlings' novels into films and is easier to just enjoy as a movie.
Jeffrey Lyles - Gazette (MD)
Everything they screwed up in the first two Harry Potter movies they fix in the new one.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
The literal sensibility that director Chris Columbus gave to the first two Potter films has been replaced by Cuaron's richly cinematic one.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
At some point you have to start asking with all the mystical potions and gifts of foresight, how do these wizards keep fingering the wrong people for these crimes?
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Everything a Harry Potter movie should be, an awesome visual world housing the volatile heart of a teenager.
Jeffrey Chen - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
A change in directors brings the third installment of the boy-wizard saga even closer to greatness.
James Rocchi - Netflix
The boys look considerably less interesting whenever Hermione's on screen, she being, again, the creature most in-between.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
(Director Alfonso) Cuaron has created a darker, more sinister world for Harry, while also opening up more of the grounds around Hogwarts.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
How ironic that a story dealing with an escaped prisoner actually manages to set this franchise free.
Sean O'Connell - Eclipse Magazine
A highly entertaining epic - arguably the best of the films to date - and one that will entrance fans of the books as well as newcomers.
Peter Sobczynski - Critic Doctor
The first real Potter movie.
Glenn Lovell - San Jose Mercury News
Cuaron finds the perfect balance of individual style and faithful representation, darkness and light, and delivers the strongest installment in the Potter series so far.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
Kept the best of the first Potter films and enriched it, meshing perfectly with the tone of the story and the increasing complexity of the themes and characters.
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Audiences won't be wild about this "Harry" with its dark, humorless approach
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
[Cuaron] leaves his mark without betraying the source material.
Maitland McDonagh - TV Guide's Movie Guide
Showing more depth and range than in the first two Harry Potter movies, Radcliffe, Grint and Watson have all come into their own.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
This time, Harry Potter is in a movie, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," not just a translation of a novel.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
The Potter movies come of age.
Scott Nash - Three Movie Buffs
It is perfect evidence for the obvious truth Potter fans must face. The only great Harry Potter movies will be those we create in our minds as readers.
Nick Rogers - State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)
Almost everything about this movie looks and feels right.
Chauncey Mabe - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Cuaron brings a greater sensibility to his topic than did his predecessor Chris Columbus in the two previous Harry Potter movies.
Leslie Katz - culturevulture.net
Prisoner of Azkaban sustains the good vibe of Harry Potter's previous screen appearances, while also being blessed with a wand's worth of Cuaron's movie magic.
John Anderson - Newsday
A convincing exploration of adolescence when one is tossed and turned by doubts about self and others and exhilarated by fantastic energy and derring do.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
A marvel of special effects seamlessly hitched to a powerful coming-of-age story.
Ella Taylor - L.A. Weekly
nothing much happens to enhance any of the characters aside from the tenuous hand-holding of Ron and Hermione - and Azkaban generates very little energy along the way
Christopher Null - Filmcritic.com
This latest film is a lot darker in tone, and thanks to the new director Alfonso Cuaron, it's also a great deal scarier.
Sean McBride - Sean the Movie Guy
Best just to sit back and marinate in the richness of the movie's texture and ignore the sloppy screenplay.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
Cuaron's resume all but guarantees he'll be given the free ride that Columbus never enjoyed. Yet the truth is that, while far from a dud, this is the weakest of the films.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Darker than the first two installments though not too scary for the youngest in the audience.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
Cuaron has also taken more narrative liberties than Columbus did, and all of them are good, restructuring the film's chronology for increased dramatic impact
Luke Y. Thompson - New Times
Troubling and turbulent as any coming-of-age saga worth its agony must be. It feels absolutely true, and absolutely magical.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
The sets are spectacular and the effects largely seamless.
Nev Pierce - BBC
A visually ravishing, narratively crisp treatment that represents a major advance on the earlier installments...not just a good Harry Potter movie; it's a good movie, period.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
The third Harry Potter movie is the best yet, seemingly less dependent than its predecessors on cinematic gadgetry, and stronger in conveying its characters and story.
Brian Webster - Apollo Guide
It isn't worth sitting through almost two-and-a-half hours of a movie without enough for anyone other than a certified Potter fan.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
Alfonso Cuaron has fashioned J.K. Rowling's imaginative text into a visually and emotionally satisfying stunner.
Jeanne Aufmuth - Palo Alto Weekly
There are some pretty nifty scenes and special effects.
Jean Lowerison - San Diego Metropolitan
A great film -- not just a fun treat or a solid adaptation, but a wonderful movie.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Depth of character, cunning humor and hair-raising chills come shining through the visual blitzkrieg of special effects....Far and away the best Harry Potter movie yet.
Rob Blackwelder - SPLICEDWire
Our wee little wizard is growing up so fast! ... Much like the child actors in the Harry Potter movies have grown up ... this film and story have grown with them.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Cuaron has more than done it justice, delivering an enjoyable, beautifully directed film that is comfortably superior to its two predecessors.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Alfonso Cuaron has successfully brought a Harry Potter book to the silver screen without losing the magic that made the series an international phenomenon.
Alex Sandell - Juicy Cerebellum
A darker, scarier, more mature film than either of its predecessors, in my book, better, too.
Michael Szymanski - Zap2it.com
The Potter universe is finally imaged with magical perfection. Any chance Cuaron could re-do HP1 and HP2?
Victoria Alexander - FilmsInReview.com
In Cuaron's hands this fantasy has gone from the wildly absurd into the delightfully real.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
A dark and sombre film that is spookier but less amusing than the first two.
Annette Dasey - Teletext
Assured, visually triumphant filmmaking that isn't simply a joy to look at, but also bewitches with its tightly conceived plotting.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
Cuaron's appointment to this franchise is quite simply the most inspired Hollywood gamble of the yea
James Christopher - Times [UK]
Harry Potter fans, stand up and cheer for Alfonso Cuaron, who in taking the reins for the third film in the series, has finally infused energy and vitality into the franchise.
David Foucher - EDGE Boston
Not only is this the best Harry Potter movie, it is the first Harry Potter movie that actually qualifies as cinema.
David Poland - Hot Button
Pace, acting, composition, cinematography, moody lighting & score create a magical cinematic experience with greater depth, grit and maturity than the previous two.
Ross Anthony - Hollywood Report Card
suitably imaginative visuals and a knack for hitting the high points of the plot without missing a beat. . . a fabulously wild ride
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Anxiously paced and happily embellished, The Prisoner of Azkaban trades in conflict of the internal variety. It's also the first Harry Potter film worth a damn.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
This isn't a radical departure from the previous films. Solid entertainment for fans.
Daniel Etherington - Film4