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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2004), PG -- And, because He does, so do we.
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Warner Bros., 1492 Pictures, Heyday Films
Distribution (US): Warner Bros.
Director(s): Alfonso Cuarón
Producer(s): Michael Barnathan, Chris Carreras, Chris Columbus, Paula DuPré Pesman, David Heyman, Callum McDougall, Mark Radcliffe, Tanya Seghatchian
Novel: J.K. Rowling
Screenplay: Steven Kloves
Cinematography/Camera: Michael Seresin
Music: John Williams
Film Editing: Steven Weisberg
Casting: Jina Jay
Production Design: Stuart Craig
Art Direction: Alan Gilmore, Steven Lawrence, Gary Tomkins, Alexandra Walker
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
Please remember that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) does not consider as bad influences things like Potter-style witchcraft, sorcery, divination, foretelling the future and crystal-ball gazing or the enticing and emboldening of others with them. God does. And, because He does, so do we. The MPAA is apparently not concerned with the dissonance created by such entertainment between parent and child. God does. And, because He does, so do we. The MPAA does not consider portraying evil as good a bad influence. God does. And, because He does, so do we.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban earned a final score of 66 which is just two points under the top of the scoring range earned by PG-13 movies (55 to 67 out of 100) in the comparative baselne database of movies which means it earned a score just two points below the bottom of the scoring range earned by PG movies (86 to 68 out of 100). And all because of examples of Offense to God. Otherwise this film would have earned an easy "PG" score.
If you thought Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) Uncle Vernon Dursley (Richard Griffiths) was bitter to Harry in previous Harry Potter films, wait until you meet Uncle Veron's sister, androgynous Aunt Marge (Pam Ferris) who fusses over Dudley Dursley (Harry Melling) clearly to irritate Harry. Thirteen year old Potter does indeed react to the brutality more aggressively than ever before. And he is, of course, justified in doing so ... by the script anyway. I suppose I would feel like doing the same if I were placed in such a situation.
But that is just it. Films like these place kids in horrible situations of hostility then have the kids react in an equally hostile manner under the carefully crafted control of the script which is not available in real life. Such onscreen demonstrations may embolden your own kids to do the same in daily situations which they perceive just as significant to their lives as they saw in the movie, thus justifying by their young understanding the same reactions. And when they find that real life cannot be as easily manipulated as in the movies, bitter reality may bitterly disrupt their young lives.
Hurt and angry, in an act of desperation to escape the misery of living with relatives who treat him as an undesirable, Harry runs away and finds refuge in a specter bus operated by Ernie (Jimmy Gardner) and, among other critters, shrunken disembodied heads, one of whom was the voice of Lenny Henry. Ultimately, Harry is returned to Hogwarts where he discovers he is sought by mad killer, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), the prisoner of Azkaban. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban presents a plot and story of yet darker events and consequences than the previous two Potter films. Black is reported as out to kill Harry to finish what he had started when he supposedly killed Harry's parents, witch Lily (Geraldine Somerville) and warlock James Potter (Adrian Rawlins). Kill - kill - kill! A rather sinister exposure for PG-aged kids, dontcha know?
Black had escaped the Azkaban prison and was so sinister that Headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon, replacing the deceased Richard Harris) arranged for the unmercifully evil guards at Azkaban, the Dementors, to guard every door of Hogwarts to protect Harry from Black. The only trouble with such a maneuver was that the Dementors were as dangerous to Harry and everyone else as Black. They had the ability to suck the souls out of their victims which, by their contribution to the story, seemed to be their only purpose in their unholy, ghostly un-lives.
While Rupert Grint as Ronald Wesley and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger are still co-stars with Radcliffe, some of the changes from the previous Harry Potter films include the lumbering gentle giant Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) becoming staff at Hogwarts as its instructor in Monsters using, originally enough, a Monster Book of Monsters which itself was a monster. One with a nasty disposition..
Also gracing the screen is a new critter, a hippogriff which has the head of an eagle but the body of a horse, resembling the fantasy creature the griffin with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. Too bad God did not create hippogriffs. It was a magnificent creature. But then, I am partial to eagles. And Eagles. [Isa. 40:31]
Another new teacher on the Hogwart staff who resembled Miss Alordayne Grotkey (the delightful Allyce Beasley) of the TV cartoon Recess(tm) was Professor Sybil Trelawney (Emma Thompson) who taught divination, reading tea leaves and other ways to see the future. She speaks of "the noble art of divination" and "broaden your minds ... open your inner eye to see the future." Wow! Bad news indeed for they who believe God's Word. [Eccl. 8:7, Zech. 10:2, 2Chr. 33:6, Rev. 21:8] So much for the idea that Harry Potter films are as harmless as Bambi and Old Yeller.
Yet another new teacher is a Professor Lupin (David Thewlis) as the one to impart his wisdom and experience to the adolescent students in the fine art of Defense Against the Dark Arts. A school for teaching witchcraft, wizardry, sorcery, divination and more unholy things with a professor teaching defense against the dark arts!? Isn't that a contradiction?
Snape (Alan Rickman), professor of Potions is back, though grinding his students to turn to page "three hundred and ninety four." But didn't I hear him start to talk about Lycanthropes? Werewolves?
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is clearly more sinister and much darker than either of the two previous Harry Potter films as revealed by the examples per hour of Offense to God in the CAP thermometers for this film. All three Harry Potter films, The Sorcerer's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets and this The Prisoner of Azkaban each earned a score of zero in Offense to God, but this The Prisoner of Azkaban revealed 36.7 examples per hour in Offense to God while The Sorcerer's Stone revealed only 28.8 and The Chamber of Secrets revealed only 24.2, a 38% increase in Offense to God content from an average of the two previous Harry Potter films. Of course the MPAA does not concern itself with Offense to God matters. But God does. And, because He does, so do we. These data are presented in the comparative display of the CAP thermometers for each of the three Harry Potter films below.
Much more is left to anticipation and suspicion in this The Prisoner of Azkaban thus leading to potential imagination extremes ... and nightmares.
Morally speaking, The Prisoner of Azkaban is cut with the nearly the same cookie cutter as the previous two Harry Potter films as revealed by the comparative above. While this The Prisoner of Azkaban is about half as violent as either of the first two films, the rest of the scoring is almost parallel to either of the first two films in morality content. All three are, of course, the bottom of the scoring in Offense to God. All three violate Isa 5:20 which warns of calling evil good.
But in a positive sense, note how each film is free of sexual immorality! That is indeed interesting since the director of this film, Alfonso Cuarón, also directed the sexually explicit Y Tu Mama Tambien (not available on our site). Maybe Cuarón's "ability" with the dark world of cinematic sex explains the increased darkness in this Harry Potter film which is not present in the previous Harry Potter films which were both directed by Chris Columbus. The Prisoner of Azkaban is also nearly free of alcohol/drugs and two of the three Potter films are free of murder/suicide! I guess these are reasons why the MPAA felt The Prisoner of Azkaban was worthy of the PG badge. But whether that is true for your kids is up to you, not the MPAA. Hopefully we have provided enough information about the content of The Prisoner of Azkaban for you to be in a better position to decide for your kids, even under sight-unseen, whether it is and/or at what age(s) it is fit.
Please consider closely the listing in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether to take your PG-aged kids to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Also please be prepared for much shorter Summary/Commentary sections. I must keep shortening this section to hold down costs until such time as warriors and champions for the Good Fight step forward to sponsor this ministry with full funding. The Findings/Scoring section will not be touched by the reduction in coverage of the Summary/Commentary section.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
(The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Single Christian Network
Kids, Teens and Home Vertical Portal
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture
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