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Fun with Franchises: Favorite Images from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

One of the recurring features that we do in Fun with Francises (a feature within a feature) is, after we finish watching a film, we go through and pick out our favorite images from that film. These images could be anything from really famous images from the film or franchise, really beautifully composed shots, shots that are funny to us because of the facial expressions being made in them or because of what we said about them in the article in which they appeared, or simply because they have boobs in them.

What we usually do is, just how we watch the films, Colin and I go in separately and pick out about ten to fifteen shots that we really liked. Then we compare lists, and whichever ones we both picked automatically go on our final list. And everything else we talk through and discuss why we like them, and eventually we’re left with a final list of ten images we liked the best, along with five honorable mentions, which were also as good, but just missed out on making the list proper.

It’s not very complicated (like most things we do here on B+ Movie Blog), and is just a way for us to point out shots that we really liked in the films, especially since we tend to pick stuff that’s not always on the beaten path. (We also don’t officially rank the list of shots. We just put them in chronological order. Simply picking them is hard enough. We don’t want to make our lives any harder. Plus, we’re lazy.)

That said — here are our favorite images from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:

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1. Have You Seen This Wizard?

This shot needed to be on this list. Colin didn’t pick it for his list, but I did, and I needed this one to be on. Because to me, this shot exemplifies everything that this film does right that, to me, makes it better and more interesting than any other film in this franchise. Because when you think about it — film 1, a horcrux is destroyed. Film 2, a horcrux is destroyed. Film 4, Voldemort returns. Film 5 — ehh… all right. But I also think that one’s one of the best ones too. Film 6, Dumble-dead. And then the last one. ‘Nuff said. This one — nothing really of substance. Sirius escapes, and we think he’s evil, but oh wait, he’s not evil. The end. We saved a hippogriff. That’s pretty much what we get out of this movie. And yet — best one in the franchise. Why? Because of shots like this.

This entire scene is done in a single shot. It starts right there, with Sirius in the foreground (which — that’s the film in a nutshell right there, this shot), and then they move closer after a couple lines, and then move past that pillar even closer into the foreground, into a dark corner. It’s brilliant staging and brilliant directing, in what is easily the best directed film of the franchise.

Colin:

This seems simple enough. Something going on in the foreground and something going on in the background. And the background something is talking about the foreground something. Directors who have to do expository dialogue: this is how you make it not suck. 

I also felt we should consolidate all our “great direction” screenshots into a single one, just because we had at least five (each) that exemplified great direction. Like this shot, which — when’s the last time you saw an iris in a mainstream movie? Okay, now when’s the last time you saw it in a FRANCHISE movie? And then there’s this shot, which I love, because it directly references Citizen Kane‘s deep staging. And then there’s this shot, which is one of the most memorable in the franchise, yet didn’t make the final cut because they repeat it in the next movie, which kind of dilutes the overall effect.

And finally — a special shout out to this shot, which Colin and I both put on our individual lists (which is pretty surprising, considering what it is), but didn’t make the final cut just because we didn’t have enough room, given the ridiculous amount of shots that merited inclusion on these lists (and, honestly, because I demanded that some ones be put on, like a shot later that was so funny to me it ended up getting its own subtitle for one of the articles). But just know that Colin and I bought thought this image, and the camera placement in this image, were so interesting that it stuck in our minds long after we saw the film as an interesting shot. Which again highlights the great direction and abundance of great images that are in this film.

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2. Candles and Choirs, Cunts

This one is interesting, since Colin and I both essentially chose this image without actually choosing this image.

Colin put this image on his list, focusing more on Filius Flitwick (baddest motherfucker at Hogwarts) conducting the choir. Because he’s a badass. I, on the other hand, chose this image, focusing on the floating candles, which I’ve said before (and will say many times henceforth) are one of my favorite touches of this entire franchise. I believe that this is the film that took those candles (which did exist in the first two movies), and brought them to the forefront. (Because, no joke, if you asked me if the floating candles were in the first two movies, I’d have said, “I guess so…?” Because I still barely remember them being there, and the only reason I know they’re there is because I went back to look at the screenshots after the fact (the fact being me having seen those films a dozen times and again in depth for these articles). But here, you know they’re there. And they seem really cool. And from here on out, they are a big part of the scenery in the Great Hall whenever we see it for the first time every year.

So, given that we both basically chose the same image, we felt the simplest compromise was to pick an image that had both of those things in it. And voila.

Colin:

Mostly I’m just excited about Flitwick conducting the choir. I love that he does that and I love that we get to see him doing it. It’s interesting that they’re all practiced up on the first day of school and that a bunch of the kids play auxiliary percussion. They got a legit choir.

