John Horn of the Los Angeles Times discusses the "growing" nature of the Harry Potter movies, especially the pubescent actors who've been portraying their characters since age 11 in some cases.
Although Harry and classmates Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) still must fight the forces of darkness, they also face an array of struggles common to any junior-high student, including the search for self-confidence, acceptance and identity. Young wizards may be able to make broomsticks fly, but how do you make something of yourself?
The answers to that question help explain why Warner Bros. has handed off its billion-dollar family franchise to director Alfonso Cuarón, whose last film was a low-budget, sexually charged coming-of-age story.
What does that mean for the finished product?
"I think the audience will see it as a relative of the first two but as a very distinct piece of work," producer David Heyman says. The film could very well be rated PG-13, unlike its PG-rated predecessors.