Today’s Prayer Focus

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for frightening moments, creature violence and mild language.

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray

Moral Rating: Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Teens Family
Genre: Action Adventure Fantasy
Length: 2 hr. 19 min.
Year of Release: 2004
USA Release: June 4, 2004 (wide)
Copyright, Warner Brothers
Copyright, Warner Brothers Copyright, Warner Brothers Copyright, Warner Brothers Copyright, Warner Brothers Copyright, Warner Brothers Copyright, Warner Brothers
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Brothers

Harry PotterIs Harry Potter Harmless? Answer

What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged video review

Featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis
Director Alfonso Cuaron
Producer David Heyman
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures. Trademark logo.
Warner Bros. Pictures
, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

“Something wicked this way comes.”

Christian parents everywhere have been up in arms over the Harry Potter series and for good reason. Deuteronomy 18:10-14 is the banner under which all reasoning behind the obvious nervous reaction to these books and subsequent movies wave. We, as God fearing, loving parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and all, have been running fitfully in front of J. K. Rowling, and whatever she may have to dish out next, protecting our children. With just cause, we are appalled by her relentless and eerily accurate depictions of witchcraft, spells and dark arts. She is declaring to our youngsters that this is merely harmless fantasy, when in stark reality witchcraft is a sin and no one will go blameless before the Lord who practices it. It is only just and right that we have the righteous urge to shield our children from practicing such acts and are worried they will become involved in things that God strictly forbids.

Yet, I make this series on film a must see for parents and any adult who has charge over the spiritual well being of children they love and wish to instruct in God’s laws about occultic practices and reliance on astrology instead of God for decision making! Do not let there be any misunderstandings between what the world says is good and evil, and what God declares is good and evil!

In this third installment Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) has been growing up, and with his physical growth he has also found his voice. Standing on the brink of adult thoughts and feelings, he musters up the courage to denounce the horrible treatment of his adoptive family and runs away. He is then picked up and whisked away on the enchanted Knight Bus “for stranded witches and wizards” and dropped off at The Leaky Cauldron pub where Harry is informed he must stay in order to be safe.

This beginning is not much different than many fairy tales we all grew up with. All kids on the brink of their teen years long to be free and be the one in power instead of their parents or teachers. It is how we use this fledgling power to be in control that makes all the difference.

And so, Harry returns to Hogwarts for his third year (like being a sophomore in high school) and is reunited with his friends Ron (a sweet and slightly goofy Rupert Grint), and Hermione (ever brave, ever studious Emma Watson), along with the familiar faculty. Immediately, the excitement begins as new creatures and a brand new adventure ensues.

I like the characters for what they are. They depict loyalty, friendship and sacrifice. It is the story in which these characters dwell that has stirred up such turmoil. The “Prisoner of Azkaban” is darker and more grown up. All the characters in this continuing saga must grow up eventually, as we all do. This story brings those involved, along with Harry and the other well known characters, to the different paths they must choose, up to the next level on the road of life.

Hagrid (gentle giant Robbie Coltrane) has been given the new position of Care of Magical Creatures teacher. Professor Snape (still a wonderful, menacing Alan Rickman), although a seeming foe, is always there, and seems to be defending Harry, yet not willing to admit he’s a good guy. I must say here, that Richard Harris will be missed as Professor Dumbeldore (a great actor, Richard Harris will be fondly remembered), although Michael Gambon gives the part his best shot, he is not as understanding, strong and wise as the late Mr. Harris.

There’s a new professor of divination (i.e., fortune-telling), Professor Trelawny (a very quirky “steal-the-show” performance by Emma Thompson). Lastly, a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Lupin (a bittersweet David Thewlis) befriends Harry, and they share a very believable, encouraging relationship, holding each other up in perilous times. Professor Lupin was a best friend of Harry’s mom and dad and warms Harry’s heart with remembrances of them. Families can use these poignant scenes to discuss when and just why self-reliance is good when life turns ugly—then support the need for Christians to turn to GOD when the chips are down.

Along the way we learn that a renegade wizard, Sirius Black (not a rich enough character for Gary Oldman to play, he needed to be more developed) has escaped from Azkaban prison and is after Harry! Yikes! The legend has it that Black was the person who turned against Harry’s parents and was not just their saboteur, but also their killer. Now he is searching for Harry, and all believe it is to do him in as well!

Harry and his friends go through many mysterious plot twists and turns. Some of the time-warp tricks were wonderful for the older audience, but may puzzle younger viewers. The plot whisks us along through to the end and may leave most of us wondering how we got to the end so quickly. The introduction of Sirius Black (near the end) is almost a throw away and a bit of a let down as a true villain. I won’t get into too much detail for fear of ruining the ending for the viewer.

