The newly released Harry Potter movie (number 6 in the series) seems to be off to a good start. Fans have been waiting for this event for two years, and advance tickets on Fandango.com for the midnight shows sold out for theaters in my immediate area early Tuesday afternoon. It will be interesting to see the box office numbers.
The Half-Blood Prince wastes no time introducing us to the main characters. The movie assumes a good general knowledge of the previous installments. Those who are not familiar with the series may have a hard time following the plot or recognizing the importance of certain characters.
The movie quickly establishes the growing menace from the forces under the Dark Lord, and how a couple of wizards within Hogwarts are recruited to join them. The rising tension is relieved by some light-hearted humor based mostly around the adolescent struggle with hormones, which is exasperated by a magical love potion. The writing for these moments was superb, and had the audience laughing out loud.
The whole movie seemed to revolve around the emotions of love and fear. It reminds me of what the Apostle John wrote about “love casting out fear” (1 John 4:18). Those on the side of Voldemort act out of fear, while those on the side of good are motivated by love.
As we have learned in previous movies in the series, the love of Harry Potter’s mother saved him from death when he was a child. We learn very clearly in this movie that Dumbledore is not afraid to give his life to help Harry in his quest to conquer Voldemort. And it is obvious at the end of the movie that Harry’s closest friends are not afraid to join him in his quest that will take us into the next episode.
Near the beginning of the movie, Dumbledore makes a speech on the first day of school saying that the greatest danger is within Hogwarts itself. There are obvious dangers in this world, but the greater danger is when we give into our fears and act out of self-preservation instead of giving our lives for others. Jesus said, “The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends” (John 15:13, God’s Word translation).
Although I enjoyed the movie as a whole, I felt the ending was too abrupt. From the reaction of movie-goers around me this morning, I think many of them felt the same way. Perhaps it was meant as a cliffhanger, but it felt more like a car parked safely beside the road than one dangling over a ravine. You know the car has further to go, but a sense of imminent danger was lost. There was also a sense that although the two and a half hours we spent with Harry Potter were nice, the story didn’t really take us anywhere.
Perhaps somewhat appropriately, Harry Potter makes a statement near the end of the movie that he feels like everything that happened was a waste. Isn’t that just like life? I know there are times in my life when it appears that I am not making any progress and everything that happens seems like such a waste.
But it is our faithfulness during times like these that can lead to opportunities that we might never imagine. Harry may be disappointed about how things have progressed, but he has learned some valuable information that will be needed to defeat Voldemort. No matter how it may seem, the year was not wasted.
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