Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Director: Alfonso CuarĂ³n
Year Released: 2004
Rating: 1.5

Everyone jumped for joy when it was announced that Cuarón was taking over directing tasks for the Potter franchise but it still doesn't work out any better than when Columbus was in charge: I'd dare say that if you've seen one Potter movie you've seen the others, throwing in new teachers, new gadgets (both impossibly cheap: a time-reversal device and a map that shows where everyone is), a single bout of Quiddich (Harry loses!), similar dilemmas (bulbous and unpleasant adoptive parents, neo-fascist/upper-class Malfoy, Alan Rickman's elitist instructor) and Harry beaten to a pulp but still headstrong. The CGI is still so intense it takes away from the characters (that there's a Harry Potter video game is somewhat ironic) and there are few thrills in having the characters in any sort of danger, since nothing ever seems to get to them and where there's always some deus ex machina ready to save them. Having not bothered with Rowling's books, I can only ask: are they all so bloody similar?