We had the opportunity to hear the score of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) played by the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap. The glorious music by John Williams is even more impressive with a full orchestra and choir behind the film. (Here's a sample of the song Double Trouble from the film itself). Added was a very enthusiastic audience, who showed their appreciation for the film - and for the orchestra. The crowd by and large stayed through the credits to listen to the NSO play the closing music.
Perhaps my favorite character in the Harry Potter novels is the most conflicted one - Severus Snape, as brilliantly portrayed by Alan Rickman. I'm not the only one - his first appearance was greeted by loud applause, as was his name on the credits at film's end. As with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, we still don't know why Snape is so disagreeable, but one scene towards the end is rather remarkable. Without injecting too many spoilers, our young heroes, Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) are in danger. Snape throws himself in front of the trio to protect them. Nothing is said, but it is a moment that foreshadows the future relationship of Harry and Snape.
This is Michael Gambon's first outing as Professor Dumbledore; he took on the role after the death of Richard Harris. Personally, I prefer Mr. Harris - he seems more like the rather whimsical Dumbledore of the books. But Mr. Gambon has a strength of character that makes you appreciate his role as Headmaster of the school. He is only in the film briefly, but he makes his presence felt.
Having seen the film several times, a new question arose about Aunt Petunia Dursley (Fiona Shaw). Given that she resents her late sister, Lily (Geraldine Somerville) and doesn't much like her nephew Harry, it's still hard to believe that she would allow her sister-in-law to call Lily a bitch with bad blood. At times, Petunia takes on the demeanor of an abused woman. She is so eager to please her rather nasty husband, that she allows all kinds of insults to be thrown in her direction. The scene ALMOST makes you feel sorry for her (almost).
I hope that we will be able to see more of these concert-driven films. In the meantime, I'll leave you with the film's trailer.