There is some drinking and some bad language. The character of Ron uses a pet expression, “bloody h*ll” three times. The “D” word is said in the phrase, “shut the d*mn—door!” That’s all the swearing used outright, but there are references parents should be tuned to, such as when Malfoy uses the derogatory racial slur “mudblood” and when Harry’s Aunt uses “b*tch.”

Azkaban adds to it’s list of creatures the inhuman evil Dementors who suck the life or “soul” essence from their subjects. There are also Boggarts—creatures that take on the form of their victims worst fears and turn on them (the only way to disway them is to “think” them into the silliest form you can. One girl turned her cobra into a jack-in-the-box, etc. There are several scenes with very scary werewolves and a very threatening black dog with menacing green eyes who pulls poor Ron into a dark cave under a living, killer willow tree that attempts to pound Harry and friends into the ground. There are two scenes with bloodied characters. Another scene, although viewed from afar, shows a black-hooded executioner beheading a chained creature with a huge axe.

Among others, there is a terrifying scene where a character turns into a werewolf (I was scared to watch it myself, and I can sit through “scary” with the best of 'em). So DO NOT let small children watch this AT ALL! It would be best to rent the first two and let children between 10 and 13 see them feeling safe at home with you, stopping along the story to discuss and answer questions. My advice is to use scripture and sound Biblical answers as you go. My bottom line is: all three of these films are NOT FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 10!

My main concern is how much more foreboding and murky this installment is. The first two (under director Chris Columbus' colorful designs and meticulous attention to detail) are at the least almost innocent compared with this one directed by Alfonso Cuaron. If you had let your fourth grader see the first two, he is probably older now and more able to take the third story’s darker images and more adult elements.

J.K. Rowling said herself that “…a child who escapes from the confines of the adult world and goes somewhere where he has power” is very appealing. This theme has been repeatedly a favorite storyline for the young throughout children’s literature. Note “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Rescuers,” “Snow White,” “Mary Poppins,” and so forth. All of these stories include some form of magic and thrilling adventures, not unlike Harry Potter.

It is not so much of what the story is about, but what it teaches young people about how to deal with good and evil. I believe that what Christian parents fear the most is the confusing messages that the Potter series brings to impressionable youth. Couple this with the other mixed messages confronting them in today’s world, and it leaves parents with yet another war to fight in an already overwhelming struggle to not only teach their kids what’s right, but shield them from what’s evil.

I suggest that anyone worried about the dangers of what our kids are being exposed to in film today (especially Harry Potter books and movies) view Caryl Matrisciana’s hour-long documentary video “Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged” for an honest look at children’s modern day fantasy reading.

J.K. Rowling is wonderful at taking us all on a ride through a thrilling fantasy world. The film series takes it a step further and makes it all visually rich and real. It is unfortunate, therefore, that she has chosen mythology and dark occultic practices as Harry’s “savior” instead of a better spiritual goodness. This is the inherent difference between the characters of Harry Potter and say Dorothy Gale. Harry has learned to rely upon the magic of wizardry as his ultimate good—which is actually void of goodness. Dorothy ultimately learns that the “Wizard of Oz” is a fake, and his so called power is fictitious and of no reliable good.

This is the difference between Harry and all these other fairy tale films and children’s fantasy literature of the past generation: we inherently recognize the good vs. evil elements, and they should be clearly and definitely portrayed. Evil is therefore positively evil, and Good is positively good. These elements should be uncompromisingly clear to our children.

Discuss King Saul and the price he paid for his disobedience to the Lord’s command not to seek council from a witch, but to seek council always from God. King Nebuchadnezzar sought council from his court magicians as did Pharaoh when confronted by Moses. Explain how these stories display what a dangerous mix evil and Satan really are. Ultimately King Saul, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and yes, Harry Potter are breaking God’s very first Commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me!”

I asked some movie goers coming out of the theater NOT the question, “How’d you like the movie?,” but “What did Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban say to your heart?” Here are some replies:

“There is a spirit of terrible evil all around us. You can’t overcome it through magic. Magic is just fictitious stuff, but evil is not fictitious—it’s real! So, the use of wizardry in place of GOD is not stable. You will loose without God.”

“Harry is having a hard time facing the world, so he uses magic in place of GOD. It is a vacant hope and you will lose without JESUS.”

“I saw the use of new-age mysticisms with all that stuff about not being able to face the world without good thoughts. Use your best memories to get around problems. instead of turning to GOD for real help.”

They all liked the movie, but most had a problem with this element of the story. At the end, Harry was still “lost” with no concrete answers. I found that very sad.

