Thursday, February 10, 2011

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

On my way to reviewing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I, I'm reviewing all preceding Harry Potter movies. My review of Sorcerer's Stone can be found here, and Chamber of Secrets can be found here. Both movies easily passed the Reverse Bechdel, and the first failed the Original Bechdel, while the second passed. Now it's time to see how the third measures up. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in 2004, and was the sixth-highest domestic-grossing movie of the year. It brought in over $795 million, 9.5% less than Chamber of Secrets and 18.3% less than Sorcerer's Stone. It was also my personal introduction to the Harry Potter series.

The first man in the movie is Harry Potter, repeatedly chanting a light spell so that he can read a magic book in his dark bedroom. The first woman is Aunt Marge saying "Harry, Harry, open the door."

blug1.png blug2.png blug3.png In the first two minutes, Harry asks Uncle Vernon to sign a paper. Vernon asks what it is, and Harry says it's "school stuff." Vernon says he might sign it later, if Harry behaves. Harry says he will, "...if she does." Everything up until the last three words counts as "something besides a woman" and Harry and Vernon each have two lines, back and forth. Prisoner of Azkaban passes the Reverse Bechdel very quickly.

Harry also has male-to-male conversations with the triple-decker conductor, the Minister of Magic (partly about Aunt Marge, but also about Sirius Black and Harry's return to Hogwarts), Mr. Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Hagrid and Professor Lupin, among others. There are also quite a few male-to-male conversations that don't include Harry, including Professor Lupin and Neville.

pink1.png pink2.png The second woman is Aunt Petunia. Her first audible line occurs at the dinner table. Marge asks, "What is it the boy's father did, Petunia?" Petunia replies, "Nothing, he didn't work. He was unemployed." Marge says, "And a drunk too, no doubt." Harry interrupts at this point, but before Harry's interruption, the conversation does pass OB-2. Since it was about Harry's father, however, it does not pass OB-3.

Prior to arriving at Hogwarts, there are five female characters with lines: Petunia, Marge, the maid at the Leaky Cauldron, Hermione and Mrs. Weasley. Of these, only Hermione goes to Hogwarts, so I doubt the rest will be any help in passing OB-3. There seem to be a few girls in the Hogwarts choir, but they are only shown singing, not actually talking to anyone. Professor Trelawney is the second female character at Hogwarts, but she doesn't talk to Hermione. The same is true for McGonagall and the Fat Lady.

In Hogsmeade, Madame Rosmerta has a talk with Professor McGonagall about the Dementors. McGonagall explains that Dumbledore isn't happy about them either, and tells Rosmerta about Sirius Black's history with Voldemort, with Harry's parents, and with Peter Pettigrew. Cornelius Fudge is present (as well as Harry, beneath the invisibility cloak), but most of the conversation goes back and forth between McGonagall and Rosmerta, with more than enough back-and-forth to pass OB-2. However, since they are talking mostly about Black and Pettigrew, it does not pass OB-3.

pink3.png The second time we see Trelawney's Divination class, Trelawney and Hermione talk directly to each other. Trelawney sits at the table with Hermione, Harry and Ron, but the two boys don't say a word. Trelawney asks, "What do we have here?" (in the crystal ball). Hermione asks if she can try; Trelawney agrees, and Hermione without looking suggests the Grim, the mark of death seen earlier in the tea leaves and the clouds. Trelaney responds with a very eloquent insult, and Hermione storms out. It takes more than 76 minutes to get there, but Prisoner of Azkaban finally passes the Original Bechdel test.

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