Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

hp azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Rating: PG
Released: 2004
Run Time: 142 minutes
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

Cultural Rating: pawpaw

In addition to positive messages regarding friendship and teamwork, this film engages with gender by having strong male and female characters.

Summary

During his third year at Hogwarts, Harry comes face-to-face with infamous killer Sirius Black.


Ratings

Language: poopoo

  • Threatening and demeaning language- “lunatic,” “idiot,” “oaf,”
  • Mild swearing- “bitch,” “bloody hell”
  • “Racial” slur- mudblood

Violence: poopoo

  • Fantasy violence- spells, some blood
  • Malfoy is kicked by a hippogriff.
  • Kicking, hitting, punching
  • Ron’s leg is bitten by a dog- some blood.

Sex: 0 poo(s)

Drugs and Alcohol: poo

  • The Dursleys drink brandy at dinner.

Cultural Analysis

 

Pros:

Gender:

  • Hermione is a very active and intelligent feminine character. For example, she plays a crucial role in solving the mystery of Sirius Black and helping Harry.
  • Professor McGonagall is a strong, respected female character and holds a high position at Hogwarts.
  • Harry is the main hero in the film and does not conform to traditional gender roles regarding masculinity. For example, he is not one of the “cool kids,” he has glasses and messy hair and receives a lot of help from friends.

Race:

  • Minor characters appear to be of a number of marginalized races/ethnicities.

Sexual Orientation: N/A

Disability: N/A

Body:

  • Hagrid is half-giant and thus very tall and large-bodied. Hagrid is depicted as kind, caring, and helpful. This is important as the media often depicts people with large bodies as unintelligent and/or evil.
  • Harry Potter, the lead character in the film, has a lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead. Rather than constructing the scar as something that needs to be hidden or something that is ugly, Harry’s scar represents his parents’ love and Voldemort’s failure to kill Harry as a baby.

Cons:

Gender:

  • At one point in the film Snape is shown wearing feminine clothing, and it is considered comical. This is problematic because portrayals of cross-dressing in the media are usually depicted as comedic.

Race:

  • There are no major characters of color.

Sexual Orientation:

Disability:

  • There are no characters with visible disabilities.
  • Words such as “demented” and “lunatic” are used as insults.

Body:

  • Uncle Vernon, Aunt Marge, and Dudley are fat-bodied and are depicted as mean, gluttonous, and selfish. This adheres to the stereotypes surrounding fat bodies as the media often depicts people with fat bodies as lazy and/or mean.
  • Wormtail is grotesque (hairy, rat-like) and is depicted as evil. Oftentimes in the media grotesque bodies are used to indicate a person’s immoral character.
  • Tom, the man with a hunchback, is depicted as unintelligent.
  • Most bodies conform to body ideals.

Suggested talking points

  • A common theme in films is that a hero is male, muscular, and usually stereotypically attractive. It is important to discuss with your children that heroes come in all shapes and sizes (and genders).
  • At one point Dumbledore says, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Even when times seem tough, a positive attitude can help you endure and get through hard times.
  • Sometimes people with marginalized identities feel pressured to “pass” as a dominant identity. For example, being a werewolf in the Harry Potter world is considered shameful, so Remus Lupin tries to “pass” as a human in order to obtain a job and maintain the respect of others.

Image: Amazon.com

Keywords: Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Based off Books, harry potter, prisoner of azkaban, movie, review, two paws, 2 paws, gender,