Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
PG
Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: +1

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, David Thewlis, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright. Fantasy/adventure. Writen by Steve Kloves. Directed by David Yates.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In Part 2 of the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. It all ends here.

PREVIEW REVIEW: If I give this film a positive review, some will declare that I’ve gone over to the dark side. This reaction is understandable as there is the fear that young supporters of teen wizard Harry will be lured into experimenting with divination or sorcery. What’s more, there are verses in Scripture that warn us not to be associated with such dark arts. I wouldn’t entertain myself with an Ouija board or visit a psychic reader. Why open ourselves up to such a demonic playground. So I can understand those who feel we shouldn’t support the Harry Potter films.

That said, for me this is more a good vs. evil parable than a promoter of witchcraft. Its themes of friendship and sacrifice are glorified above acts of magic. So, I’m tempted to express a positive opinion concerning the latest and last edition of the Harry Potter saga.

The imagery, the style, the look and the atmosphere are beyond impressive, assuring the film of many technical and artistic award nominations come awards season. Seeking the response of Harry-o-philes who attended the press screening, I came to the conclusion that it was a satisfying adaptation of the final book. And I found the storyline, though somewhat mystifying, nonetheless engaging, more so than any other installment.

Still the film, like the rest in the series, will be most enjoyed by those who have read the books. The combination of unpronounceable names, lack of comprehensible exposition, and English accents mumbled by many of the cast make it difficult to follow, so those having read the novels are more likely to follow and appreciate the narrative drive.

Alas, I still have a check in my spirit about the whole Harry hysteria. When an author makes a billion dollars on only a few children’s books that have sorcery as their platform, and renown critics hail it as incredible filmmaking without examining its occultic roots, I question what’s really behind this phenom. Is it merely entertainment, or is there a dark spiritual source feeding and supporting it? I realize that may sound like a stretch, but often Satan is most alluring with a glossed-over package. Wouldn’t it be a shame if kids got hooked into witchcraft, while their folks simply thought of this film’s enticement as merely children’s fantasy?

As a film, Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is well structured and involving. The messages of loyalty and sacrifice are clear and potent, and the look is phenomenal. But I do not wish my positive comments to be looked upon as an endorsement. I am merely trying to be, if I may borrow an expression, fair and balanced.

As to the film’s witchcraft element, while disbelievers in the powers of the occult roll their eyes at any warning concerning children playing with ethereal matters they as yet do not comprehend, I would remind them that Wicca has become a fast-growing religion – a cult that denies the power of the Trinity. A secular worldview never considers demonic forces as a reality, let alone associates satanic misguiding with stores aimed at gullible children. How about you? It’s fairly easy to investigate biblical admonitions. I just hope you’re not too busy taking the little ones to the movies to research God’s Word.

PG-13 (the film mainly receives its rating for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images; there are several intense action sequences and many scary, sometimes demonic-looking images of ghosts and malevolent creatures).

I am recommending several video alternatives that might be of interest to members of your family. Check with your local Christian bookstore first. They may also have some interesting fantasy/fables.

For Little Ones…

Adventures From the Book Of Virtues (1996). Based on the best-selling book by William J. Bennett, this superbly animated series is filled with exciting adventures and inspiring messages for little ones. It has been designed to cultivate the best in human qualities: loyalty, courage, honesty, perseverance, self-discipline, respect, etc.

The Iron Giant (1999). Animated kids adventure from Warner Brothers. An imaginative little boy befriends a giant robot who doesn't seem to know how he came to be (something we never learn, although it appears in the beginning that he came from space). Highly entertaining, with humor aimed both at kids and adults. PG (5 or 6 mild expletives; at one point a military general says "sweet mother of God"; a deer is killed by hunters; some intensity as our heroes are in danger by a pursuing army, and a fired nuclear missile; the robot has been programmed to defend himself).

For Older Siblings…

Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997). Florence Hoath, Elizabeth Earl, Peter O'Toole. Paramount. Fantasy. Two young girls discover a village of fairies at the bottom of a garden. It contains a wonderful message about believing in things unseen. PG (one mild crude expression; concerns the belief in fairies and guardian angels).

Star Kid (1998). Joseph Mazzello. Trimark Pictures. Kid's Sci-Fi adventure. The new kid on the block is taught to face his fears, first by his teacher after the school bully picks on him, then by a space robot who comes to earth to do combat with an unfriendly alien. The mechanical being can only function with the aid of a life force inside him, so without much convincing, the boy climbs inside, causing innocent havoc in the neighborhood before facing the enemy from outer space. A fairly clean film with life lessons, humor and enough action to keep 8- to- 12-year-olds amused. I confess, I enjoyed it myself. PG (a few mild expletives, but no profanity other than a couple of "Oh my gods"; some mild bathroom humor; a bully threatens our young hero and even beats him up, but later they become friends; the older sister is rather hostile to her sibling, but again, when danger threatens, the family pulls together; the sci-fi violence is tame for older kids, but may be a little intense for little ones).

For the Teens and Up…

Cotton Patch Gospel (1988). This musical comedy/drama places the Gospel of Matthew in modern-day Georgia, with Jesus being born in Gainesville. Funny, moving, inspirational, with lively music by the late Harry Chapin. A great treatment of the New Testament, effective for both teens and adults. Bridgestone Production Group.

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Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Warner Bros.

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Sequences of fantasy violence
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Several intense action sequences and many scary, sometimes demonic-looking images of ghosts and malevolent creatures
Running Time: 130 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Up

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