Film: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Arthur Weasley: Harry, I want you to swear to me that whatever you might hear, you won't go looking for Black.
Harry: Mr. Weasley, why would I go looking for someone who wants to kill me?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third Harry Potter film, released in 2004.

"I solemnly swear I am up to no good..."

Sirius Black, a mass murderer believed to have been a supporter of Voldemort, has escaped from Azkaban, the wizarding prison, and is allegedly out to kill Harry. In response, the Ministry of Magic sends Dementors, a race of dreadful creatures, to guard Hogwarts and their powers seem to affect Harry especially.

What differentiates POA from the first two movies is that it develops a highly non-linear path from the book—the exact opposite of the previous films. This helped cement the movie as one of the most controversial of the eight—as well as one of the best received. Cuarón's twist on the story as well as the Darker and Edgier tone was lauded by critics, to the point where it placed among Empire's top 500 greatest movies list. It also did damn good on the Tomatometer with a 91% rating.

The movie grossed $796.6 million worldwide, but it's the lowest-grossing movie of the series. But hey—at least it scored some Academy Award nominations.

Came out one year after Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hit bookshelves.

Followed by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Tropes exclusive to this film:

  • Abandoned Playground: The first indications of the Knight Bus' arrival include swings that start moving softly, as does a merry-go-round and a seesaw. The effect is excellently eerie.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Harry when telling Aunt Marge about his "experience" at St. Brutus's.
  • Balloon Belly: Aunt Marge. Good lord.
    • Popping Buttons: The intensity of which, on its own merits, justifies this scene being committed to film.
  • Big "Shut Up!": Harry says this twice to Aunt Marge at the kitchen table.
  • Brick Joke: While riding the Knight Bus, the shrunken head warns Harry that "If you order the pea soup, be sure to eat it before it eats you." Later, while talking with Fudge, he offers Harry some pea soup, which Harry adamantly refuses.
  • Call Forward: After Harry falls off his broom, the Weasley twins comment on how high he fell and say to Ron "We'll walk you off the Astronomy Tower and see how you come out looking", unintentionally foreshadowing how/where Dumbledore dies in Book 6.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Ron has one which segues right into a Waking Non Sequitur, in which he begins talking about spiders that wanted him to tap dance.
  • Darker and Edgier: Hell yeah. Marks a distinct turning point for the film franchise, where everything from the music to the cinematography to Hogwarts' very architecture has taken a turn for the complex and the noir.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Doesn't even begin to describe the Knight Bus. "It's gonna be a bumpy ride!"
  • Dropped Glasses: Harry during the Whomping Willow scene. We even get to see through his perspective (it looks awfully blurry).
  • Fake Kill Scare: At one point, they hear what they think is Buckbeak being executed. It turns out to be the executioner slicing a pumpkin with his axe after he finds out Buckbeak escaped.
  • Flat "What.": Harry does this when Hagrid tells him that he can ride Buckbeak.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: Harry, on his Firebolt. Not only that, but just as Harry's about to fly into the camera, a freeze-frame occurs that smushes his face all over the screen. Hard not to be startled by. Provides the page image.
    • The same smudge effect is used when someone is receiving a Dementor's Kiss.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Near the beginning of the film, there's a Freeze-Frame Bonus where you see a wizard in the Leaky Cauldron is seen reading A Brief History of Time. The last act is based heavily around time travel.
    • Lupin teaching Harry's class how to deal with the Boggart, a magical creature that is warded off with the combination of a spell and positive thoughts, foreshadowing him teaching Harry how to deal with Dementors.
    • In this class, we learn that the Boggart can take on the form of a person's greatest fear. When Lupin pushes himself in front of Harry to protect him from the Boggart-as-Dementor, the boggart turns into a full moon. Why a full moon? Hmmmm...
    • In the very next scene in the movie, Snape has to cover Lupin's class (because Lupin is "unable to teach at the moment" and he jumps ahead a few chapters to do a lesson on werewolves. He then finds an excuse to assign the entire class (or maybe it's just Gryffindor) to write up a report on werewolves, focusing on recognizing them, due the next day.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: A sharp eye during the credits might catch something interesting.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: The Fat Lady attempts this, but has to resort to breaking the glass on her frame.
  • Got Volunteered: When Hagrid asks who in the class wants to ride Buckbeak, everyone but Harry takes a step backwards.
  • Iconic Outfit: Hermione's pink hooded sweater.
    • Harry's blue shirt.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Sirius invokes this to stave off Remus's transformation. It doesn't work.
  • Iris Out: Used frequently.
  • Jump Scare: Of sorts. See Fly-at-the-Camera Ending.
  • Keep Reading: When the Marauder's Map insults Snape.
  • Pet the Dog: In the film version. When Snape realizes there's an angry werewolf standing behind him, the first thing he does is to push three students he loathes behind himself to protect them.
  • Precision F-Strike: In Aunt Marge's scene, she uses the word "bitch".
    • Justified as she was using "bitch" as a term for a female dog.
    • The intent, however, is very much there. Using the metaphor of dogs breeding was just a convenient way for her to call Harry's mother that.
  • Prompting Nudge: Ron has to nudge Harry during the Hippogriff lesson in order for him to go forward as Hagrid had asked.
  • Scooby Stack: The trio do this on their way out of Hagrid's hut when Fudge, Dumbledore, and the executioner arrive.
  • Sequel Escalation: As with the book, averted; this is the only entry without some form of Voldemort, the antagonist is actually not after Harry at all, and the climax doesn't involve a heavy action sequence coming off the titular Chamber of Secrets scene in the previous movie.
  • Shout-Out: To Shakespeare: The song "Double Trouble" is composed of lines from the Three Witches' chant.
  • Shrunken Head: The film has a number of talking shrunken heads, most prominently the one on the Knight Bus that speaks instead of Ernie, the bus driver. They are mostly wise-cracking Plucky Comic Relief characters, although they also provide some exposition. They don't appear in the book, though J.K. Rowling has said she wishes she'd thought of it.
  • That Poor Car: When the Knight Bus arrives at the Leaky Cauldron, it is unable to completely stop and while it decelerates it nudges into a car, sounding its alarm.
  • That Poor Cat: Directly after the Knight Bus leaves after dropping off Harry at the Leaky Cauldron.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: See Catapult Nightmare.
  • Weirdness Censor: When Marge is being blown up, she doesn't react as if what is happening to her is impossible. It is more "Help me, Vernon!" than "What is happening to me!"