Movie Review

Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
STAFF WRITER

Excellent!
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teen to Adult
Genre:
Christian, Documentary
Length:
1 hr.
Year of Release:
_____
USA Release:
_____
Box art for “Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged”
Relevant Issues
Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged

What is the Occult? Answer

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

What role should the Bible and Christianity play in America? Answer

Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer

Should Christians participate in the Halloween holiday? Answer

Am I good enough to go to Heaven? Answer

Questions and answers about Hell

Questions and answers about Jesus

Questions and answers about the Bible

Featuring: Robert S.McGee
Director: _____
Producer: _____
Distributor: Jeremiah Films

Is there anyone in Western Civilization that has not heard of Harry Potter? His image is plastered everywhere. There are action figures, games, books, backpacks, posters, etc. I know many parents are concerned and curious about its appeal. This new video (2001 release) from Jeremiah Films is one of the best resources I have looked at on this topic. I have read several books and articles on the subject of Harry Potter. The first three Potter books sold over 33 million copies and even ABC’s “Nightline” (along with several news agencies) covered the midnight release of the fourth book on July 8, 2000.

I have worked on film documentaries before. I can appreciate the work that is involved. This video is fresh, crisp, and fast paced. It is anything but boring. It features Robert S. McGee, the author of “The Search for Significance” and Cult expert Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl has written Gods of the New Age and the Evolution Conspiracy. The contents of this film reveal and contrast today’s practicing witches rituals and spells with the so-called fantasy world of Harry Potter’s witchcraft.

The influence of the occult is growing in this country. I live in a small town (about 12,000). Students at our local high school are trying to organize a Wicca chapter. We have a store downtown that sells witchcraft and occult items. We may not be comfortable with the topic, but this dark influence is real.

Viewers will discover compelling information on the US publisher, Scholastic Inc. They are the largest publisher of children’s books in the world. They reach more than 32 million children a year with their materials. You thought the influence of their other series “Goosebumps” was scary. The Potter impact is frightening. The series does make “evil look innocent”.

Witchcraft is regarded by our government as a religion. They are given non-profit status and are welcome to use religious facilities in military installations (currently, they are working on having Pagan chaplains instituted in the military). There is no separation for the blatant presentation of this belief system. While taxpayer funded public schools are not permitted to have the Bible read aloud in classrooms, Harry Potter is given honorable status and a strategic position. Jeremiah Films points out, “through Harry’s world of sorcery they learn what tools today’s witches and pagans are using.”

Harry’s books are about a modern sorcerer’s apprentice. He is invited to be a student at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The video plainly points out “all his teachers are practicing occultists, and tutor their students in the dark arts and curse casting.” Many of the Harry Potter web sites are hyper linked with sites that contain occult information. Our children are learning how to cast spells and mix potions. Their imaginations dream of having the same power that Harry has.

I highly recommend viewing this film before the much-publicized Harry Potter film is released on Nov. 16, 2001. I encourage every discerning Christian to secure a copy for their church library. Paul wrote in II Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” Ephesians 5:11 “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

Read article: Is Harry Potter Harmless? Answer


Viewer Comments
Positive—I am in the A.M.O.R Mime Ministry in our church and a lot of the members in the ministry sat down together to see this movie. It answered a lot of questions that we had! The movie is very convincing and we are planning to share it with the pastor of our church. I know that from personal experience from reading the first 3 books, that there is a lot of hidden stuff within the text. Also I did read half of the fourth book, I had to close it because in that book it finally went over the top! And the movie helped explain why!
My Ratings: [Excellent / 5]
—Carlos Vargas Jr, age 14
Positive—I am glad that someone has had the initiative to come out and tell the truth about the “innocent magic” in the Harry Potter book/movie series. Many people are lead to believing that witchcraft is okay because, through this fantasy tale, it is made to seem harmless, intriguing and fun. Quite the contrary. The bible clearly states to shun even the appearance of evil. There is no way to read anything else into that, other than exactly what it says: witchcraft is WRONG, no matter how innocent it seems. I have also heard people argue that it’s “good” magic. Show me one place in the bible where it talks about “good” magic being okay. All magic has only one source, and it isn’t holy. Why take a chance on something so controversial and that is so clearly against God’s laws? These books/movies open a door to each reader's/viewer’s mind that feeds in the idea that sorcery and magic are fine. That is as opposite the truth as you can get. it’s the most purist form of blasphemy…
My Ratings: [Excellent / 4]
—Holly Gunter, age 15
Positive—Anna I would really urge you to read what God’s word says about paganism and its practices. There is absolutely no justification for a believer to partake of what is no more than glamorizing of Satanic and evil magic. Caryl Matrisciana and the others involved in the making of this film tell hard hitting Biblical truths and I for one cannot imagine anyone, especially Connie Neal and her blasphemous book (“what’s A Christian To Do With Harry Potter?”) trying to justify this trash!
My Ratings: [Excellent / 5]
—Jeff Hamlin, age 21
Neutral—I just watched this video and thought that while it had some true and good points, there was lots of garbage and things that were either irrelevant, or false. I have just recently watched all the Harry Potter movies, and so I definitely agreed with a lot of it, but at several times (some of which are mentioned in a few of the other comments above mine) they really stretch the facts of what happens in the story to make it look much worse than it is. I would recommend only watching the first half, if any of this video as the second half is pretty much just fluff that is irrelevant or false.

