However, I did get to see 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' with Liz and Jye yesterday, which was my favourite out of the films so far. So, if you're not interested in my take on the film (and don't want to risk being spoilered), then by all means do not read more.
I think the change of director was a fantastic move. The film was very much less a "child's" film and more a young-adult film. It was slicker, darker, and didn't hold your hand through out. In many ways it seemed less forced (although some of the scenes were obviously 'staged', without seeming part of the natural flow - Harry and Hermione at the womping willow, for example).
I also think that the new Dumbledore is much more faithful to the books (pardon my forgetting of actor names); especially in tCoS, the former Dumbledore actor seemed very, very unwell. To me, this is something that deeply affected my viewing of tCoS - as I knew the actor himself had died, I was not sure if it was him acting as a sickly old man, or if he was truly ill.
The bits they cut out anf the bits they left in were all interesting choices in my opinion. The explainations of 'Padfoot, Prongs etc.' would have been good, but more because I wanted a sense of entirety from the film. They were not really vital to the story, I suppose, and as Jye said, scenes explaining the significance of the names (and *why* Sirius became an animagus) would probably be in the directors cut on DVD. The lack of any great deal of Quidditch was, in my opinion, a good move, because while it is a nice back-drop it is not really all that important to the story.
Again, I suppose it is becoming more and more obvious that things will have to be cut out of the films for the sake of the story. I think they did a fairly good job with PoA, keeping the film to 134 minutes without cutting out too much or having too much exposition. But I'm not sure how they will do it in the future. Quidditch is a good pick for the first to go - except for in tGoF, where the World Championships are actually quite important to the rest of the story.
I'm not sure how they are going to manage to make a film for Goblet, because there is sooooo much that they really do need to keep in the film to have the story make sense. I suppose that they will have to gloss over the triwizarding tournament, which is a shame.
OotP will be fairly easy to condense, if they decide to make it into a film. I've always felt that it was more than a little bit padded out. I don't know what JK Rowling was thinking making the book that long (other than 'hehehehe! Look how rich I am!'). But it will be interesting to see if they are still making films out of the books by then, or if the cash-cow that is Harry Potter finally gives out.
I really enjoyed the PoA film, though, and I think I'd like to see it again.
All that stuff I came into work to do on the weekend seems to have been in vain - I'm pretty sure my chemostat is fucked.
And! Because I'm a nosey geek, here's some rumours and info on Harry Potter book 6 (and 7):