Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter

I know there are a few other things I promised to talk about regarding the whole split-in-the-church-over-gays issue. I'll get back to them later.

But for something a little lighter and different…. My family and I saw the new Harry Potter movie last night, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." To be honest, while I'm a huge fan of the books, I've never liked the movies that much. Each of them has felt more like a scrap book where they cut and pasted bits and pieces of the book together without any real sense of the story.

When I read the reviews of this newest installment, I did not hold out much hope. After all, the book itself was much darker, much less enjoyable reading, and MUCH longer. How could they do anything but produce a snore. Which is exactly what the reviewers wrote.

But then again, since when have the reviewers ever gotten it right? To my surprise, I liked it. In fact, I thought it was the best movie adaptation of any of the Harry Potter books so far. The story held together, there was plenty of laughter despite the clear and growing sense of dread and doom.

What made it more impressive for me was that they got the essential elements. They got the idea of Harry growing up and struggling with his becoming a man. They got the idea of his discovering how the world is not black and white but multilayered, with each of us possessing light and dark yet being able to choose which will dominate. They got it right, in the climactic battle scene when Voldemort tries to possess Harry, and Harry gets to speak to Voldemort. What does he say? "You'll never know love. I feel sorry for you." Those aren't the words he says in the book, but they encapsulate very nicely what Harry was all about. I was really pleased.

If you're one of those folks who hates Harry Potter because there are wizards in it, you won't find any agreement with me; wizards are just a device for telling a real morality play that says, "Love is more powerful than Force." Which is what Jesus said.

So go see the movie. And forget the critics.