There's Something About Harry

I just love the first 'graph of this :)
Annette Sargent
"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."  -Robert A. Heinlein
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CT Movies
Biblical perspectives on contemporary cinema
Friday, November 18, 2005

 There's Something About Harry

Ifind it interesting that so many Christians are so ready to embrace a story—and a movie—that prominently features witchcraft, evil spells, dark deeds, and all sorts of creepy, practically demonic, creatures. Not to mention all that violence, bloodshed, and even death.

But enough about Narnia.

This week, our attention momentarily shifts away from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe—coming to theaters on Dec. 9—to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth of the seven-book series to hit the big screen. And, as always happens when the boy wizard is in the cultural limelight, many Christians are raising their voices to object.

Shortly after Russ Breimeier's commentary, "Redeeming Harry Potter," posted earlier this week, the e-mails started coming in.

"I was more than disappointed," wrote one reader. "How do you justify witchcraft? Fiction or nonfiction, witchcraft is witchcraft. Sin is sin. … In the last days, even the elect will be deceived."

Another wrote: "Because of your support of this article on Harry Potter and the magical arts, my family and I will no longer support your magazine or your website. I guess next you'll start endorsing homosexuality or perhaps bigamy?"


I've got no problem with Christians who don't like Harry Potter. And I've got no problem with Christians who do like him. I can see valid arguments both ways. But really, for Christians to completely slam one another over something like this, a fictional world of flight and fancy? (And no, we won't be "endorsing" homosexuality or bigamy—or harsh judgment of fellow believers, either.)

All that Russ's commentary did was to point out a number of redemptive themes—and there are plenty of them—that run through the Potter books. Is that an endorsement of the occult? Hardly. No more than applauding The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings, at any rate; both of those classics include witchcraft. Yes, the works by Lewis and Tolkien include more Christian symbolism and metaphors than those by Rowling, but all three series include "the magical arts."

Personally, I prefer Narnia and Middle Earth over Potterville. Not because I have anything against Harry and his world, but because I think Lewis and Tolkien were better writers, and that they concocted better myths and stories and imaginative landscapes along the way. But that's just my preference. I'm more than willing to admit that maybe there is something about Harry after all.

Anyway, be sure to check out our review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Our other new reviews this week include the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line, plus an interview with director James Mangold and co-stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. We also have new reviews of Christmas in the Clouds, a holiday romantic comedy with an all Native American cast; and Paradise Now, an intriguing look into the minds of two Palestinian suicide bombers.

Finally, check out our two latest Movie Discussion Guides on Chariots of Fire and Million Dollar Baby.

See you at the movies,
Mark Moring
Mark Moring
Online Managing Editor/Music & Film

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  New in Theaters

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire REVIEW
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The fourth installment of J.K. Rowling's series to hit the big screen—and the first to be rated PG-13—is more emotional, more intense, and darker than the previous three.

Rated PG-13
3.5 Stars

Walk the Line REVIEW
Walk the Line
Great casting, great music, great story. Johnny Cash wrestles with his demons, but ultimately comes around thanks to an angel named June. Get in line for Walk the Line.

Rated PG-13
3.5 Stars

Paradise Now REVIEW
Paradise Now
This powerful film takes a look inside the minds of two Palestinian suicide bombers, but doesn't delve too deeply into the broader political and religious climate surrounding them.

Rated PG-13
3.5 Stars

Christmas in the Clouds REVIEW
Christmas in the Clouds
An all-Native American cast engages in holiday mayhem in this film, billed as a classic screwball comedy. Alas, it's got a few too many loose screws to be considered a real keeper.

Rated PG
2 Stars

 New Discussion Guides of Fire: Racing Toward God
This study guide helps your group discuss some of the major themes of this tale about 1924 Olympic runners such as how people can glorify God and how God honors those who honor him. Dollar Baby: More Than a Boxing Movie
With this guide, take an in-depth at the movie's themes of finding meaning through talents, facing bitter trials, and learning to love others.

  New Articles

Redeeming Harry Potter COMMENTARY
Redeeming Harry Potter
The initial Christian outcry against the boy wizard seems to be dying down. Maybe that's because more and more of us are discovering multiple redemptive themes in the series.

The Man in Black INTERVIEW
The Man in Black
Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who play Johnny and June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, join director James Mangold to discuss the legend's life—and faith.

A Soaring Romance, a Flying House, a Derailed Marriage
Christian critics praise Pride & Prejudice, play Zathura, debunk Derailed, bicker with Bee Season, and bury Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Plus, more reviews of Good Night, and Good Luck and Jarhead.

King Kong: Now in Three Sizes!
Sneak peak of Peter Jackson's epic King Kong to appear on NBC, and a 3-D version could be in the works. Plus: more news on Narnia; Bob Saget spoofs March of the Penguins; Terminator heads to TV; and more.

I Am Sam: Friends Help Raise Daughter

Click here for a complete listing of our recent articles.

 Still Showing

Chicken Little REVIEW
Chicken Little
Walt Disney Pictures jumps into the 3-D fray with its first-ever computer-animated feature film—without the help of Pixar, the undisputed king of the genre. Did Disney chicken out? A little.

Rated G
2.5 Stars

Zathura REVIEW
Two kids, a board game that comes to life, and a potentially perilous adventure. Sound like Jumanji? Sort of, but this time the setting's in outer space instead of the jungle.

Rated PG
2.5 Stars

Derailed REVIEW
Ignoring the dramatic potential in solely dissecting the deception, aftermath and emotions of infidelity, this forgettable thriller instead relies on a convoluted story twist you can guess from the commercials.

Rated R
2 Stars

Click here for a listing of all the movies now showing in theaters.

 New on Video

DVD Roundup
The hills are alive and sweeping down the plain! The Sound of Music celebrates its 40th anniversary with an incredible double DVD, while Oklahoma! turns 50 with a far less impressive two-disc set. Plus, Madagascar, Stealth, The Skeleton Key, and more.

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