Powers of life

I took an instinctually opposing view to the seemingly prevalent Christian view on Harry Potter. Here’s my review of the first film which I think reflects a grind against the status quo. Of course I was emotionally right at the time, but whether I am or not, I located a common theme and an okay movie which some would say is positive.

The rub that Christians had against the film was it representation and depiction of ‘witchcraft’ but other Christians said the depiction of witches and wizards was sketchy and mechanical and could not be taken realistically.

However the strongest argument against Harry Potter was how children could take the magic in it. Adults may take it as sketchy, but do children have the ability to? To them, it may be fun-fantastical. But Christian were warning that witchcraft is not to be flirted with as it can lead to real life magic.

However, some children may not even be aware of the so-called magical inferences.

In sum, Christians with differing angles all came from a Christian basis. So, we had Christians with the same basis writing and speaking about the same movie from differing angles.

Here’s what I said. I took Harry Potter as fiction with all that entails and included my own Christian perspective on the theme of the film. This is different than approaching Harry Potter as film which is what those against the film did. They had a negative view of the film as a film. The view taken was obviously that magic is wrong for children and they should not engage the film.

As for me, I took the film without raising an issue of conscience for me individually. It was something to watch. I saw it as a story, as fiction, something with a theme. I didn’t take the magic in the film seriously.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Sorcerer’s Stone), Released November 16, 2001, is at least an entertaining introduction to the Harry Potter franchise. It always holds your interest.

(As you may or may not know) Harry Potter as a young child survived an attack on him by what they call the “bad wizard” Voldemort. In the attack, Harry’s mother and father died in the savagery.

From then on, Harry stays with his uncle and aunt and later attends the witches and wizards’ school, Hogwarts.

This ten-year-old is a celebrity at Hogwarts because of the attack he survived. Yet Voldemort may be attempting a comeback to finish what he started….

Even so, the first half brings us something like pleasantries for such a dark place in the cinematic milieu: the game of quidditch (a game for wizards).

Theme

When it comes to the magic content in Harry Potter, one may be put-off by the idea of it and wands and broom sticks and all that stuff and there is a sense that we are in whole other world here which may be akin to a cult. Not too good.

Themes can go wider than this, though. The philosopher’s stone (of the title) grants ‘immortality’–thus bringing up the theme of everlasting life. The question is raised: what would one do to live forever?

The someone looking for immortality may want to use the powers of life for his own selfish ends, and inevitably end up poorer for it. But what kind of act will lead to everlasting life? From a Christian perspective, one’s act of faith in Jesus Christ – ‘from the heart’ – leads to everlasting life. Not a poor theme.

Film

This Harry Potter chapter kicks in when something seemingly incidental happens. The story goes that someone at Hogwarts wants the philosopher’s stone but won’t know who wants it until the end.

As a film, this first entry in the Harry Potter franchise finely mounts the Hogwarts school which is a feat in production design and art direction. The music by John Williams fits the Harry Potter feel, perhaps on occasion overdone. The visual effects are outstanding and includes a life-size chess board, an invisibility cloak, a man-horse, and a three-headed dog, making these believable.

Young actor Daniel Radcliffe as Harry owns his role, making Harry seem life-like. Rupert Grint and Emma Watson playing Harry’s friends are believable and likeable.

Veteran actors Richard Harris and Maggie Smith are good as always, bringing presence and refinement, and Alan Rickman and Robbie Coltrane bring distinct personalities to their roles. The film rounds off with warmth to the conclusion and some wise words from Dumbledore.

I’m not into magic, witches, and wizards, but I didn’t want to be bogged down by such things when watching a film as a film and that is child-like in its application of story and has other qualities.

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