I’d also like to point out two other images that did not make our list for space reasons (and one because it’s so much of a recurring theme, I don’t need to keep bringing it up if there isn’t room for it. So basically space reasons): this one, and this one. Basically the reasons there are: symmetry and sheer beauty. And the candles don’t hurt, either. I just love those shots and had to mention them.

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3. “That was AMAZING!”

Colin:

If you didn’t think this was hilarious, I’m not sure we can be friends. Trying to act like a badass, failing, and then cheating in full view of everyone as though they weren’t looking — this is always funny. I was laughing my ass off at this moment. Literally one of the few times throughout this franchise that elicited an audible reaction from me.

It’s just a really funny moment. We both had this on our lists. Her face during this is great, too. The looking around, like, “This isn’t going well,” the crack of the glass, and the playing off like, “Oh my god, did you see that?!” Complete dedication.

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4. The Darkest Omen in the Wizarding World

Colin:

We were obviously both going to pick this image. I’ve been on Rowling and the franchise about race issues from day one, and we get THIS kid to explain the the grim is, “among the darkest omens in our world.” Why did you make this kid use the word “dark?” Who is this kid? We don’t know his name, we never see him smile, we never see him kicking it with buddies…he’s just there for some exposition while being really, REALLY black.

He and I are not so different.

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5. This shot

This is just a beautiful image. I love any image in this film with that pendulum in it. Like this one.

Colin:

Everyone likes a symmetrical shot with faded colors. Right?

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6. The Trelawney Two-fer

Colin and I split on which image to pick, but since they were both involving the same person, we put them both on.

The first image, I chose, because it, as Colin said, it involves the biggest put-down of Hermione that will ever happen (though, I’ll admit… Snape’s one is pretty close. But it’s not even near this one). And I love that when it’s over, she pats her hand as a sort of comfort. Like, “Oh… you’re a shriveled little girl who desperately cleaves to books despite your soulless self. Good talk.” That was just hilarious to me. Because what else can you do after a put-down like that?

And then Colin chose the second one, because:

Colin:

I picked the hairball one, cause…that sticks with you. Harry’s like, “What did this bitch just say?” and she’s hacking up some of that frizzy shit from her head.

It’s great that she finally goes off and has a legitimate prophecy, and then… hairball.

You know she a freak in bed.

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7. Hermione fucking Draco’s day up.

Colin chose the first image, I chose the second. Essentially the same thing, so we combined them.

Colin:

I had to go with the wand to the throat. First, Hermione’s about to cap this fool. Second, look at Draco’s face. What a little bitch! He’s really the Vegeta of this franchise in that he’s an evil prick who’s basically a prince, and even though he runs with the big dogs, he cries like a punk when the going gets tough.

I just went simpler — here’s when she PUNCHES HIM IN THE FUCKING FACE! We’re in a world with magic. They can use wands to cause immense pain to people, control their very mind and body, and kill them without a word. And here we have her PUNCHING HIM IN THE FUCKING FACE! It’s a thing of beauty. Also, this is the very moment in which Hermione goes from being early film Hermione to best character in the franchise. Which is also part of it. A lot going on in this image, which, I’ll reiterate, involves someone being PUNCHED IN THE FACE.

I’d also like to shout out this shot, which is absolutely beautiful, but found no place in the images, since we felt the close-ups were better fits for the article. Still, though — breathtaking.

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8. Dementorrent

We both picked this one, just FYI.

Colin:

I’m a sucker for aerial shots, and this one has shit that’s spinning. Bonus! I think it just adds to the sense of foreboding that they’re swirling around like that over them. Like they’re doing their hump dance around the passed out guys and once they’re done, they’re gonna suck your soul out. Stuff’s always scarier when it circles you.

It’s just a beautiful shot, tracking up the tornado of dementors, showing just how fucked they are in this very moment. It’s a beautiful image that speaks for itself.

Also, I was real close to picking this shot, but decided against it, given the amount of time an “I can’t feel my legs!” shot could appear in these articles if I started going down that road. Plus, we have so many for this film — it was best to leave it off.

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9. Hermione’s Reactions

This might become a staple of these articles from now on. Since Hermione, from here on out, becomes the best character in the franchise. Every movie has at least a half dozen great Hermione moments, so probably from here on out, we’re just gonna have one of the top ten just be a “Hermione” one, and we’ll post a couple of shots in which she’s being awesome. Most likely just her best facial reactions. I think. We’ll see. But something tells me that we’re gonna have a lot of her reactions, so it’s probably best to just set aside a spot for them.

But — the first one is hilarious because you know exactly what she’s thinking — “Goddamn, I look GOOD.” And the second is hilarious because:

Colin:

It’s no secret that we love Hermione’s reactions. All the time. The first one is her looking at herself, and it’s totally her checking herself out, which — awesome. I have even more appreciation for the other shot, which is her backhanding Buckbeak. Remember what happened to Malfoy when he disrespected this animal? Ended up in the HOSPITAL. Hermione hasn’t done the bowing thing yet or NOTHING, so she’s still on shaky ground with him. But there she is, dead ferrets wrapped around her neck, backhanding a creature that could kill her dozens of different ways. This is on a whole new level of badass.

Also, while we’re talking about reactions, here are two — mad face and Filch (who is always good for a reaction shot) — that just missed out on making the cut, but are ones we both really love.

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10. Dumble-duo

These just felt necessary. The first is just hilarious. Look at his face. It speaks for itself. And the second is the most badass moment in this entire franchise. At least it’s the most badass Dumbledore moment. There are lots of badass moments. But this one is so great when you think about the logistics of it all. Since he just got done telling them to go back in time to do this, and then just as he leaves the room, here they come up to him, “We did it. He’s free,” and he goes, “Did what? … Good night!” and fucking waves at them. It’s BADASS. Since you know that he knows what they’re talking about and is still pretending like he doesn’t to keep with the cover. It’s absolutely brilliant.

Colin:

I do love Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. More so the saying goodbye shot. It’ll always remind me of Gambon in Layer Cake, when he drops off Daniel Craig after having kidnapped him, and as he’s putting the window up on his Rolls Royce, he just goes, “Buh-bye!” This moment is really a lot like that one, the only different being that in this shot the robes make him look even MORE like a pimp.

– – – – –

And now for some Honorable Mentions:

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I’ve literally taken to calling this the “Vesti La Giubba” shot, because now that I’ve made that joke, that’s what it is. I can’t not see this shot and the track back without hearing or at least thinking of this song playing over it. It’s absolutely perfect.

Colin:

Vernon’s on his knees in anguish and Dudley’s licking his fingers in front of the television. Know why? Cause he don’t give a FUCK! Not ONE FUCK! Fly Away Home, bitches.

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  • That Maid Just Got Hurricaned in the Face

Colin’s first paragraph explains my exact thoughts on this one:

Colin:

We had to. The maid. She got hurricaned in the face.

But seriously, what the hell is going on in that room. I also just noticed, but how narrow is the end of that room? There’s a hallway behind, too. Are these magic rooms? (Mama said this was my magic room.)

Brooks most certainly was not there.

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  • Buckbeak

We both basically picked these same shots. Colin went wide, and I went specific. Usually that’s the other way around. Colin’s choice speaks for itself. It’s beautiful. And symmetrical. Mine, I chose, because of two things. One, it’s one of those pure moments. He’s flying so low, he just dips a toe in the water just to feel it. It’s one of those things we’d all do. It represents simplicity and freedom. And it’s beautiful. And I also — and I mentioned this in the article — thought they reused this in Deathly Hallows, because I think of it in terms of that dragon that they free as well. It feels like one of those things you do when you get free. It would have been so much better if the dragon did it, but even so — Buckbeak usually lives in the forest, almost in an enclosed existence. And here he gets to fly around as he pleases and be free. And that toe in the water is so wonderfully representative of that. It’s one of my favorite images in the entire franchise, because it says so much without saying anything.

Colin:

He’s flying [Jack]. Wide shots of the lake and Buckbeak look good. Much closer and the CGI would hurt, but they got this just right. 

Also, since we had to mention them — two other shots that almost made this list (but didn’t), were this one and this one. The first one is just beautiful, and the second is great because of the rolled up pant legs. Owing to what I said earlier, I chose the wide shot and Colin chose the pant legs. (Told you that’s how it usually goes.)

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  • Galavanting Ghosts

Colin:

Favorite guys in the whole franchise. These are hoodlums on horseback who just charge around the castle and bust through the window. They laugh, they race around….it’s awesome. I want to know who they are, and if they ever did this on actual horses through this actual window when they were alive. But mostly, this makes me optimistic about the afterlife. I don’t like seeing the train station where Harry goes in Deathly Hallows II, or the “beyond” that Dumbledore disappears into, but I’d be pretty cool with the idea of death if it was an option to become a ghost whose job for eternity was just ride around on a ghost horse doing crazy shit in a castle.

When I took screenshots of this movie, I didn’t really pay much attention to these ghosts at all. To me, they were just filler to bring us into the scene and keep the ghosts involved with the movie. But after Colin brought my attention to them, I realized just how awesome it is that there are ghosts who just do this shit all day. It’s pretty terrific that they just ride around, shouting.

