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Harry Potter an…

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

1.Analysis of the film. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the 3rd film in the Harry Potter series of films adapted from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. It is a slightly darker adaptation than the other films. For example, the Dementors are considered by many to be too frightening for children. This is strange since it is a children’s book series. The tone of this film is decidedly more English than the previous three films, and there are a number of English references present in the film.

2.Analysis of the book. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is part of the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was published in 1999. As with the other novels in the series, the writing is rich, descriptive, and brings to life a fantasy world full of fascinating characters and stories.

3.Analysis of the Adaptation. In the adapting the book into a film, Alfonso Cuaron was presented with a difficult challenge: the fans of the books are difficult to please, and the special effects challenges of adapting a  book set in a fantasy backdrop presents a number of daunting special effects challenges.  The film is a relatively faithful adaptation of the book, but it is a highly condensed version (as it must be considering the considerable detail of the novel) which omits various details. For example, the titles of some of Harry’s books (i.e. A Handbook of Do-It-Yourself Broomcare and Witch Burning in the 14th Century Was Completely Pointless) were omitted from the book, and, therefore, omitted some insights, humor, concepts.

4.Online Research of the Film. The three online sources I found in relation to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban include: As loathe as many might be to recommend cliff notes for book reviews, this is a good starting point for understanding concepts in the film. Especially for people unfamiliar with the series. There is a lot of information here. An interesting breakdown of the theme of friendship in the film. An interesting breakdown as part of a book club discussion group which offers a lot of questions for meaningful reflection.

5.Critical Analysis. Perhaps more so than other Harry Potter films, in Prisoner of Azkaban Harry seems to be having “daddy issues.” What are they and how does this relate to the theme of growing up and learning to be a man? How does the feminine fit into this process?

The film has a significant amount of time devoted to Harry’s desire for greater connection with his father (aka daddy issues). As a father I actually found it refreshing. Among the scenes relating to this are the scene where he overcomes the Dementors, the dream with his father, and the godfather scenes with Sirius Black. In short, the scene where his judgment is clouded as he waits for his father to rescue him from the Dementors shows his passage to greater adulthood when he successfully wards of the Dementors on his own, and no longer seeks the assistance of his father. Additionally, the scenes where he longingly seeks/accepts guidance from Sirius Black (the desire to move in with him, the fatherly advice later, and the gift with the feather) show his continuing pursuit of a father figure to protect him and guide him. This is not an uncommon characteristic in films of children without a father (ex. Pink Floyd’s The Wall).



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July 2, 2012 · 3:20 pm

No Country for …

No Country for Old Men (2007)
1. Analysis of the Book. No Country for Old Men is a novel written by Cormac McCarthy and published in 2005. The book is, for the most part, set in West Texas (aside from a brief stint across the river from Del Rio [Ciudad Acuña, Mexico]), and follows the events that transpire after Llewelyn Moss, the protagonist, discovers two million dollars in the remnants of a border drug conflict. Like many of McCarthy’s books, there is a large amount of consideration given to the concept of randomness versus fate. The books antagonist, Chigurh, relates a great deal of this conflict in hi dialogues.

2. Analysis of the Film. The film is an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s book of the same name. It was released in 2007. Unlike, most films it does not have any kind of significant soundtrack, and therefore does not manipulate the emotional tone of the film through use of music. It is left to the viewers own interpretation. The adaptation was done by the Coen brothers, and incorporates various elements of their own dark humor. It is considered by most to be a very faithful retelling of the novel.

3. Analysis of the Adaptation. The adaptation of the film remains true to the book. In fact, it is undoubtedly the most faithful adaptation of any of the films examined so far. Yet, there are significant differences. For the sake of brevity I will not list all the differences, but please see the following for a more detailed description:,10236. (For example, the scene between Chigurh and Carla Jean is quite different, and the details of the kid who removes Chigurh’s gun from the car is omitted.) Still, the film version goes to great length to recreate the setting detailed in the book. On a personal note, as a former resident of Alpine, Texas (the same town as one of the victims), I thought they did a pretty good job of filming the setting.

4. Online Research of the Film. The three online sources I found in relation to No Country for Old Men include:    This site has a fairly extensive analysis of the film. Phil, the blog owner, concentrates on the quote by Ed Tom’s uncle regarding vanity. It is one of the most important quotes in the film. I do not necessarily agree entirely with his conclusion, but I think it is better than most.,10236   provides an excellent breakdown of differences between the book and the film. Specifically, it outlines scenes not included in the film from the book.  This is not the usual kind of URL I would post, but it has an interesting debate over the ending of the movie with some very interesting comments.

5. Critical Analysis.

The character of Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men has been cited as an example of nihilism, a philosophy that holds life has no meaning and that there is no such thing as objective truth. Does this label fit Chigurh (does he have a value system?), or is he just a psycho-killer?
Anton Chigurh is not a nihilist. A nihilist wants to destroy everything, but Chigurh does not want to destroy everything. He kills all those who cross his path, but his destruction is tempered by a kind of moral code that allows the opportunity of randomness or free choice to remove the individual from certain death. Chigurh is something other than a nihilist. Anton Chigurh is more a force of nature. He is more than human in No Country for Old Men. He is a symbol, a force. He is more machine than man. Throughout the film he is seemingly devoid of emotion, compassion, and sympathy. In fact, he operates on a mechanical logic where random chance and fate play integral parts in his actions. Take, for example, the two times in the film where he gives his victims a chance to choose heads or tails over the flip of a coin. Additionally, his victims often remark, “you don’t have to do this,” but of course he does. He is not capable of choice. He is not real, but, rather, an exaggerated hyperbole.


June 24, 2012 · 8:47 pm