Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Production Design

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Production Design

Fantasy Meets Reality

One of the best parts about being an actor has to be all the cool clothes and costumes you get to wear. Who wouldn't want to wear Hogwarts robes around every day? (If you really want to, what's stopping you? Let your Ravenclaw flag fly.)

But as cool as those robes, it would get old to wear them all the time. So the young actors of Prisoner of Azkaban were thrilled when Alfonso Cuarón allowed them to dress themselves. (Source)

Cuarón wanted to explore the more human sides of these magical characters, and getting them into their street clothes was the perfect way to show it on camera. Plus, seeing them dressed like us makes us identify with them even more.

In case all the talk about street clothes confused you, don't worry: we're still talking about a Harry Potter movie. It's a fantasy, with magical creatures that need to look sufficiently fantastic as well as believable. The crew created practical models of Buckbeak, trying to get his look right down to the feather. They combined these models with CG technology to create the living, breathing creature we see on screen. (Source)

Maybe the coolest effects in the film belong to the scariest creatures. No, not Snape and his hissy fits, but the Dementors. To get the creepy, swirly look of their black cloaks, the crew experimented with underwater puppets to get the proper movement of their tattered garments. (Source)

As if we weren't already scared enough of going in the water, we have to add Dementors to our list of underwater fears, which already includes Jaws, Ursula from the Little Mermaid, and the Snorks. (We'd rather take our chances with Dementors.)

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