Vatican paper finds good and bad in new Harry Potter movie
Vatican paper finds good and bad in new Harry Potter movie
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.- In an article entitled, “Magic is no longer a surprising trick,” the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano has reviewed the new film in the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” The paper finds that the movie's message is a mixed bag, with references to New Age spirituality and praiseworthy aspirations toward choosing the good.
On the eve of its worldwide July 15 release, the L'Osservatore article notes that “magic is no longer the surprising pastime that it was before.”  “It’s no longer about adventures for children or even for those gifted with exceptional powers. Now, as we saw in the previous episode, lives are really at risk and what is really in danger is huge: preventing the forces of darkness from gaining the upper hand.”
The article goes on to explain that “the psychology of the characters takes a more precise form.  In the fifth chapter, Harry went through a difficult period, tormented by his dreams and personal demons, by the memory of his parents murdered by Voldemort. And he was searching for answers.”
“Now,” it continued, “he seems to not need them.  Few questions are asked and he knows he has a task to complete. He trusts in Dumbledore, who doesn’t treat him as just a mere student but also as a friend. And he is aware that the world of magic, which he grew up with in the past, is not exempt from malice.”
The Vatican newspaper took issue with the new film's constant references to “new age spirituality,” which some have criticized for “instigating young people to flee from reality and instill in them the illusion that supernatural powers exist that they can control to please the world. “In summary,” the critics accuse, “it is mis-informative and even anti-Christian.”
The article’s author, Gaetano Vallini, said J.K. Rowling’s work “lacks a reference to the transcendent, to a providential design in which men live their personal stories and the story takes shape. Thus it is true that, in the classic mechanism of fables, the protagonist finds himself amidst experiences in which magic is almost always an instrument in the hands of evil.”
Vallini pointed out later that in this film “one cannot say that witchcraft—but in this case it would be better to speak of magic—is portrayed as a positive ideal. On the contrary, the line between those who do good and those who do evil is clearly drawn, and the reader or moviegoer identifies with the former.  In this latest film in particular, the distinction is a bit clearer. It is clear that doing good is the just thing and what should be done; and it is understood that this entails sacrifice.”
Vallini believes that one of the Rowling’s intentions is to unmask “the myth that reason can have an answer for everything,” although he notes that “a child or teen could come to different conclusions.”
“It is quite likely that after seeing or reading it, rather than the fascination with magic (which is only a pretext for animation), what remains are the scenes that summon values such as friendship, altruism, loyalty and the gift of one’s self.”

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