Vatican gives Potter film four stars
Harry Potter, long the bane of fundamentalist Christians, has won a rave review from the Vatican.
L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, has given the new film “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” four stars for promoting “friendship, altruism, loyalty and self-giving,” Catholic News Service reoprts.
The review in Tuesday’s edition marks an about-face for the newspaper, which 18 months ago called the boy wizard “the wrong model of a hero,” and charged author J.K. Rowling with transmitting “a vision of the world and the human being full of deep mistakes and dangerous suggestions, even more seductive since it is mixed with half-truths and compelling storytelling.”
Pope Benedict XVI himself, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, warned of Potter’s “subtle seductions,” which he said “deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.
But the Vatican found much to appreciate in the sixth film in the series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” which is due to open worldwide on Wednesday. (Translation from the Italian courtesy of the Catholic News Service)
"Certainly, Rowling's vision lacks a reference to transcendence, to a providential design in which people live their personal histories and history itself takes shape," the paper said. Still, the film and the books make clear "the line of demarcation between one who does good and one who does evil, and it is not difficult for the reader or the viewer to identify with the first.
"This is particularly true in the latest film. They know that doing good is the right thing to do. And they also understand that sometimes this involves hard work and sacrifice."
L'Osservatore said the film is the best in the series yet.
"As the characters – now adolescents on the threshold of adulthood – have grown, the tone of the story has as well and the film benefits," it said.