Thursday, February 20, 2014

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban Special Effects

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban is a fantasy film that was released in 2004, and directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Taking into consideration that all of the Harry Potter films are fantasies, special effects are indispensable for the films’ success. Consequently, various uses of ethos, pathos and logos are seen through the numerous special effects in this film. 
The movie begins with a scene in which Harry is at his aunt and uncle’s house. In this scene, his uncle Vernon’s sister, Marge, has come over for dinner. She begins to criticize Harry’s parents, which drives him to blow her up like a balloon, and she ends up floating away from the house. The special effects used in this scene can be perceived as the utilization of pathos, ethos and logos. When Harry gets angry, the lights begin to flicker, which is an obvious use of pathos. The use of logos is evident in this scene because the special effects used to show Marge blown up like a balloon is something that can’t happen in real life, letting the audience know that this will be a fantasy film.  The use of ethos is also apparent by the special effects in this scene because the audience believes that Harry is the one who is actually using “magic” to make these things happen, which gives the entire film credibility. 

“Film artists interested in F/X materials need to be just as talented as artists in any other style or genre or technology. It’s what they do with the technology artistically that counts, not the technology per se.” (Giannetti, 35) Even though technology plays an essential role in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, its cast is in charge of making the technology used in the film credible. In the scene where Professor Lupin transforms into a werewolf, the actor had to act as if he was in pain, while the director managed to implement the special effects necessary to show how he transformed physically. The physical change of Professor Lupin when he was exposed to the moon was a clear use of logos and ethos. It was not only obvious to the audience that he was transforming into a werewolf, but it was also credible once he had completely transformed into one. The use of pathos could also be explicated in this scene by the portrayal of emotions that Professor Lupin had to undergo when transforming into a werewolf. The audience understood that the transformation not only caused him pain, but it was not something he could control, which could make the audience feel empathy towards the character.

The use of special effects in films has escalated throughout the years. Regardless of the multiple benefits that special effects may generate, it is important for directors to pick the right cast in order to acquire credibility from their audience. “Casting a movie is almost an art in itself. It requires an acute sensitivity to a player’s type, a convention inherited from the live theater. “ (Giannetti, 279)  I believe that Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban has done a great job balancing special effects with good acting, which enabled them to use these special effects effectively in the film. I did not only find the special effects enjoyable, but I also found them credible as well.  I give the special effects in this film five slurpies.

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