We are all on a journey. Our course is set early on. It is important that the course for young kids start out with how to walk with God. It is not enough to know just the “basics”—like the effort put forth in schools today with “credibility counts.” Although a noble pursuit, it lacks spiritual training, and that is where we come in at home and church. Kids must be shown that it is not merely being a “good person” (as Harry and his friends and teachers are presented to be) that will get you your reward, but that we all must go beyond that to gain our true “Kingdom reward.”

Kids must know we all have gifts given from God, not spells and incantations conjured up from potions and “happy thoughts.” We have gifts that are placed in us from God that can never be removed—like integrity, righteousness and forgiveness.

Share and teach God’s strict warning about the price a person pays for seeking council from a medium or a spiritist. Let your children know that God loves them and has not appointed such practices for them. Show them the fullness and strength they can have by walking with God and the hollow pitfalls experienced by those who use divinations.

Use Harry Potter as a tool. By making a fuss and keeping your kids from seeing or reading these stories you may only make these stories more enticing and your kids may steal away to read or watch because of your insistence not to. Instead be with them, equip them to understand what it is they are seeing. Ultimately make it perfectly clear that what they are reading and seeing is not real and is instead an adventure for a young man in a strictly fantasy world. Compare Harry Potter with other children’s fantasy stories and fairy tales. By lumping Harry Potter with the rest, he will disappear into the maze of other fantasy stories and will blend with the palate of childhood fantasy like… magic…

We’re each a work in progress. As human beings, we are designed to lead a life walking close with God. It is in our nature to seek a transformation especially as a youth. This transformation is not found in magic, but is truly found in transforming ourselves into the likeness of Christ Jesus.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

Harry Potter series reviews

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001)
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (2002)
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004)
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005)
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (2009)
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” (2010)
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” (2011)

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—As the mother of two daughters (teen and preteen) and a former witch, I have read the Harry Potter books and watched the movies with my children. I do not believe that these books lure children to interest to the occult, any more than other fantasy and magical stories do. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the book installments as well as the movies.

Prisoner of Azkaban is an exceptional movie with real cinematic quality, and is the first of the three movies to not be tied so literally to the books, but truly keeping the spirit and intention of the story intact. I do agree, that some elements needed to be explained in a clearer manner and might be confusing for viewers who haven’t read the book.

This movie is definitely darker in tone and aspect than the other two, and is for older children, teens and adults, but that is also the way the books have been written… they have matured with the characters. I think it honestly reflects the struggles that many teenagers face in a world of conflicting images and ideas. The general message of this movie is one of love, friendship, family, and justice over vengeance. I think it can be a great starting point for discussions with our children to draw them closer to God.

The magic in this movie is based on a fantastical world of mechanical magic… it is not truly based in the occult as we know it today, or as it is practiced by nature based pagan religions such as Wicca. The only exception to that would be the divination class… and I would strongly advise parents to help children understand the dangers of this and all other occult practices and God’s prohibition against it.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
Kristine, age 39
Positive—Those who think Harry Potter is evil will continue to think so after seeing the trailers (obviously, they aren’t the ones going to see it). But for book fans, this movie is fantastic. There are some disappointing elements (namely missing pieces of information, such as the origins of the Marauder’s Map, the history of mischief between the Marauders, and Lupin’s medicine) but overall the film is fast-paced, exciting, hilarious, and just what we’ve been waiting for. There is some mild language and intense, dark elements, so beware of taking very small children. There are some excellent passages right out of the book concerning responsibility, forgiveness, and choosing justice over revenge. It’s fantastic!
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
Positive—This is actually a pretty good movie, even from a Christian perspective. There are positive messages about love, family, and mercy. There is a very mild amount of language (3 or 4 mild cuss words). There is some violence, but nothing graphic. Divination and magic are taught, but only in a fantasy type way. The movie isn’t endorsing witchcraft. I would recommend it for older children, teens, and discerning adults.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
Steve Allaby, age 24
Positive—The Prisoner of Azkaban could possibly be the best Harry Potter film yet. The story is very well told, the visuals are amazing, the acting is great, and the lessons learned are good as well. It is, however, the darkest of the three and contains scenes that might frighten younger viewers. I would urge parents to use EXTREME caution in letting their younger children watch the movie. The language is mild with one use of a term meaning “female dog” (which was, in fact, used in reference to a female dog) and of course Ron’s catch phrase “bloody hell.”

As far as the occult goes, I find nothing of real concern in these movies. They are purely fiction. If they weren’t, we’d have children flying around on brooms and turning their teachers into toads. This movie in no way promotes the use of witchcraft or black magic. I mean, The Lord of the Rings had magic and sorcery all throughout and nobody said much about that. Why is Harry Potter any different?

