New director Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mamá Tambián) understands the dark, Roald Dahl-inspired humor of Rowling's work. Several of the cinematic sequences (such as the thrilling "Night Bus" ride) actually surpass Rowling's source material. Too bad the story is one of Rowling's least cinematic. It's basically a transitional tale, introducing a whole bunch of crucial characters, but not really doing much with them. 136 minutes PG-13.