Also, they refer so much to this other film “The Craft” and play lots of clips from it. The points they make about it are good, but we are NOT watching “The Craft: Witchcraft Repackaged"! We are supposed to be watching something about Harry Potter, so I think they should only talk about points to do with that, not just movies in general. In fact, I think they almost spend as much time talking about “The Craft” as they do about Harry Potter! Also, one last note is that filmmaking quality, its terrible! I was getting creeped out just by watching this as they use scary, creepy music and dumb sound effects. I would not recommend this film, but instead recommend that you watch Harry Potter first and then maybe this, so you can decide weather you agree with their points or not.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Benjamin, age 16 (Australia)
Neutral—Though this movie does make very good points about the occult, I am once again somewhat exasperated by all the negative attention Harry Potter is getting. I have read the books. I enjoyed the books. As far as I am concerned, all the books are, are fantasy stories and good for a yarn. There is a great deal of occultic influence in our society (I’m not denying that) but I doubt that Harry Potter has much to do with it. The occult has been around ever since mankind fell away from God, and its influence does not depend on a series of fantasy stories. If one is truly concerned about their child reading the books, perhaps it would be a good idea to read the books for themselves and make a judgment based on first hand experience. Discussions with their child about what he/she has read could also be done; parents should do what they feel is best. But not everything that “goes bump in the night” is from the devil.
My Ratings: [Excellent / 4]
—Anna, age 18
Negative—I’m giving this video the lowest moral rating because the “Christian” producers repeatedly distort or misrepresent events in the Harry Potter books and ascribe the basest motives to the characters. Space limitations do not allow me to cite every instance of distortion or misrepresentation, but if you read the books yourself, and compare them with what the video says, you will see what I mean. Cult “expert” Caryl Matrisciana says, “Harry uses curses or his magic for vengeance” in the scene in book three where Aunt Marge “blows up” like a balloon. This is absolutely false: Harry did not utter any curse and doesn’t even know about curses until the fourth book. What happened to his aunt was due to the fact that in the fictional world of Harry Potter, Harry is born a wizard, and as such, he can unwittingly cause things to happen to other people when he gets scared or upset. Harry was actually trying his best to control his temper until his aunt insulted him and his parents. Matrisciana says, “One of the essentials of witchcraft is that there is no good or evil.” This statement may be correct, but in the books, it is the opinion held only by the villain, Voldemort, and his followers. Matrisciana claims that “Throughout the books, Harry is rewarded when he deliberately lies, or deliberately does something wrong.”

