Vatican-Backed Newspaper Hails Latest 'Harry Potter' Film for 'Values'

The Vatican's semi-official newspaper offered a surprisingly positive review of the latest "Harry Potter" film, saying that the moral values presented are more likely to stick with moviegoers than any appeal that witchcraft may have.

"It is more likely that at the end of the viewing or reading, rather than the allure of magic ... what remains are the scenes that evoke values such as friendship, altruism, loyalty, and the gift of self," wrote L'Osservatore on Monday.

Furthermore, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" makes clear the line between those who do good and those who do evil and also makes it hard for readers and viewers not to want to identify with the former, the newspaper noted.

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which hits theaters Wednesday, is the sixth film to be based off the seven-part book series by author J.K. Rowling.

Though much darker than past films, the latest installment didn't draw a negative review from L'Osservatore, as the one last year had.

In one of its pieces last year, a writer for L'Osservatore called Harry Potter "a wrong and malicious" image of a hero as well as an unreligious one.

"Despite several positive values that can be found in the story, at the foundations of this tale is the proposal that of witchcraft as positive," the writer had said in reviewing "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

This year, L'Osservatore did offer a few criticisms against the popular franchise's latest production, including one against Rowling for omitting any explicit "reference to the transcendent" in her books.

But it lauded the movie for achieving the "right balance" when presenting the growing attraction of the film's teenage characters, noting how it stressed that there is "no magic formula to avoid the 'dangers' of adolescence."

The newspaper also noted how "the spastic search for immortality epitomized by Voldemort (the dark wizard) is stigmatized."

"There is an ancestral wisdom that suggests not to give in to calls for an impossible eternal happiness on earth and the illusion that everything is possible," it added.

While L'Osservatore is available on the Vatican's website, the articles it contains do not always reflect the Catholic Church's position. Vatican officials say articles in the newspaper present the personal opinion of the author.