Still, if you allow your children to see these movies, it might be wise to sit with them and discuss some of the themes in the movies. I know when I was a child, if my parents refused to let me see a movie, I found a way somehow to see it. So, if you have concerns about the film, I think it’d be better to view the movie with the child and be there to discuss it with them, rather than dismissing the film as evil and forbidden. Just a personal thought. At any rate, I highly recommend this film especially if you’re the type that enjoys fantasy and brilliantly visual films.
My Ratings: [Average/5]
Jon Derk, age 23
Positive—Stylistically different from the first 2 movies. But that’s to be expected from a different director. Richard Harris who played Headmaster Professor Albus Dumbledor died before production began and his character had to be recast. His replacement—Michael Gambon—did a superb job. Be warned! This movie is MUCH darker than the first 2.

If you’re already not a fan of the HP series due to moral reasons, then this film will not make you change your mind. All I can say is that the magic used in the series is all from a fantastical point of view and cannot be compared to real witchcraft (which I do oppose). The spell and incantations are all spoken in a pseudo-Latin made up language (“Oculos Repairo” will fix a broken pair of eyeglasses.)

Real witches do not wave magic wands and they do not fly on broomsticks. And they certainly do not attend 7-year boarding schools hidden away somewhere. The things that might be seen as offensive is in the beginning, Harry’s Aunt Marge (a non-magical person called a “Muggle”) refers to Harry’s dead mother, comparing her to a female dog.

There were evil creatures called Dementors who act as guards at the Wizard prison known as Azkaban. They slightly resembled the Ring-wraiths from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They have the power to suck a person’s soul through their mouths by means of a “kiss.” There is a scene of a man transforming into a werewolf. These two things might find younger viewers cowering under the seat or having nightmares later. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and I thought it stayed pretty close to the book. It has a running time of approx. 2½ hours and will keep you on the edge of your seat…
My Ratings: [Better than Average/2]
Pete in Buffalo, age 25
Positive—…was surprised by the amount of time they really focused on childhood angst, controlling anger, self realization, mercy. Yes, the witchcraft factor is there. Luckily those who are grounded enough in life even my children will truly enjoy this movie…
My Ratings: [Good/5]
Patrick, age 32
Positive—…quite good. I’m sure a lot of Christians are worried that the series glorifies the occult, but I seriously don’t think it does… Witchcraft, as portrayed in the Harry Potter series, is closer to fairy tale stories than to what real witchcraft is probably like. As long as parents explain to their children that REAL witchcraft is dangerous and Satanic, no problem can arise. I’d say, if parents are really concerned about keeping their children away from the occult, a far more dangerous influence would be the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Even though the series ended, they still show reruns of it on several stations, and that show’s portrayal of Wicca seemed to be pretty close to what it is probably really like. THAT’s a show that can definitely be a negative influence on children.

…I would advise parents not to let REALLY young children see it, but that’s just because certain parts of it might be too scary for them (Such as the downright creepy dementors). Other than that, though, it’s fine. The kids who play Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all getting better and better with each movie. Michael Gambon, while not quite as good as the late Richard Harris, still does a very nice job as the wise, caring Albus Dumbledore. The other adult actors (Especially Robbie Coltrane and Gary Oldman) are great!

The movie does have some good moral values. For instance, in the film’s climax, Harry shows compassion by sparing the life of a certain character who deserved death, because he knew that letting that individual die would not be the right thing to do. Other morals presented include: Being loyal to one’s friends, not judging things by their appearance, and the scene with the boggart teaches children to face their fears rather than running from them. Basically, just open your minds, and you’ll be able to enjoy a great summer movie!
My Ratings: [Average/4½]
Adam, age 20
Positive—This movie is superb and by FAR the best of the series. An Oscar for visual effects and set design are already in the bag. As for the whole occult thing, I honestly just don’t get it. Do you really think our children are so stupid that they can’t distinguish fantasy from reality? My brother was OBSESSED with Superman when he was young but he didn’t grow up and jump off tall buildings wearing a red cape. Honestly, the books and movies are just fantasy. My kids have shown absolutely no interest whatsoever in becoming Wicca or practicing the occult. And don’t tell me that you never escaped to your own fantasy world when you were a kid.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
Wuchen Li, age 35
Positive—…I have read all the books, and now seen all the movies, and do not see how anyone can argue that they are more harmful or evil than the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Both series are fantasy based, and while one was written by a Christian, that does not make them less “dark” than the Potter series.

