Parents need to know that this third movie in the fantastic Harry Potter series is growing up with the Hogwarts crew; the themes are darker, the peril is more intense, and the images of some magical creatures are grotesque and Halloween-ish. For most of the school year, Harry believes he is marked for death and stalked by an escaped prisoner. He also battles a creature of kids' worst nightmares: the Dementors are black-robed floating beings that suck out happiness and feed on your worst fears, which is why Harry hears the sound of his mother's last scream when he sees them. While this can be tough for young and sensitive viewers, the bright spot is the Boggart lesson in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Boggarts can turn into what a person fears most, but the kids learn to yell "Ridiculous!" and turn it into something to laugh at.
- Families can talk about Dumbledore's statement that people can bring light to even the darkest moments. What can you learn from the way Harry and his friends learn to defeat the Boggarts? The Dementors?
- Older kids and teens could examine all of the Potter movies to see how different directors and cinematographers can take the same characters and settings and convey a different feeling. Notice how the colors and texture of the scenes and the movement of the camera help to create the mood and tell the story.