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Empire's 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | The follow-ups that achieve greatness in their own right

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
DIRECTED BY ALFONSO CUARON
RELEASED: 2004

Why's it so good? Alfonso Cuaron took over from original director Christopher Columbus, and with the difficult task of world-building out of the way was able to take the story and run with it, making Potter feel like a real adventure story for the first time, and one taking place in somewhere bordering on the real world.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
How does it stack up to the original? It's better than the previous two, and remains many people's favourite entry in the series. Potter's relationship with godfather Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) is beautifully played out, and one of the great "Hell yeah!"s comes when Hermione punches Draco Malfoy. It's also the first of the films to use a rather wonderful washed-out colour scheme, and to revel in its darkness.

Glaring error: The production team used Loch Ness to double for Hogwarts Lake. What if they disturbed Nessie? What if he/she/it is visible somewhere in the film?


GAP BETWEEN SEQUEL AND ORIGINAL: 32 MONTHS


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