Culture Pop: Potter
Well, I did it. Enthusiastically. The Harry Potter films are great- well done, magnificent eye candy, and oooh so invigorating.
The problem is, they (and most recently, "Goblet of Fire") are distorting.
One dies for one's friends in these movies, but one can never quite be sure who one's friends actually are, so blurred are the lines between good and evil. It has become cliche in these story lines that a good guy is always hiding inside a bad guy, and vice versa.
(Fr. WB mentions that this kind of interaction is Accurate to Real Life. Of course. But the consensus is that this kind of subtle analysis is just Not For the Young. And those awkwardly adolescent scenes of Harry in Tub are just untoward.)
Furthermore, The Power which is weilded by the dear little magicians is so completely impersonal and unhypostasized and unpredictable; I am all about little Christian tots loving the "magic" which surrounds the miraculous (I do) and thinking of themselves as actors in the supernatural wars between God's angels and The Devil (I did)- but far be it from them to conceive of magical power as a faceless Force apart from their benevolent Lord and Savior (or as apart from their terrible enemy The Devil, for that matter.) Too much willy-nilly magic.
In the end, I stand with the Holy Father on Potter, as I ought: "the Potter books corrupt the hearts of the young, preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil, thus harming their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy. It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly..."
Also various notes on the Potter phenomenon at the Touchstone Archives...