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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

40. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This really is more of a ranking representing the whole Harry Potter franchise. I've loved the books and the films for as long as I've been reading novels really and Azkaban was always both my favorite book and film. Sirius is one of my favorite adult characters in the series for sure. If I were to rank the movies it would look something like this:

1- Prisoner of Akzaban
2- Order of the Phoenix
3- Half Blood Prince
4- Goblet of Fire
5- Deathly Hallows Part 1
6- Chamber of Secrets
7- Deathly Hallows Part 2
8- Sorcerer's Stone (or Philosopher's Stone, depending on how British you are).

I like that this film is the most visually unique of the films, no doubt in part because it was helmed by the best director to come to the franchise, Alfonso Cuaron. This was also where the young actors really came into their own (partly due to Cuaron's direction and partly due to their improvement as actors as they grew up, probably) which was a big step forward for the franchise. This movie was the first in the franchise to transition into the darker feeling the series has as you progress further along into the story, and it worked great, as I remember being genuinely scared (particularly of the dementors) when I saw this movie in theaters as a kid. Cuaron does an excellent job of establishing an eerie tone for the film while still maintaining the magic and wonder the earlier books in the franchise were known for (a feeling that, as the books and films go on, purposefully leaves in favor of more darkness as the children grow up and the stakes get bigger).

The Harry Potter franchise has been a part of my youth for a long time and there was no way it was not going to have some representation on the list, so this is the film I chose of the bunch, since I think it is the best one. I'd also laud this film for it's use of time travel without being frustratingly convoluted, as time travel tends to be.