In fact, I would venture to say they are far more dark. It seems to me that a lot of the people raising issue with these films are people who have never read a page of Potter, or seen a minute of him on screen, and taken what they have heard from others and run with it.

Potter should by no means be seen by younger children, just like you wouldn’t show them The Wizard of Oz. But once they reach an age of being able to discern fantasy and reality, Harry Potter should not be able to affect them in any way. As for the movie itself, it isn’t the best in the series (which the second is, in my opinion), but it is still a visual treat for movie fans. The acting is better this time around, and Michael Gambon slips right into the role of the Headmaster Dumbledore with surprising ease.
My Ratings: [Average/4½]
Positive—Like the first two movies, this movie also contains no real witchcraft (according to a friend who is a member of the church of wicca and a vigorous opponent of Harry Potter). The change of directors from the first two movies fortunately did not remove Christian teaching and principles from this movie; this one is primarily concerned with the concept of salvation: (“if you want to defeat evil, turn on the light”—Dumbledore to Harry).

***SPOILER ALERT*** The central character, Sirius Black, actually turns out to be an innocent victim, framed by the real culprit. Nevertheless, the penalty for his crime was to lose his soul to the “dementors” (demons), and Harry once again is cast as the “savior”—a continuation of the comparisons to the person of Jesus Christ from the first two movies: the whole world will know his (Harry’s) name / reference to prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah; The evil Vuldamort tried to kill Harry as a baby / Herod tried to kill Jesus as a baby; Vuldamort left a mark on Harry / Satan left a mark on Jesus at the crucifixion, etc.

In this case, Harry was able to defeat the demons through the power of his spell “expecto Patromum” (expect The Rock)—clearly invoking the power of God to defeat demons. The first movie is still the best in portraying Christian principles, with its splendid portrayal of “greater love has no man than to give his life for his friends,” but this theme is repeated in Prisoner of Azkaban when Hermione and Harry risk death to save Ron at the “whomping willow.” All in all, a good witnessing tool—I would take a non-believer to Azkaban first, then show “Chamber of Secrets” and “Sorcerer’s Stone” (reverse order)…
My Ratings: [Good/5]
Bruce Carter, age 49
Positive—I would just like to comment on the reviewers comparison of “The Wizard of Oz” with the “Harry Potter” series. In the film version, as the reviewer points out, the “Wizard of Oz” was found to be a fake, and the Dorothy’s whole experience an apparent dream. In the book this was not the case. The film version of The Wizard of Oz departs drastically from the original material. In the book, the wizard was real, there were no magic slippers, and Dorothy and her companions were actually helped by the wizard’s power.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
Tim Blaisdell, age 40
Positive—I attend a very conservative Bible college that does not allow us to see movies except on breaks. I was excited that this movie was being released over summer break. Needless to say when the books were released there was a good deal of controversy surrounding the subject. The movies are good, a bit scary, and I wouldn’t take younger kids to see them, but I enjoyed them, and I am sure kids would as well.

There was a couple instances of mild language that caught me off guard (I think it’s a British thing though), but the spells and magic are harmless. I am currently studying latin, and recognized that the magic “incantations” used in the movies and the books are simply latin roots for the words describing the action of the spell. Latin is a fitting language for the incantations, it sounds magical.

I think if you have a problem with the movie, or any movie for that matter you should simply get up and leave, or press stop. The objections against Harry Potter are well mean ing, but sometimes misapplied. It is not a sin to see these movies, nor to read these books, but if you feel convicted about them, you need to address that conviction and not see them (nor read them).
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
Victor, age 21
Positive—As an educated,(hopefully) somewhat intelligent Christian man, I am a bit bothered by the apparent outrage that this series has conjured up among Christians. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if you haven’t seen the movies or read the books (as I have), what basis do you really have to knock the series?

Now, that said, it is important to protect children, but please, let’s give them a little more credit than we see, to give them. As adults, we realize that Harry Potter and his magical abilities are obviously a literary invention designed to entertain. How many kids, especially older kids, do you think honestly will believe in the power of literal witchcraft after seeing the movies? Very, very, very few, if any.

Personally, I have a younger sister and cousins (whose father is a pastor, consequently) and I know many Christian kids, all of whom have absolutely no different feeling on the films than those of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or any other children’s movie for that matter. Why weren’t parents concerned to shield their kids from Peter Pan and his magical powers? You have to wonder. Evil repackaged? Ignorance regurgitated.

This is a good film, by the way, see it as a family if you like, discuss it and the positive lessons that it reinforces.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
Doug Coleman, age 21
Positive—The third installment of the beloved franchise has some false religious elements (woman teaches “divination” class but the kids seem to be so bored with the class and later call it “rubbish”), but other than that, the entire thing is 100% fantasy and fiction. If you’re paranoid because you think werewolves, flying buckbeaks, and goofy Latin-British words being shouted to release green light from sticks are going to pull you away from God’s Holy Word, just take a deep breath and realize there’s nothing in there that’s a direct attack on the Bible.