One example she gives is the first broomflying lesson, but she twists the events to suit her purposes. Matrisciana also ignores the times when Harry is sent to detention or when he and his friends lose points for doing something wrong. There is a system of discipline that is enforced. Indeed, if all the wizards believe there is no difference between good and evil, why do they have a prison for evildoers called Azkaban? If you are a parent trying to decide if Harry Potter is appropriate for your child, do not rely on this video for guidance. Read the books yourself (of course, that is exactly what the producers are hoping you will NOT do) and ask: Does Matrisciana tell the truth about the events and characters in the books? The next question is, Why couldn’t she critique the books without getting her facts wrong?
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 3]
—Caroline Monroe, age 40
Negative—Although the content of this film was not “extremely offensive” I feel that although the intentions behind it were to warn children away from the black arts, it still exposes our young christians to themes which should be kept from them. I showed this movie to my 8 year old son, and in response he asked for a magic set! Showing your child this movie is like showing your little boy a picture of a naked lady and telling him that it is bad: he still sees the picture!
My Ratings: [Excellent / 4]
—Katerina Pavildis, age 28
Negative—Having read all the “Harry Potter” books and having seen the movie (and enjoying them all immensely) I was keen to see what the this video’s take on them was, since I was trying to make up my mind about the matter. However, when watching it, I was submitted to the biggest lot of garbage I have ever seen in my life! The video makes a point of persuading us that witchcraft is a very real force in our work in today’s society, and should be avoided at all costs. This seems completely irrelevant, since any Christian watching the film would be aware of this already. There is no need to prove to us what we already know. Throughout the video, “Harry Potter” is consistently compared with “The Craft”—a disgusting film (that I have seen in its entirety) of a truly occult nature.

Whilst I believe that teenagers (and teenage girls in particular) could very well be influenced by watching Nancy and her friends cast love and hate spells THAT WORK, I believe it ridiculous that children could become proper witches or wizards from watching a small boy riding around on a broomstick. It is a parallel that is unjustified to create, not to mention misleading for any parents who have not read any Harry Potter books and are thus deceived into believing that their little ones would be exposed to such garbage as “The Craft” when reading these books in class… Matrisciana points out, quite rightly, that in her books, J.K.Rowling includes elements that can be directly attributed to witchcraft itself.

However, I would suggest that if anyone, you or I included, were to create a children’s novel about a school of “witchcraft and wizardry” the components of the book would be quite similar; nay identical. I too would be sure to include pumpkins, Hallowe’en, cauldrons, broomsticks and spells etc. The video also suggests that the words of the spells could be true; I would argue this by saying that the words Harry and his friends say are simply Latin-sounding speak. I.e. Words that sound like authentic Latin spells, but are clear enough for the young reader to understand (e.g. liftus broomstickus). Matrisciana is obviously an expert on the occult, having researched it for 25 years, but the fact that J.K.Rowling uses what Matrisciana deems to be “occult symbols” in her books does not necessarilly mean that children will automatically put two and two together and become witches themselves.

I would put it to Matrisciana that it takes rather more than standing by the side of a broom and shouting “Up!” to become an occultist flying witch! Furthermore, Matrisciana makes ridiculous comments such as “Many children, after reading the H.P. books actually say that they want to dress up and be Harry himself.” As a child, I myself had a great time pretending to be all my favourite story-book characters (including, I might add, those such as “The Worst Witch”) but I feel it is an insult to the intelligence of the young to assume that they cannot distinguish between fact and fiction. Whilst a child may say “I want to be Harry,” this is only an indication of J.K.Rowling’s fantastic ability to engage the young mind, and should not be mistaken for a convert for paganism. Matrisciana mentions the incident when Hermione “lies” for Harry and Ron to get them out of trouble (chapter 10 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s / Sorcorer’s Stone) resulting in their gaining 10 “house points”. She comments that this obvious unfairness (being rewarded for lying) should not be in the book, since it is against what God says (lying is wrong). This seems ridiculous—has she never read a book when a child does something wrong?

Matrisciana needs to realise what the real world is like before trying to comment upon it! It amuses me that whilst Jeremiah Films are obviously taking a firm stance against the “occultism” in Harry Potter, they make no mention of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (also released in 2001 as a movie) or C.S.Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Both [of] these books have a great element of magic in, but neither ever seem to be slated. A case there of double-standards I think. In fact, I believe that the “good triumphing over evil” element in all these books actually enhances them as a possible metaphor for the Christian life. It will not be easy, you win some you lose some, but you will secure your place in Heaven. So I would steer clear of this video—it is, to be frank, rubbish. I would encourage any parent to research into Harry Potter before giving it to their child, but this video is certainly not the way to go about it.
My Ratings: [Average / 1]
—V Corke, age 18
Movie Critics
…another must-see video from Jeremiah Films. It should be shown in every church everywhere…
—Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide