When Harry Met Sirius

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The supporting cast is still a bit too imposing for the material. If you could assemble some of Britain's most noted actors — Thewlis, Oldman, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Julie Christie, Emma Thompson, Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters — well, it probably wouldn't be for a kid-movie franchise. But these master thespians aren't slumming; they're vacationing. They all throw themselves into the serious fun of a grand game.

Now that an episode has been successfully entrusted to Cuaron, it's time for the Potter people to consider letting other world-class, slightly weird directors helm the last four films. How about Tim Burton (Sleepy Hogwarts), Ang Lee (Crouching Wizard, Hidden Snape), Pedro Almodovar (All About My Voldemort) and, for the wrenching finale, Mel Gibson (The Passion of the Quidditch)?

Actually, Mike Newell, of Four Wed-dings and a Funeral and Donnie Brasco fame, is set to direct the next one. But that doesn't arrive till November 2005. For now, enjoy the savory witches' brew that Cuaron has cooked up in his Harry pot. For on its own terms, this one is truly wizard.

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