The Harry Potter movies are not “Christian movies”, just like “The Lord of the Rings” movies aren’t “Christian movies”, but both authors believed in God and decided to add a hint of biblical messages into their (otherwise fictional) story.See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Tommy, age 21 (USA)
Neutral—The overall dark thematic element (of the film) and the mild cussing were the two turnoffs of this film. Otherwise, I don’t see any harm in it. It doesn’t have anything to do with Wicca (and I have read up on it) and it looks okay for pre-teens and teenagers. I would not take anyone under 10 to see this film, though.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
Shannon, age 22
Negative—A warning… My experience comes from being an ex Wizard/warlock/satanist myself and now serving the Lord without any spells or so called magic. Witchcraft is very real, and anything that points to witchcraft being good or acceptable is against the Bible. Call me a conservative if you must, but consider the biblical mandate to stray away from any appearance of evil, and the many passages in the Old Testament referring to sorcery.

We are expressly commanded to not be involved in such things. I’ve never seen Harry Potter, nor will I ever. God’s word and call is much too important to take this movie lightly. Harry Potter is a definite attempt to charm our children into things they don’t understand and will trap and in a world where God is everything and everyone, including themselves. BEWARE! SATAN COMES AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT! Any comments or questions can be emailed to me at
Michael A. Porter, age 36
Negative—Think twice before seeing this movie. I am speaking as one who has read the first Harry Potter book and now has seen this third movie… This movie is not harmless—especially to kids and young people.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
Eric, age 39
Negative(from a commentor who has not viewed the film)—I am appalled! Witchcraft in any form is found evil in God’s Eyes! When I was in school several years ago my teacher decided she wanted to read a HP book to us.

As she read I felt a strong sense of evil flow through the room, and I was compelled to pray not only for myself but for my peers as well. I told the teacher I was not willing to listen to such books and said I was going to stand outside. Satan has done a wonderful job presenting himself as innocent fun entertainment through these books.

Witchcraft is classified under the occultic section everywhere but did you know the definition of the word “occult” is: to be done in the dark and to be hidden. God does not do things in the dark and does not live in the dark.

Satan is Real and HE DOES DEAL IN THE DARK! Through Satan witchcraft is Real! If Satan can perform “miracles” in the guise of light what makes you think he can’t stick his hand in a thriving occultic practice and show wondrous sights and perform things to be believed as only good? This movie/book deals with the core evil of witchcraft but veils it with frilly subjects such as love, trust, and companionship. Satan has and will continue to show himself in this manner of “good entertainment” and “no ill will with witchcraft” but remember he is still behind it nonetheless. I implore you to turn from Satan’s lies.

Remember before you just dismiss my comments the only good way to see if I speak the truth is to check with God and his word. I encourage you to do so for God say to do it. I am very frightened by how easily the devil is weaving his way into society with only this one outlet. Please call upon God for his opinion on this before subjecting yourself to these occultic and even blasphemous (I am not referring to language but to the underlining themes) movies and books at times.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/4]
Concerned beyond belief
Negative—I must admit that I am disturbed to be finding so many positive comments about this film on a Christian Web site. Although I have not seen any of the Harry Potter films, I have seen the trailers and they are quite enough for me.

The positive comments seem to be focusing on the themes of love, family, and camaraderie that are present in the series. Can we really make the argument that these are the most important features of Harry Potter? Isn’t it true that without witchcraft and humanistic, godless magic, Harry Potter would be nothing? Please, steer clear of this corruption and watch some other movies that emphasize love and family without including Satanic influences. They’re out there!
My Ratings: [Offensive]
Lance Bastian, age 21
Negative—After reading the submitted comments regarding this movie I am only slightly surprised. From the submissions I can only conclude what I have feared regarding the state of the church in America, that it is fat lazy and completely enamored with entertainment. I marvel how blatantly we justify our slothfulness, the Bible is clear regarding divination, fleeing the appearance of evil and the reliance on Him as the answer to all our needs.

This story may have elements of positive friendships but the Bible says the Lord is a friend that is even closer than a brother. In a word the average American christian is compromising in almost every aspect of life, benefactors of political correctness and diversity. I saw the first two movies out of curiosity and to consider if they could be “teaching” tools.

