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Surprise: This is NOT a Harry Potter movie
This is not a Harry Potter movie. It is a movie that has characters with the same names and faces but they are in an alternative universe, one created by David Yates starting in movie 5. In that universe, all the themes and ideas developed in the book-based Harry Potter mythology are gone. In its place is a story about an individual boy wizard and his teen friends. What happened to the great choices Harry has to make, like does he go after the Horcruxes as Dumbledore instructed or does he get sidetracked looking for the Deathly Hallows? Horcruxes are thrown in as a McGuffin, an excuse to take a group camping trip rather than as the key to the whole mystery: how do you destroy evil without destroying yourself. The Hallows are the great temptation that the animation in this movie beautifully suggests but then they are completely ignored for the rest of the movies. Remember that Dumbledore and Gregorovich once had a notion of "The Greater Good" and that idea did not die with the end of their friendship. Dumbledore tried to teach Harry that what he was doing was not for himself, it was for the greater good of all beings, not just pure-bloods, and certainly not just for teenagers. Okay, did you get any of this from this movie? NO, because it has all been washed out of the story and replaced with silly teen anxieties and individual relationships. How very sad.
I know what is wrong with this movie...WHERE'S THE LOVE?
I know what is wrong with this movie and it is such a simple thing. The whole basis of the Harry Potter universe is the importance of love. Dumbledore tell us this all the time and it is not until Harry can understand the kind of love he is talking about self-sacrificial, unequivocal, passionate devotion to othersthat Harry can eliminate Voldemort and save the wizarding community.
So, each of the movies in the series has to address this issue but this one doesn't fully understand the different kinds of love and sadly it mixes them up into an inconsistent mess. Love, the kind that saved Harry and the kind that will save us all, is not the same as being in love. Now, you could argue that the movie does address different kinds of love: there is adolescent love and infatuation (Ron and Lavender), love induced by force (Romilda Vane), self-love (McLaggen and Slughorn), a mother's love (Narcissa Malfoy), the love of true friends (Harry and Hermione). All of these are explored but they are not supplemented by true love. Granted, Dumbledore, in his death, is the one who demonstrates this but no one acknowledges it for what it was. There is no funeral and funerals are necessary for people to talk about this love. Harry doesn't react when McGonagall tells him Dumbledore really cared for him. The story is incomplete without the reminder of real love.
I don't insist on being faithful to the books but I do insist on being faithful to the main theme of the Harry Potter world. Let me give you some examples of the misleading threads in this story, the ones that are inconsistent or even contradictory of that world as it has been created and as we all expect it to be.
If Dumbledore is the one who knows above all other what this love is, he would not be making inquiries of Harry about his relationship with Hermione (he would either already know, or he would be able to tell by watching them). He also wouldn't suddenly become buddies with Harry, commenting on the hair on Harry's chin or the lost opportunity with the waitress in the Muggle café. Dumbledore doesn't suffer out loud much when he is drinking the potion in the cave and that is the scene in which we should learn of his deep love for the sister he let die. There is no hint of the pain a lost love brings.
Not using the scenes from Privet Drive also weakens the point about love that Dumbledore always makes. When he goes there to chastise the Dursleys (in the book) he reminds us all about a mother's love and the protection it bestows. In this movie, we get the sense that Harry is now removed from all that. The burning down of the Burrow is simply wrong: this is where Harry learns of the love a family can give: is that now gone too?
The movie has some very funny scenes about love (Ron eating the tainted candy is perfect) but the silliness is not part of a bigger story: it all just seems episodic, like little vignettes from a comedy series. The smart, passionate fans of the Harry Potter universe can handle the complexity of this subject but this movie, unfortunately, talks down to them. Needless to say, I don't love it.