I thoroughly enjoyed "The Prisoner of Azkaban" last night. I'm not a huge fan of the books, although I have read them all and found them quite enjoyable. It has also been a number of years since I read the third book, so my memory of much of the story was a bit sketchy.
The film was quite different in tone from the first two, and I really liked the elements of humour that the director and script writers had worked into the story. I also loved the slight skewing towards a more 'noir' look (like the old fashioned 'fade to black' scene transitions) and the addition of some slightly more surreal design elements, such as the huge swinging pendulum of the Hogwarts school clock.
I think the use of outdoor shots and outdoor sets for quite a few scenes also helped to ground some of the more fantastic elements. The quality of the special effects was excellent, in particular the CGI 'Buckbeak' hippogriff which was beautifully designed and animated. I was a little less impressed with Prof Lupin's 'werewolf' phase, but this was one minor quibble.
Oh, and possibly the best closing credits animated sequence. Ever.
All in all it made for a very enjoyable evening, despite the headcold. There was about 12 of us, and we started with dinner at the wonderfully named Golden Fang chinese restaurant. After the movie it was pouring with rain, and apparently we had missed quite an impressive electrical storm while we were in the cinema.
Shame really, a few lighting bolts and thunderclaps might have been appropriate.