My compromise. I will not see this movie as I believe it is an example in the continuing assault by the adversary, who seeks whom he may devour, to cloud issues of right and wrong through movies like this. There is no gray in the Christian walk. He is called the deceiver for a reason.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1]
Bruce Herberger
Negative—As an English teacher, I have been forced to teach on the first few films of the HP series. The first movie I previewed actually made me feel quite sick. There was a certain spirit about the film, one that was indescribable. This is out of character for me as I rarely suffer from great fear, even in the face of some real demonic experiences i’ve had. The bible claims that Satan can appear as an angel of light. He is indeed a deceiver, and the way that the students react and talk about the movie scares me. I have even heard of students who want to try out the spells used in the film.

This movie is a subtle introduction into the realms of witchcraft and the demonic.

Witchcraft is a practice that is fast becoming an accepted religion in our society. The status of witchcraft is changing and being seen by many as good such as in the case of a white witch. In the garden of Eden, Satan made the fruit appealing to Eve, he manipulated and soothed her into a mindset of compromise, and she trusted him. Do not trust these stories.

For those of you comparing the story, or any characters with Jesus or any biblical account, God commands us not to use his name in vain, that is do not use his name to justify your own viewpoint, sin or lack of conviction. I recently presented to a group of my peers, some ways in which I could present “The Passion” to Senior students and use it to fulfill the requirements of the syllabus.

I was told that the movie was extremely offensive, and I was being insensitive and should’nt drag my beliefs into the classroom. It seemed to be okay for them to force myself and the students to study HP which is also a highly controversial film but not The Passion that teaches about real sacrifice and real love. Satan is using the school system to decay christian morals and to make compromise look innocent.

I am begging parents to be open-minded, take a stand and reject compromise. This movie is offensive to the gospel and parents need to stop it from being studied in schools.
James, age 23
Comments from young people
Positive—I have seen all three Harry Potter movies now as well as read all five books. I personally see nothing extremely harmful in these fun fantasy adventures. I personally enjoyed this third installment better than the other two simply because it seemed to focus more on character development and less on special effects, although when there was any, they were exceptional, especially the Hippogriff (half bird, half horse).

Be warned though, the Prisoner of Azkaban is the scariest of all three and I do not recommend it for anyone under 13. The Dementors were positively terrifying and the werewolf was scary as well. The talking heads were just plain creepy. But in general, the movie is fun and entertaining with good morals about friendship, self-sacrifice, and other things. So, for teens and adults with discerning hearts, I recommend this movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
Neutral—I find it interesting that five of the six negative comments received are from people who have NOT viewed the movie. All of the other responses are positive and from people who did see the movie. Doesn’t this say something?? People, don’t talk about something you don’t know anything about. You may say “oh I know its about witchcraft and that’s good enough for me” but you really don’t have a very clear picture.

It’s called fantasy, and it’s harmless. There’s nothing actually serious in these books or movies. They’re simply fictional, fantastical, stories. I did watch the movie and thought it was decently made. The book was far more entertaining, but the movie had some moments. I wouldn’t care if I saw it again. I wouldn’t bother seeing it in theatre. There’s much better movies these days to go and see.
My Ratings: [Good/3½]
Jeremy Williams, age 17
Neutral—…What kind of message does witchcraft and the occult send us? Certainly, it is not a good one. Please, take your kids to see a cartoon movie like the Garfield movie, spare them the witchcraft! God is the only power we need, and having witches and magic spells does not help kids in believing that God is all powerful.
Mariette, age 14
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie! I would recommend this to everyone!
My Ratings: [Good/4]
Lindsay, age 12
Positive—This is a work of fantasy. Nothing in it should be taken seriously. It was a very good adaptation of an awesome book. Alfonso Cuaron did an excellent job directing, I can only hope his successor does as good as him.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
Alex, age 17
Positive—The best “Potter” film yet. The new director managed to keep the original feel of the other 2 previous films,while also adding a more mature tone to the atmosphere. While there were several things from the book that were omitted from the film,it managed to stay true to its reference.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
Alex, age 14
Positive—…loved it… Harry Potter teaches children about loving someone so much that they would give their very life for them to live, teaches that light always withstands dark, teaches that there is a light in every darkness. No book or movie can show that to children in a friendly, humorous, well-written manner that truly shows the magic…

There is mild language (very light) and a scene or two with incredibly mild violence (nothing worse than a single punch, and even then done in defense for someone they care about), and it’s a bit darker than other movies, but as the movies get darker, so does the meaning. Dementors are there, Sirius Black (played by Gary Oldman, a very good actor, if I do say so myself) is on the loose. And yet, it makes it all more real, much more than the last two which, all though amazing and great and all, weren’t as alive and realistic as the third.