It’s also funny that neither Colin nor I originally had this on our lists when we compared them. I actually stopped and went, “Wait, what about those ghosts?” and Colin said that that was the only shot he went into this EXPECTING to have, but for whatever reason, didn’t. And then we revisited the shot and Colin’s words were, I believe, “I support this shot 1000% percent.”

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  • Celestial Ceiling

Colin:

This looks gorgeous. I mean, I call bullshit on the actual sky outside looking like that, cause I’m pretty sure you have to be in like…the Gobi Desert for shit to look like that. But It’s awesome that there’s a ceiling that does that. It’s an enchantment, too, so you figure you could do it just about anywhere. At least Hermione could.

I will put almost any direct image of this ceiling, because that’s one of those things I love so much I want to have it. It can snow, it can rain, it can put up stars. I now want one room in my house that’s fitted all around (ceiling and walls) with super flat panel screens that can just project whatever I want. Imagine that. You’re sitting there, at breakfast, or just chilling, and behind you, it’s just this. Or anything.

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  • The Three of Them

This is another one that may or may not get its own slot from here on out (maybe not, but… we’ll see), since, I notice, in every movie, there’s always one scene of pure joy among the three of them. I’m talking specifically of the first image. There’s always that one moment where the three of them seem completely happy, and it’s a really great moment every time, because it’s a real snapshot of where they, and we, were at the time. It’s quite nice.

And then the other one…

Colin:

I had to pick up on the awkward hug with these three, cause just look at it. Hermione all over Ron and Harry sort of tacked on. Foreshadowing. About how awkward the whole thing turns out to be, that is.

I love that originally it’s a Ron hug, and then Harry tacks himself on. There are a lot of those shots in these movies, especially the early ones. It’s hilarious. Complete Eiffel Tower stuff.

Also, here’s one that sort of fell under this heading, but also was quite beautiful on its own, but, like the stairs one, I kept it off because it was basically repeated in later films. But still… beautiful.

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  • Wand, Cookie and Intent Look = Comedy

This was one of my favorite shots I discovered when getting ready for these articles. This is so funny to me. The wand, the look of intent on his face… and the cookie in his hand! It’s such a funny image to me. I mean — why wouldn’t you put that on a list of best images in the movie? It’s hilarious!

Colin:

I hadn’t noticed this the first go-round, but after Mike suggested it, I really enjoyed it. He’s got a cookie and a wand and he’s looking at shit. Make that map YouTube, and this is EXACTLY what my weekends would look like if I were a wizard. Oh, there’d be booze, too. But you know, pretty much the same.

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  • This.

I’ll let Colin explain this one, as our thoughts are the same:

Colin:

A dog shows up and pulls Ron into a tree vagina. ‘Muff said.

(Let’s also take a moment to appreciate this shot as well. It really puts a concrete definition on the term “straddling.”)

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  • Oldman Double

Colin chose the first image, I chose the second, and we felt Gary Oldman was great enough to deserve (at least) two shots. I’ll let Colin talk about his choice in a second, while I’ll talk about mine quickly, which is — I love the image. It’s a beautiful Mexican standoff, and a great piece of composition. It’s Oldman being in the background that makes it really work. It’s a beautiful image. It’s basically the film in a nutshell, almost.

Colin:

I’ll never pass up on a crazy face, and I rarely pass up on a Gary Oldman face. This first shot, therefore, is doubly qualified for honorable mention at the very least. This guy looks straight up unhinged in this photo. Nappy hair, scraggly beard, gnarly teeth, and he’s grinning like a psychopath. THIS is a driver’s license photo.

The great thing about it is the joy he takes as he asks if Harry is going to kill him.

Also, I needed to mention this shot, which — you know what? Fuck it. I’m putting it in. Because I need to bring this to everyone’s attention

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I can’t see this shot and not immediately think, “Rape.” Harry is reaching behind Hermione to take her wand (aka DISARM HER, making her UNABLE TO DEFEND HERSELF), as Ron grabs Hermione’s hand to make sure she can’t stop it from happening. It’s so — it’s rape in a single image. It’s so incredible to me that this exists in context and out of context.

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  • “It’s the po-po!”

Colin:

So, Harry’s holding a chain to something (YO MAMA!) but the most important part of this shot is Hermione with her hands up and dead animals around her neck. This is just comedy to me. It’s like when the cops walk in on someone doing something really embarrassing, and so they put their hands up really fast, but it’s still embarrassing. I enjoy this.

Honestly, the image speaks for itself. Look at it — that’s why it’s here. It’s hilarious.

– – – – – – – – –

So that’s that. Tomorrow, we will discuss our final thoughts about the film.

(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)

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