At the end, when Harry is sorry that he couldn’t prove Sirius’s innocence to the crime he was framed for, Sirius says “you believes in my innocence, and for now, that is enough.” It also was more humorous than the other two, which lightens the dark, rather dingy setting. And it describes more of Harry’s life. I’d give it a nine, if I were a judge.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
Cassie, age 11
Positive—This is one of the best films I’ve ever seen (I watch a lot of movies). It was full of suspense and interesting twists. It was a bit different from the book as far as detail goes though. The acting was well done and the story well written. I am I big Harry Potter fan and was looking forward to the movie because I thought the third book was the best.

Now a lot of people say that the books and films are completely anti-Bible and satanic. I’ve even seen reviews that say Harry Potter is occult in kid form. Where in it is Satan worshiped? It’s an interesting story that let’s your imagination run wild. I believe that God is the only one with power and is certainly the only one who could dominate over evil… I give it two big thumbs up!
My Ratings: [Good/5]
W.S.B., age 13
Positive—Harry Potter is a magical journey that kids and adults alike can enjoy. There is a bit of violence in the movie, and some of the scenes can be quite scary. There has been talk of witchcraft being a negative point in the movie, but you must remember that witchcraft isn’t real! Magicians do not perform real magic, it’s all smoke and mirrors so to speak.

Your kids are not going to turn into satan worshipers because of the Harry Potter series. They want to be like Harry Potter, fine… get them a magic set… As a whole, Harry Potter is about good conquering over evil and love prevailing. Now if that’s not a positive theme, I don’t know what is. This excellent film.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
Austin, age 15
Positive—This movie was by far the best. It kept me interested throughout the whole thing. It was a very exciting movie. There was some violence, but nothing major. I probably wouldn’t recommend taking small children to it, but anybody who knows the difference between real life and fantasy would enjoy this movie. It’s basically about a boy who goes to wizard school. That’s all. It’s not preaching witchcraft. It’s just a story. A made-up fictional story. I think that the people who say that Harry Potter is evil have definitely not even attempted to find out was it’s all about. Our children are smart enough to know that the books and movies, are fiction and that they can’t really happen.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
Becky, age 16
Positive—I don’t believe at all in witchcraft and the magical creatures in this movie, but I did like it… if you’re going to believe in all of the witchcraft than you shouldn’t see it, but I don’t believe in it. You have to have a good imagination for a movie like this.
My Ratings: [Good/4]
Megan, age 12
Negative—The Whole Harry Potter movies, and books are pure evil. These movies are teaching witchcraft. Witchcraft is for people who follow The Devil. These movies are nothing, but evil. I don’t care if the movie is good, and has lots of action. God hates this movie.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1½]
Micah, age 14
Negative—I don’t see how any christian could watch movies like this and still have a clear conscience. The Bible clearly says that all witchcraft and things like it are wrong, and that God hates it. So why would a Christian watch something that God hates and hurt Jesus? It doesn’t make any sense and is totally hypocritical to watch something like this and say you are a Christian.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive]
Vivian, age 14
Negative—I’ve read all the books. I even kept reading them after I accepted Christ into my life, but as I began to grow as a Christian, I felt these were not acceptable. I am quite a huge LOTR fan, but this is a different story. There is a large difference between showing witchcraft in a movie in a negative light (LOTR) than a positive sight (Harry Potter)

It’s like that in a lot of movies. I don’t have a problem if such sins are presented in a negative light, but Harry Potter simply just puts these in the most positive light possible, regardless of the “good morals” presented in the characters.

Is it a sin to watch Harry Potter? No! Of course not! Will it send you to Hell if you keep watching these movies? OF COURSE NOT! That’s what people need to realize. But is it the best way to represent yourself as a Christian to go see a movie full of witchcraft, just as any movie was a lot of language, violence, or sex?
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive]
Dylan, age 12
Movie Critics
…emphasis on divination, incantations and dark themes…
Brian Hughes, Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…the ongoing trade-off of the whole movie—brightness and clarity sacrificed on the altar of atmosphere and mood…
Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
…A deeper, darker, visually arresting and more emotionally satisfying adaptation of the J.K. Rowling literary phenomenon…
Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter
…This third Harry Potter movie shakes the candy coating off of the franchise without violating its spirit…
Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune
…surely the most interesting of the three Potter movies, in part because it is the first one that actually looks and feels like a movie, rather than a staged reading with special effects…
A.O. Scott, New York Times
…an elegant feat of imagination—fluid, graceful and alive with potent feeling…
Margaret A. McGurk, Cincinnati Enquirer
…Abhorrent… Very strong occult worldview includes teaching incantations, harming other people with incantations and inner magical power, rebellion against authority…
Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide